|Alexander Carlson, MD, PhD|
Undergraduate: Point Loma Nazarene University (BS in Biochemistry)
Medical School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD Research Focus: The role of the gut microbiome in modulating early brain development and behavior through the gut-brain axis. This work detailed novel associations of the infant gut microbiome with cognitive development, fear behavior, and brain development.
Current Projects: My research projects focus on the intersection of the human gut microbiome with the developmental origins of health and disease framework. These include 1. The Gut Microbiome in Prenatal Arsenic Exposure and Infant Neurodevelopment. 2. Prenatal Toxic Stress and Infant Microbiome Development. 3. Investigating a Diagnostic and Etiologic Role of the Gut Microbiome in Autism.
What would I like to tell applicants: Researchers at UCSD are excited to meet you and want to work with you! We are building our PSTP to ensure participants leave the program as outstanding clinicians and with a firm foundation of postgraduate research to launch their careers as a physician-scientists.
Favorite Thing About San Diego: Beach volleyball days with my co-residents!
Carlson, A. L., Xia, K., Azcarate-Peril, M. A., Rosin, S. P., Fine, J. P., Mu, W., Zopp, J. B., Kimmel, M. C., Styner, M. A., Thompson, A. L., Propper, C. B. & Knickmeyer, R. C. Infant gut microbiome composition is associated with non-social fear behavior in a pilot study. Nat. Commun. 12, 1–16 (2021). doi: doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23281-y
Rosin, S. P., Xia, K., Azcarate-Peril, M. A., Carlson, A. L., Propper, C. B., Thompson, A. L., Grewen, K. & Knickmeyer, R. C. A Preliminary Study of Gut Microbiome Variation and HPA Reactivity in Healthy Infants. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2021). doi: doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.105046
Gao, W., Salzwedel, A. P., Carlson, A. L., Xia, K., Azcarate-Peril, M. A., Styner, M. A., Thompson, A. L., Geng, X., Goldman, B. D., Gilmore, J. H. & Knickmeyer, R. C. Gut microbiome and brain functional connectivity in infants-a preliminary study focusing on the amygdala. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 81, S300 S301 (2019). doi:10.1007/s00213-018-5161-8
Carlson, A. L., Xia, K., Azcarate-Peril, M. A., Goldman, B. D., Ahn, M., Styner, M. A., Thompson, A. L., Geng, X., Gilmore, J. H. & Knickmeyer, R. C. Infant Gut Microbiome Associated With Cognitive Development. Biological Psychiatry (2017). doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.06.021
|Alex Ghaben, MD, PhD|
Undergraduate: Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, MA (Chemical Biological Engineering and Biology)
Medical School: UT Southwestern Medical School
PhD Research Focus: Adipocyte-specific molecular mechanisms that influence systemic metabolic health independent of weight - further defining the role of adipose tissue as an endocrine tissue. To this end, using physiologically relevant mouse models to understand how altered intracellular adipocyte signaling influences the endocrine/paracrine function of adipocytes with downstream effects on processes such as adipogenesis and energy homeostasis.
Favorite Thing About San Diego: Having easy access to both the beach and the mountains!
Ghaben AL, Scherer PE. Adipogenesis and Metabolic Disease. Nature Review Molecular and Cellular Biology 2019. PMID 30610207
Kusminski CM, Ghaben AL, Morely TS, Samms RJ, Adams AC, An Y, Johnson JA, Joffin N, Crewe C, Holland WL, Gordillo R, Schere PE. A novel model of diabetic complications: Adipocyte Mitochondrial Dysfunction Triggers Massive β-cell Hyperplasia. Diabetes, 2020. PMID: 31882562
Hepler C, Shao M, Ghaben AL, Pearson MJ, Vishvanath L, Sharma AX, Morely TS, Holland WL, Gupta RK. Directing visceral white adipocyte precursors to a thermogenic adipocyte fate improves insulin sensitivity in obese mice. Elife, 2017. PMID: 28722653
Crewe C, Funcke JB, Li S, Joffin N, Gliniak CM, Ghaben AL, An YA, Sadek HA, Akgul Y, Chen S, Samovski D, Fischer-Posovsky P, Kusminski CM, Klein S, Scherer PE. Extracellular vesicle-based interorgan transport of mitochondria from energetically stressed adipocytes. Cell Metabolism, 2021. PMID: 34418352.
|Ben Hills, MD, PhD |
Undergraduate: Northeastern University in Boston, MA (Behavioral Neuroscience)
Medical School: Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
PhD: Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth College
PhD Research Focus: Determining how post-translational modification of the transcription factor Foxo1 impacts CD8 T cell differentiation, survival, and formation of long-lived immunologic memory.
Current Projects: I am currently applying for an IRB to study immune system development from birth to early adulthood with a specific focus on B cell and T cell maturation using parallel single-cell transcriptomic and proteomic methods.
What would I like to tell applicants: I couldn't imagine a better place to embark on my physician-scientist career. Between UCSD and other local institutes such as Salk, Scripps, and LJI, we have the opportunity to work with world-class investigators across the spectrum of biological and biomedical sciences. We have incredible support from UCSD/Rady to tailor our training to best suit our individual needs and career goals. Finally, we get to train in a beautiful setting that allows us to recharge and develop interesting ideas about science and medicine in our free time.
Favorite Thing About San Diego: The confluence of the ocean, desert, and mountains is uniquely beautiful. Also, this is the first place I’ve lived where I can drive 10 minutes and see seals/sea lions.
Abdullah L, Hills LB, Winter EB, Huang YH. Diverse Roles of Akt in T cells. Immunometabolism. 2021;3(1):e210007. doi: 10.20900/immunometab20210007. PMID: 33604081
Hills LB, Abdullah L, Lust HE, Degefu H, Huang YH. Foxo1 Serine 209 Is a Critical Regulatory Site of CD8 T Cell Differentiation and Survival. J Immunol. 2021 206(1):89-100. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000216. PMID: 33229443
Wang X, Hills LB, Huang YH. Lipid and protein co-regulation of PI3K effectors Akt and Itk in lymphocytes. Frontiers in Immunology 2015 6:117.
Howe JR 6th, Li ES, Streeter SE, Rahme GJ, Chipumuro E, Russo GB, Litzky JF, Hills LB, Rodgers KR, Skelton PD, Luikart BW. MiR-338-3p regulates neuronal maturation and suppresses glioblastoma proliferation. PLoS One. 2017 May 11;12(5):e0177661. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177661. PMID: 28493990; PMCID: PMC5426787.
Hills LB, Masri A, Konno K, Kakegawa W, Lam A-TN, Lim-Melia E, Chandy N, Hill RS, Partlow JN, Al-Saffar M, Nasir R, Stoler JM, Barkovich AJ, Watanabe M, Yuzaki M, Mochida GH. Deletions in GRID2 lead to a recessive syndrome of cerebellar ataxia and tonic upgaze in humans. Neurology – 2013 (Vol. 81, Issue 16, pp. 1378-1386)
Evrony GD, Cai X, Lee E, Hills LB, Elhosary PC, Lehmann HS, Parker JJ, Atabay KD, Gilmore EC, Poduri A, Park PJ, Walsh CA. Single-Neuron Sequencing Analysis of L1 Retrotransposition and Somatic Mutation in the Human Brain. Cell – 2012 (Vol. 151, Issue 3, pp. 483-496)
Poduri A, Evrony GD, Cai X, Elhosary PC, Beroukhim R, Lehtinen MK, Hills LB, Heinzen EL, Hill A, Hill RS, Barry BJ, Bourgeois BFD, Riviello JJ, Barkovich AJ, Black PM, Ligon KL, Walsh CA. Somatic Activation of AKT3 Causes Hemispheric Developmental Brain Malformations. Neuron – 2012 (Vol. 74, Issue 1, pp. 41-48)
|Mark Fang, MD, PhD|
Undergraduate: Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA (BS in Biology and Mathematical & Computational Sciences)
Medical School: UCSD School of Medicine
PhD Research Focus: Designing a high throughput genetic and small molecule screen to study the mechanisms underlying Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and to identify potential therapeutics. Also with focus on developing new tools for single cell sequencing and studying the RNA interactome.
Favorite things about San Diego: The people, the weather, UCSD/Rady, and the proximity to beaches, the Sierra Nevada, Disneyland, Vegas, Julian Pie, music festivals, Tucson (my fiancee's hometown)