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July Research Highlights

A Roundup of the Latest Medical Discoveries and Faculty News at Cedars-Sinai

Belly Fat Hinders Digestive Disease Medications

The mass and composition of our bodies can significantly affect the way medications are metabolized and absorbed. Investigators at Cedars-Sinai found that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients with higher levels of intra-abdominal visceral adipose tissue– a distinctive type of fat inside the abdomen −had lower rates of remission when treated with certain anti-inflammatory medications. The findings of the study led by Andres J. Yarur, MD, and Gil Melmed, MD, are published in the journal Gastroenterology. Read more>


Research Reveals Blood Platelets Play Important Role in Kawasaki Disease

Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s investigators, led by Moshe Arditi, MD, and Magali Noval Rivas, PhD, have advanced our understanding of the role that blood platelets play in Kawasaki disease, a serious illness that primarily affects children younger than 5 years old and causes their blood vessels to swell. Other Cedars-Sinai investigators involved in the study include Youngho Lee, PhD; Nobuyuki Nosaka, MD, PhD; Masanori Abe, MD, PhD; Daisy Martinon; Malcolm Lane; Debbie Moreira; Shuang Chen, MD, PhD; and Rebecca A. Porritt, PhD. Read more>


A Sit-Down With Leading Immunologist Stephan Targan, MD

Throughout a dedicated career, Stephan Targan, MD, has chiseled away at a condition once considered monolithic: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He and his colleagues have uncovered biomarkers that are used to better classify and treat patients, developed biologic drugs that have revolutionized patient care, and pioneered a multisystem approach to IBD. Read more> 


Lali Medina-Kauwe, PhD, Named Inaugural Chair in Medical Discovery

Cedars-Sinai has named Lali Medina-Kauwe, PhD, as the inaugural holder of the Carol Moss Foundation Chair in Medical Discovery. The generous support of the Carol Moss Foundation, whose endowment was championed by the foundation’s late president, Samuel W. Halper, will enable Medina-Kauwe to advance innovative research in nanomedicine, the engineering of tiny particles to prevent and treat disease.  Read more> 


Study Identifies How Diabetes Slows Healing in the Eye

Investigators from Cedars-Sinai, led by Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, Ruchi Shah, PhD, and Clive Svendsen, PhD, have provided new understanding of how diabetes delays wound healing in the eye, identifying for the first time two related disease-associated changes to the cornea. The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Diabetologia, also identified three therapeutic pathways that reversed these changes and partially restored wound-healing function to the cornea—a discovery that could ultimately inform new treatments for diabetes. Read more> 


Cedars-Sinai Cancer Welcomes Gynecologic Oncologist Margaret Liang, MD

Gynecologic oncologist Margaret Liang, MD, has joined the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Division of Gynecologic Oncology, providing care and clinical services for patients within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also joins as director for the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program. Read more> 


Understanding Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People

Cedars-Sinai investigators, led by Evan Kransdorf, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute, have identified rare genetic variants that might make some young people more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest than others—but noted a lower rate for these variants than reported in previous studies. The findings were recently published in CirculationGenomic and Precision Medicine. Read more> 


Rare Opportunity for GI Motility Fellows

When Ali Rezaie, MD, arrived at Cedars-Sinai as the first GI motility fellow in 2012, few such fellowships were available in North America. Today, as medical director of GI Motility Medicine, Dr. Rezaie strives to increase training opportunities in his field. Read more>            


Missing a Rare Cause of Hereditary Cancer

New research from Cedars-Sinai Cancer investigators could warrant reconsideration of current screening guidelines to include a poorly recognized cause of Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary colorectal and endometrial cancers. Their study, led by Megan Hitchins, PhD, director of Translational Genomics in the Department of Biomedical Sciencesconcluded that the guidelines leave a significant number of patients undiagnosed. Read more>


Ray Charles Foundation Reinvests $1M in Neuro Scholars

Building on its visionary investment in Cedars-Sinai’s neurosurgery scholarship program, The Ray Charles Foundation has donated a second gift of $1 million to support critical training and research to advance the neurosciences. The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery is overseen by highly respected neurosurgeon Keith Black, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience. Read more>       


An Objective Approach to Facial Feminization Surgery

Human faces exhibit stunning diversity, and we immediately draw conclusions about other people based on the shape and size of their faces. Reconstructive plastic surgeon Edward Ray, MD, and a multidisciplinary team that includes Jason Moore, PhD, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Computational Biomedicine, and his scientist colleague Xiuzhen Huang, PhD, have developed a machine-learning algorithm to help quantify exactly what moves surgeons should make to ensure a face will be perceived as female to a casual observer. Read more>

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