Chair's Update January 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhDMcCance-Katz

Elinore F. McCance-Katz MD, PhD received a competing supplement to her alcohol/HIV R01 grant.  This supplemental study will examine drug interactions between the HIV entry inhibitor, maraviroc, and alcohol. This study will look at the effects of alcohol alone and in combination with maraviroc including pharmacokinetics, subjective and cardiovascular responses, and neuropsychological responses.


Ricardo F. Muñoz, PhDMuñoz

Muñoz, R. F. (2010)  Using evidence-based internet interventions to reduce health disparities worldwide.  Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(5), e60, doi:  10.2196/jmir.1463.

Jodi J. Prochaska, PhD, MPHProchaska

Prochaska, J. J. (2010)  Integrating tobacco treatment Into mental health settings.  Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(22), 2534-2535.  

Nicholas Rosenlicht, MDRosenlicht 

Knebel, R. J., Rosenlicht, N., & Collins, L. (2010)  Lithium carbonate maintenance therapy in a hemodialysis patient with end-stage renal disease. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(11), 1409-10.

Mark von Zastrow, MD, PhDvon Zastrow

A few recent publications from Mark von Zastrow’s Lab:


1)  Puthenveedu, M., Lauffer, B., Temkin, P., Vistein, R., Carlton, P., Thorn, K., Taunton, J., Weiner, O. D., Parton, R. G. , & von Zastrow, M. (2010)  Sequence-dependent sorting of recycling proteins by actin-stabilized endosomal microdomains. Cell, 143(5), 761-73, PMID: 2111123.


This study describes a particular type of membrane tubule that is responsible for delivering catecholamine receptors to the surface of cells. It also proposes a new biophysical principle for how receptors get 'sorted' between recycling and degradative fates after endocytosis induced by native ligands or drugs. This is a key cellular decision that determines whether activation of neurotransmitter receptors mediates sustained signaling or a transient response limited by the process of receptor down-regulation. The first author, formerly a postdoctoral fellow in the von Zastrow laboratory, is presently directing his independent research laboratory as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Carnegie Mellon University. The study includes collaborative input from several UCSF colleagues (Cardiovascular Research Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology), as well as a colleague in Australia (Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland). 


2)  Henry, A. G., White, I. J., Marsh, M., von Zastrow, M., & Hislop, J. (2010)  The role of ubiquitination in lysosomal trafficking of opioid receptors.  Traffic (in press), PMID: 21106040.  


This study delineates the sequence of events that mediate down-regulation of opioid receptors in response to prolonged or repeated activation. It shows that ubiquitin, a polypeptide linked to the receptor by enzyme-mediated isopeptide bind formation, plays a specific role in directing receptors from the surface membrane to interior of a specialized multilayered membrane compartment; this is a 'staging area' from which receptors are rapidly destroyed. The  first author of this article is a graduate student in the UCSF Cell Biology Program. The last author is a senior postdoctoral scientist in the von Zastrow laboratory, and is appointed as a Specialist in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. The study includes collaborative input from colleagues at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology in London (University College).


3)  Tzingounis, A. V., von Zastrow, M., Yudowski, G. A. (2010)  Beta-blocker drugs mediate calcium signaling in native central nervous system neurons by arrestin–biased agonism.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (in press), PMID: 21078978.


This study describes a new signaling mechanism, biochemically distinct from that elicited by catecholamine, by which a limited subset of beta-blocker drugs regulate calcium signaling in neurons upon binding to the beta-2 adrenergic catecholamine receptor. The study builds on a developing body of research supporting the concept of 'ligand bias' or 'functional selectivity' as a new principle of drug action. It also provides a possible mechanism for understanding neuropsychiatric effects of beta-blocker drugs that cannot be explained by the classical view of these drugs as simple antagonists of norepinephrine. The first and last authors, formerly postdoctoral fellows, are now independent investigators (both Assistant Professors) in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut (first author) and Institute of Neurobiology, University of Puerto Rico (last author).


Awards and Honors

Kristen Brooks, MDBrooks

Kristen Brooks, MD will be inducted into the UCSF Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society by the Class of 2011 on May 13, 2011

Elissa S. Epel, PhD EpelThe research of Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD figures prominently in a new book on the impact of stress on our bodies by Thea Singer called Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind (Hudson Street Press; 2010).  Elissa will appear in a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on March 3, 2011 with Thea Singer, Jue Lin, and Calvin Harley.

Caitlin Hasser, MD was featured on a PBS Newshour segment on women veterans on November 30, 2010 which highlighted the SF-VA.  Here’s the link:


Ricardo F. Muñoz, PhDMuñoz

Ricardo Muñoz, PhD was honored on December 20, 2010 with the 6th Annual UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars Association Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award which celebrates continuing mentoring contributions to the postdoctoral fellows at UCSF.

Lauren Weiss, PhDWeiss

Lauren Weiss, PhD has been selected to receive a NARSAD 2010 Young Investigator Award.

News from Clinical Faculty 


Nanette Gartrell, MDGartrell

Nanette Gartrell’s work has been named one of the top 100 science stories of 2010 by Discover Magazine:  “Ever since U.S. sperm banks began toaccept lesbian clients in the mid-1980s, critics have argued that same-sex parenting could damage children’s psychological well-being.  In June a 25-year, ongoing study published in the journal Pediatrics came to a very different conclusion, finding that children of lesbian mothers experience healthy social, emotional, and psychological development.  The study, led by University of California, San Francisco psychiatrist Nanette Gartrell, included 78 kids conceived through donor insemination and raised by lesbian mothers.  Beginning in 1986 Gartrell interviewed women in San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C., during pregnancy and again when their children turned 2, 5, 10, and 17; she also used clinical question­naires to define behavior.  At 17 those children scored higher, on average, than their peers in social and academic competence and lower in aggressive behavior and social problems.  The results have appeared in legal briefs, documentaries, and research papers.  ‘The study is continually brought up to counteract non-science-based allegations against same-sex marriage or adoption,’ Gartrell says.  She admits that there is more research to be done, however.  By including only mothers who sought donor insemination before it was largely accepted, the study does not reflect the diversity of female couples raising children today.”


Gartrell, N. K., & Bos, H. M. W.  (2011) Adolescents of the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study:  The impact of having a known or an unknown donor on the stability of psychological adjustment.  Human Reproduction (in press).


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service