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November 06, 2002

News Media Contact: Leslie Franz (619) 543-6163

UCSD Health Sciences Presents Faculty Excellence Awards

L to R: Dr. Susan Taylor, Dr. Douglas Richman, Dr. Edward Holmes, Dr. Mark Wallace, Dr. Kim Barrett, Dr. David Easter and Dr. Elizabeth Ziegler

The first UCSD Health Sciences’ Faculty Awards of Excellence have been presented to six members of the Health Sciences faculty. The peer-nominated and peer-selected awards honor superb faculty in three categories – teaching, research and clinical care. The winners, two in each category, received their awards on November 5 at the Faculty Club on campus.

The first recipients of the teaching category awards are Kim Barrett, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, and Elizabeth Ziegler, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.

The research category winners are Susan Taylor, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Douglas Richman, M.D., Professor in Residence of Pathology and Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.

Honorees in the clinical care category are David Easter, M.D., Professor of Clinical Surgery, Department of Surgery, and Mark Wallace, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology.

Besides their award, the honorees received $2,000 from the Vice Chancellor’s office, placed in their departmental discretionary fund. A plaque with their names will be placed in the Basic Science Building lobby, with the names of new honorees added annually, and a portrait of the group will be displayed in the BSB.

“I am delighted to begin a tradition of honoring our own colleagues for their professional accomplishments and for their contributions to UCSD,” said Edward W. Holmes, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences. “With these awards we now have opportunity to salute outstanding colleagues, and these inaugural recipients do indeed set a high standard of excellence.”


Dr. Barrett has had extensive involvement in the education of both M.D. and Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidates since 1989. Her service on numerous committees, including the Admissions Committee, the Core Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Medical Education Committee, demonstrates her commitment to the overall educational structure of the School of Medicine and Graduate Medical Education. In addition, she has been an active mentor for the Academic Internship Program and the Faculty Mentor Program. She has been Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine since 1999.

John M. Carethers, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine said, “Dr. Barrett has been the consummate educator, lecturer, and administrative coordinator for several SOM and BMS venues. Universally, she has received outstanding evaluations from the students that she teaches or advises. She is a great team player, and all of this in addition to her own research that she coordinates, and other administrative duties that she gives freely to the SOM.”

Dr. Ziegler, who retired in June 2002, joined the UCSD faculty in 1973. During her tenure, she won the admiration of her students, which is reflected in the teaching awards she has received, including two from the medical residents in 1991 and 1997, and two from the Chief Medical Residents in 1998 and 2001.

In addition to multiple teaching duties, Dr. Ziegler was an attending physician on the medical wards; even after cutting back on her schedule, she continued to attend morning report almost every day to interact with medical residents.

Joshua Fierer, M.D., Professor in Residence, Department of Medicine said, “She has been the linchpin of our training program. She leads by example, and her remarkable efforts have caused residents and fellows to view her as a positive role model.”

Dr. Ziegler, a specialist in Infectious Diseases, is also a Master of the American College of Physicians and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation.


Dr. Taylor, who is also a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was honored for her enormous contributions in biochemistry research. According to Roger Y. Tsien, Ph.D., Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Dr. Taylor is currently the world’s leading expert on cAMP-dependent protein kinase, the archetype for all the protein kinases, which are the largest and most fundamental class of interacting enzymes in biological signal transduction. “If one had to choose the single most fundamental breakthrough of the last decade in our understanding of protein kinases, it probably would be the solution of the crystal structure of the catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase by Susan Taylor and her colleagues in 1991. This structure was not only the first kinase catalytic domain but also proved to be a prototype for essentially all other kinase structures solved subsequently,” said Tsien.

“Dr. Taylor has also been a strong voice for keeping biochemistry integrated with all other aspects of chemistry, molecular sciences, and medical teaching,” he said.

Dr. Richman received the research award based upon his extraordinary accomplishments in virology research, notably his work on retroviral mechanisms of resistance to therapy. This important field of research embraces not only human immunodeficiency viral infection, but also other retroviral diseases that have emerged as a result of intensified human migration in the late twentieth century. Attesting to his preeminence in this field, Dr. Richman and his research group publish fifteen to twenty new articles per year in leading journals.

Henry C. Powell, M.D., D.Sc., Interim Chair of the Department of Pathology, said, “Dr. Richman is a pioneer in developing new strategies for early detection and effective therapy for newly recognized viral pathogens. He was among the first to describe persistence of HIV despite prolonged apparent suppression of HIV replication by potent inhibitors and the first to identify patients with primary HIV that was drug resistant.”


Dr. Easter has been a UCSD faculty member since 1990. According to A. R. Moossa, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Easter has made a significant impact in the management and delivery of services in the UCSD patient-care programs. As Director of the Clinical Oncology Programs for the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, his responsibilities have focused on the organization of the oncology programs within all of UCSD, resulting in a cohesive service unit. “Consequently,” said Dr. Moossa, “Dr. Easter has had remarkable success in transforming and improving the clinical services. One of his many achievements has been the creation and revitalization of disease-specific programs or Specialized Cancer Units such as the Breast Cancer Unit, bringing together the research and clinical enterprises.”

He is a participant in many committees charged with the shaping of patient care at UCSD, including the Cancer Center Foundation and the Patient Care Committee. Dr. Easter is also the Associate Director for Clinical Services at the Cancer Center.

Dr. Wallace not only provides patient care personally but has also been the leader of the expansion of UCSD’s pain management capability. He organized and serves as Director of a specialized unit within the Cancer Center (the Cancer Pain Relief Unit). Since 1995 he has introduced state of the art therapies for the management of chronic pain. The list of techniques introduced under his aegis includes: pulsed radiofrequency lesioning; intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty; nucleoplasty; spinal endoscopy; spinal drug delivery; and spinal cord stimulation.

Together with Lynette Mock, M.D., Department of Medicine and Laurel Herbst, San Diego Hospice, Dr. Wallace organized a palliative care consult service. He also organized and maintains a free patient education series that is funded by money he solicited from the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, he developed a CD ROM program in pain management for primary care providers.

“Mark Wallace is the clinician for whom every patient in pain hopes,” said John Drummond, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. “As a result of his skill in the personal delivery of every element of acute and chronic pain management, he has hundreds of grateful and devoted patients.”

Members of the selection committee were co-chairs Gordon Gill, M.D.; Maria Savoia, M.D., and Cecilia Smith, D.O.; and Harry Bluestein, M.D.; Marilyn Farquhar, Ph.D.; Tom Moore, M.D.; Roger Spragg, M.D.; Daniel Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Palmer Taylor, Ph.D.


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