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October 13, 2003

Media Contact: Sue Pondrom (619) 543-6163

UCSD, Salk and Burnham Scientists Among
Most Cited Researchers in Past 20 Years

Six La Jolla researchers are among the world’s most-cited scientists in the past 20 years listed in the current issue of Science Watch, a publication that tracks scientific publishing.

Michael Karin, Ph.D.
Geoffrey Rosenfeld, M.D.

Michael Karin, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, is ranked 12th worldwide and Michael Geoffrey Rosenfeld, M.D., UCSD professor of medicine and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was ranked 46th on the list.

From the Salk Institute, Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., Gene Expression Laboratory and a UCSD adjunct professor of biological sciences, was ranked 10th. Tony Hunter, Ph.D., Salk Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory was 22nd on the list.

John C. Reed, M.D., president and CEO of the Burnham Institute was 25th on the list, while Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., a Burnham professor of cell division and extracellular matrix biology, ranked 41st.

The latest issue of Science Watch includes the list of 50 researchers whose work was most cited as a source of information by other scientists in their studies published between 1983 and 2003.

Karin’s work was cited 54,390 times by other researchers, while Rosenfeld’s was cited 37,806 times. The citings for San Diego’s other researchers were: Evans, 57,630; Hunter, 46,313; Reed, 44,421 and Ruoslahti, 38,367.

The rankings are based on the number of times the researchers’ papers were cited by their peers in journals indexed by Thomson ISI, Science Watch publisher. Among the prestigious journals tracked were Science, Nature, Cell and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Michael Karin and Michael Geoffrey Rosenfeld

Karin, who is also a member of the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, is a leading world authority on cell signaling, the process by which information is passed along molecular pathways. A 1999 Science Watch interview with Karin noted that in the area of signal transduction, “few researchers have had the remarkable impact or maintained the extraordinary long-term productivity of molecular biologist Michael Karin.”

Some of his most-cited work has involved his ongoing investigation of an important regulatory protein kinase complex called I-kappa-B kinase (or IKK), which his team identified in late 1996, along with IKK’s three subunits, alpha, beta and gamma. Karin has shown that the IKK complex is a key regulator of NF-kB, a master on-off switch that has an important role in regulating inflammation and cell death. His current studies center on IKK and NF-kB as important links between chronic inflammation and cancer.

A UCSD faculty member since 1986, Karin also serves as a member of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Health Sciences and has been an American Cancer Society Research Professor since 1999. He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from UCLA and completed his postdoctoral training at the Fox Chase Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia and the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. He has published over 200 scientific articles and is an inventor on more than 14 different patents or pending patent applications.

Rosenfeld’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which diverse signaling pathways regulate gene expression to control development and homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively stable internal environment. His team uses genetic, molecular biological and cell biological approaches to study the generation of organs and the appearance of distinct cell types in the mammalian neuronal and endocrine systems. They investigate the molecular machinery that underlies the control of nuclear receptors and other classes of transcription factors (master on-off switches), and cross regulation between diverse signaling events. A current project is to apply a genetic, biochemical and molecular biological approach to understand precisely the molecular mechanisms by which coactivators and corepressors control gene transcription, and their modulation by signal transduction pathways during organ development.

Rosenfeld received his M.D. degree at the University of Rochester and performed post-doctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health and Washington University. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, Rosenfeld has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1985. He is a recipient of the Ernst Oppenheimer Young Investigator, and the Fred Conrad Koch Award.

Science Watch Top 50 Most-Cited Researchers in Past 20 Years:

Science Watch 1999 interview with Michael Karin, Ph.D.:

UCSD news releases on recent work by Michael Karin, Ph.D.:

“Molecular Mechanism Underlying Anthrax Infection Described By UCSD School Of Medicine Researchers”
The mechanism by which inhaled anthrax disarms and evades the immune system, enabling the potentially lethal bacteria to rapidly spread throughout the body, was described in August 2002 in the online edition Science Express, the website of the journal Science. The lab-culture research with mouse cells described how a complex of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) proteins called lethal toxin (LT) inhibits and destroys macrophages, the large white blood cells that act as the body's first defense against pathogens, and also disables the signaling mechanism triggering immune activation. This allows the bacteria to spread through the body unchecked by the immune system, resulting in rapid and potentially lethal anthrax infection.

“UCSD Researchers Discover New Role For Immune-Response Enzyme”
When viruses or bacteria assault the body, the immune system marshals its army of attack cells to ward off invaders. But sometimes, that arsenal of immune cells mistakenly ravages the body’s own tissues, leading to a variety of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, SLE (lupus) and multiple sclerosis. A team led by Karin discovered a new immunological pathway that opens a new avenue of research, with the potential for preventing autoimmune diseases and some lymphomas, without compromising the body’s immune defenses. Published in the August 24, 2001 issue of the journal Science, the study describes a previously unknown role for an enzyme call I-kappa-B kinase alpha (IKKa).

“UCSD Researchers Discover Protein Essential formation of Skin’s Outer Layer”
The Karin team discovered a protein that is essential formation of the outermost layer of the epidermis, the part of the skin that protects the body from invading microorganisms while providing a watertight barrier to prevent dehydration. Using test-tube analysis and studies in mice, the researchers identified a protein called a keratinocyte differentiation-inducing factor, or kDIF, which is required for the production of the thin layer of fibrous (keratinized) epidermal cells on the skin’s surface. As scientists learn more about this protein, it may provide clues to skin cancer prevention or new methods for improved wound healing. The discovery of the new protein is based on the Karin laboratory’s ongoing investigation of an important regulatory protein kinase complex called I-kappa-B kinase (or IKK), which they identified in late 1996, along with IKK’s three sub-units, alpha, beta and gamma.

“UCSD Researchers Find Genetic Key to Puzzling Congenital Disease”
In studies with mice, the Karin team discovered the gene responsible for a mysterious human congenital disease. The researchers genetically engineered mice to lose the function of the IKK-gamma gene to study its impact. They noticed that male offspring died during development, and the females that survived developed prominent skin abnormalities that appeared in phases. After an exhaustive search of the literature, they found a little-known human disease called incontinentia pigmenti (IP), whose symptoms fit like a glove with those seen in the mice.

Additional information on Michael Geoffrey Rosenfeld, M.D.:




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