Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo

Dear DEB Community,

I hope all of you are managing well as wildfires threaten our neighbors' homes, and power outages disrupt some of our daily lives.

The weight of these events hangs over what has otherwise been an incredibly inspiring couple of months. Thanks to all of you who participated in the immigrant health symposium on Thursday, October 24. We had a big turnout, and the range of clinical and research efforts across UCSF helping immigrant patients was awe-inspiring.

A ton of work went into making this event a success. I'll give just a few shout-outs here: Bob Hiatt, who co-chaired the event; the hands-on steering committee that included Courtney Lyles, Jackie Torres and Jaime Sepulveda; and Alice Fishman, who has provided outstanding support for the population health program. Event staff, including Liz Buggs, Riya Desai and Amanda Schwerin, worked hard all day and did a fantastic job.

Thanks are also due to those of you who are participating in the department's efforts to embrace and embody UCSF's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through the seminars led by Meghan Morris and LaMisha Hill. This work will improve the DEB community for all of us.

And against that backdrop, the influential publications have continued to pour out and you all continue to be fantastic mentors. It’s an honor to represent this department.

Thank you!

P.S. Save the date for our Winter Holiday party on Friday, Dec. 6!


Back pain

A collaboration between Dennis Black and the orthopedic surgery division garnered a $30-million grant from the NIH's back pain consortium (BACPAC) to identify effective non-opioid treatments for back pain. Back pain is the most common issue other than cancer that results in an opioid prescription. The first phase of the effort will be a prospective clinical trial to identify subtypes of back pain to enable more precise future trials of non-opioid treatments.

Dan Kelly

Please welcome our two new faculty members, Dan Kelly and Vasilis Ntranos, who is jointly appointed with the Diabetes Center. Dan Kelly also just won the 2019 Short-Term Mentor Award!

Ekland Abdiwahab

Doctoral candidates Kristen Azar and Adrienne Epstein have had papers accepted for publication and Ekland Abdiwahab was awarded an F31 from the NCI.

More News:

  • New staff include Ghilamichael Andemeskel, Yazmin Carrasco, PhD; Michelle Fong, Cheryl Vaughn, and Sonny Vernard, MPH. We send best wishes in future endeavors to departing staff member Victoria Mansour and departing postdoc Amber Paasch.
  • Our doctoral candidates are rocking! All passed part 1 of the qualifying exam. Congratulations to all, and thanks to faculty and staff who helped prepare and grade the exam.
  • Two of our alums, Elizabeth Rose Mayeda and post-doc alum Paola Gilsanz, were recently awarded new R01s. Huzzah!
  • Dennis Black and the Bone Quality Project have earned FDA funding for work to identify a bone mineral density biomarker to serve as a surrogate endpoint in clinical trials evaluating osteoporosis medications. Hip fractures, the most severe outcome of osteoporosis, are hardly rare, but they are uncommon enough to require large, long, and expensive clinical trials when used as the primary endpoint. This effort is the first in an FDA program to develop biomarkers for use as surrogate endpoints.
  • We're highlighting Dennis Black's work to honor his 38th workiversary in DEB! Thank you, Dennis! The communications team would love to highlight your projects and achievements, too: Please keep Kemi and Cameron in the loop!

If you have news or honors you’d like to submit for an upcoming newsletter, send an email with the details to Cameron Scott.




See the full list of faculty publications in September and October here.