January 10, 2002

UCSD Announces New Chair of Medicine

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D.

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D.

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., has been named the new Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSD. Currently serving as Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington, and Chief of the Hematology Section at the University of Washington Medical Center, he will begin as Chair and Professor of Medicine at UCSD on February 1.

Dr. Kaushansky, a highly respected hematologist and distinguished scientist, is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Blood.

"Dr. Kaushansky is an outstanding individual whose professional accomplishments and leadership skills will be a tremendous addition to the Health Sciences and to our university community," said Edward W. Holmes, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, in his announcement of the appointment. "I also want to thank Dr. Roger Spragg for serving as Interim Chair during the recruitment phase. He has done a superb job, ensuring that the department has continued to maintain its excellence on all fronts and maintained its position as one of the top Departments of Medicine in the country."

The UCSD Department of Medicine is the largest of the medical school’s 14 departments, encompassing 13 divisions, including internal medicine, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, allergy and immunology, infectious disease, hematology/oncology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and rheumatology. The department has over 250 full-time faculty members, 97 interns and residents, and an annual budget of approximately $87 million. The department ranks among the top five in the nation in total National Institutes of Health funding, with the faculty garnering about $60 million in research support.

"As I see it, the challenges that lay ahead for modern medicine are to convert our ever-growing understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of normal and pathologic human physiology into improved and novel ways to attack disease," said Kaushansky.

"This challenge can only be met by providing the greater medical community with physician-scientists, women and men who speak the languages of clinical medicine and investigational science, and with physicians who share in the excitement of all that modern medicine offers," he said. “Together with the outstanding faculty, fellows and house officers already present I am committed to continuing to build the UCSD Department of Medicine into an incubator that provides the perfect environment to nurture such ‘bilingual’ physicians."

Colleagues describe Dr. Kaushansky as a consummate academic physician who is committed to translating discovery at the molecular and cellular level into improved diagnosis and management, and ultimately prevention, of disease. He has conducted seminal research in his specialty, focusing on the molecular biology of blood cell growth factors, and the role of signal transduction in blood cell differentiation. His team has cloned several of the genes involved in these processes, including thrombopoietin, a key regulator of platelet production.

He is committed to excellence in clinical service, research and teaching, and in the training of physician-scientists to bridge the gap between basic research and the care of patients.

Dr. Kaushansky earned his B.S. and M.D. at UCLA, and completed his training, including a fellowship in hematology, at the University of Washington, joining the faculty in 1987. He is a recipient of the Dameshek Award from the American Society of Hematology, and an Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society for Medical Research. He is currently Vice President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and will serve as president in 2003-2004. He is also a member of the Association of American Physicians.

Kaushansky, 48, and his wife Lauren have two children.

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Media contact:
Leslie Franz

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/