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UCSD Faculty Named to Prestigious National Organization


October 09, 2006  |   

Four members of the UC San Diego faculty have been named to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the arm of the National Academy of Sciences that is both an honorific society and an advisory body on health and health policy matters.  This brings the total number of UCSD members to 30.

Theodore G. Ganiats, M.D., professor and interim chair,  department of family and preventive medicine; Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., the Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging; director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging; and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences; Ajit P. Varki, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, department of medicine; and Charles S. Zuker, Ph.D., investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of biology and neurosciences, were among the 65 new active members announced by the IOM today.

Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.  Election is considered “one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health,” according to IOM President Harvey V. Fineburg.  Members commit a significant amount of volunteer service in IOM studies and activities on a range of health issues of national importance.

Theodore G. Ganiats, M.D.
Ganiats is the executive director of the UCSD Health Services Research Center.  His research interests focus on advances in quality-of-life assessment and cost-effectiveness analysis for which he has worked on a series of national and international research projects. His multidisciplinary work has led to his participating on or chairing over 30 national and international guideline and quality measure panels. An alumnus of the UCSD School of Medicine and family medicine residency, Ganiats currently teaches social and behavioral and clinical medicine core courses in the School as well Masters level courses on outcomes, quality, and health services research.  He was Chief of the Division of Family Medicine from 1986 to 1997.

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D.
Jeste, a medical specialist and internationally known researcher in geriatric psychiatry, is chief of the UCSD Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and a geriatric psychiatrist with the VA San Diego Healthcare System.  He is also director of the Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research at UCSD, focusing on psychosis in late-life. Following medical education in India, Jeste completed psychiatry and neurology residencies at Cornell and George Washington University. He was Chief of Units on Movement Disorders and Dementias at the National Institute of Mental Health before joining UCSD in 1986. He has been President of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, and is Editor of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. His numerous awards include co-recipient of the American Psychiatric Association’s 2005 Research Award, in recognition of notable and distinguished career contributions. He has been included in the Institute of Scientific Information's list of the world's most cited authors of the last two decades.

Ajit P. Varki, M.D.
Varki was educated at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, The University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis, and is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. He is co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center and associate dean for Physician-Scientist Training at UCSD and is executive editor of the textbook Essentials of Glycobiology.  He serves as coordinator for the multidisciplinary UCSD Project for Explaining the Origins of Humans, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Varki has served as chief editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and is recipient of an NIH MERIT award, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, and the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology.   His research focuses on the biology of sialic acids, with an emphasis on unique aspects of human evolution.

Charles S. Zuker, Ph.D.
Zuker, a neurobiologist who has been with UCSD since 1987, was born in Chile and moved to the U.S. to obtain his doctorate in molecular biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley.   He is a professor of biology and neurosciences at UCSD, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.  Zuker and colleagues in his laboratory employ a combined molecular, genetic, and physiological approach to investigate the biology of sensory transduction mechanisms in photoreceptors, mechanoreceptors and taste receptors. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Alcon and Cogan Award for fundamental contributions to vision research.  He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences, and health.

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Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163,

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