Two UC San Diego scientists elected to National Academy of Medicine

JoAnn Trejo, PhD, MBA, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Affairs, UC San Diego School of Health Sciences, and Elizabeth Winzeler, PhD , Professor in the Division of Host Microbial Systems and Therapeutics in the Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Assistant Professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego, were elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

JoAnn Trejo, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Business at UC San Diego School of Health Sciences. Right: Elizabeth Winzeler, PhD, is Professor in the Division of Host Microbial Systems and Therapeutics in the Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Assistant Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego.

Membership in the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of medical science, healthcare and public health.

“We are extremely proud of Drs. Trejo and Winzeler, not only for their accomplishments in advancing our understanding of human health, but also for their significant contributions to the development of health leaders on our campus and across the country, ”said David A. Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences at UC San Diego. “They both represent the best of UC San Diego’s culture of innovation, creativity and collaboration, and I have no doubt that they will inspire the next generation of scientists. “

JoAnn Trejo, PhD, MBA

Trejo is known to have discovered how cellular responses are regulated by molecules called G protein-coupled receptors, particularly in the context of vascular inflammation and cancer. His findings advanced fundamental knowledge of cell biology and helped identify new targets for drug development. Trejo’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a recent NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Award.

For example, she recently discovered that a tumor suppressor protein is linked to the signaling of deregulated G protein-coupled receptors in metastatic breast cancer, advancing the status of these molecules as anti-cancer drug targets. . In addition, his team published a study in
Scientific signage detailing the molecular events that cause blood vessels to leak associated with sepsis, opening up new treatment possibilities.

Trejo is held in high regard as an educator, mentor and leader actively engaged in many initiatives aimed at improving inclusive excellence. She heads the Faculty Affairs Office of Health Sciences at UC San Diego, where she is widely recognized for her effective strategies to enhance faculty career development. She leads the San Diego Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) Postgraduate Training Program, in its 19th year of NIH funding, the Faculty of Health Sciences Mentor Education Program, faculty from the Hispanic Center of Excellence and three NIH-funded faculty research programs. development that promotes the success of women and scientists from under-represented backgrounds.

“The induction into the National Academy of Medicine is truly an honor,” said Trejo. “As an accomplished first-generation Mexican-American scientist, mentor and leader, I hope to bring valuable new perspectives and insights to the Academy’s efforts to address critical issues in health, science and medicine.

“I also recognize that my greatest scientific achievements would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of my postdoctoral fellows and students and the strong collaborative environment at UC San Diego.”

Trejo has served in several study sections at NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and currently sits on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors for the Basic Sciences. She was also elected a fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology and elected to serve on the boards of directors of the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

She received the prestigious American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Ruth Kirschstein Outstanding Scientist Award, American Society for Cell Biology EE Just Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement, UC San Diego Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholar Mentorat and American Society for Cell Biology Inclusive Excellence Award. She was named to Cell Mentor’s list of 100 Hispanic / Latinx Inspirational Scientists in America.

Trejo was born in French Camp, California and raised in Stockton. She received her BA from UC Davis, her PhD from UC San Diego School of Medicine, and an MBA from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. She did a postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Francisco and was on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill before returning to UC San Diego as a full faculty member in 2008.

Elizabeth Winzeler, PhD

Winzeler is known for her early contribution to the field of functional genomics, where she mainly worked on model yeast,
Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Concerned about global health disparities and the alarming increase in the number of malaria cases around the world in the early 2000s, she reoriented her research towards malaria, starting with functional genomics, then towards the discovery of medications.

Previously working in a joint position between Scripps Research and the Institute of Genomics at the Novartis Research Foundation, his group developed high throughput chemical screening methods which ultimately led to the discovery of many new drug candidates that were developed. in new antimalarial drugs, including cipargamine and ganaplacid, which, in combination with another drug, recently successfully completed phase IIB clinical trials.

She has also developed advanced genetic methods that have led to the discovery and validation of numerous targets for antimalarial drugs. At UC San Diego, worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish what has now become the Malaria Drug Accelerator (, a consortium of 18 labs working to initiate the early stages of the drug development pipeline with the aim of creating new generation drugs.

“I attribute my success to having excellent mentors and an exceptionally broad background in molecular biology which has allowed me to adapt to changing circumstances and deal with health issues as they arise. emerging, ”said Winzeler.

At UC San Diego, Winzeler also became interested in identifying the institutional barriers that prevent women scientists from reaching their full potential.

Winzeler is the author of over 200 publications which collectively have had a sustained impact on the fields of functional genomics, genetics, microbiology, parasitology, bioinformatics, systems biology, chemoinformatics, medicine, chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.

She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and received numerous honors for her research including the Keck New Investigator Award and the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholars Award, the Bailey-Ashford Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Tropical Medicine, the ASTMH Craig Conference, UC San Diego Health Science Women Leadership Award, Rady Children’s Hospital Fundamental Research Excellence Award, William Trager Award, CC Wang Award in Molecular Parasitology, and Medicines for Malaria Venture Project of the Year .

Winzeler grew up in Reno, Nevada. She received her BA in Natural Sciences and Art from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She worked as a computer programmer for several years before returning to graduate school, earning a master’s degree in biophysics and biochemistry from Oregon State University. She then obtained a doctorate in developmental biology at Stanford University, where she also completed postdoctoral training.

About the National Academy of Medicine

Originally founded as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive action in all sectors. The National Academy of Medicine works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to provide independent and objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform decisions of public policy. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine also promote education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and enhance public understanding of STEMM. With their election, the members of the National Academy of Medicine undertake to offer their service in the activities of the national academies.

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