Dr. Scott M. Lippman, Promoting Personalized Prevention

Scott M. Lippman graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and did his internship and residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He had hematology/medical oncology training at Stanford University and the University of Arizona and is triple board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.

Until becoming the director of Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego a little over a year ago, Lippman was chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Lippman is also a professor of medicine at UC San Diego and holds the Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer. Lippman currently serves on the National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials/Translational Research Advisory Committee and has previously been a leader of many American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and American Society of Clinical Oncology committees and programs, serving on several cancer center external advisory boards and major-trial committees.

Lippman has authored over 300 publications in research journals and medical texts books and has served on editing boards for top-tier, peer-reviewed journals, including Cancer Research, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. He was also made editor-in-chief of AACR’s Cancer Prevention Research.

In an interview with AACR, Lippman talks about the importance of these journals within cancer research as a whole. He explains how doctors are so focused on their specializations and in depth research that sometimes they have a hard time branching out and seeing the relevance of different disciplines. With his wide variety of expertise, Lippman embodies the notion he promotes in his editing of finding applications of other studies.

In this interview, Lippman also discusses the revelation of personalized prevention and care. Cancer is a complex disease that takes many forms and affects people differently. Lippman claims that treatments should be tailored to certain markers in the patient that will help predict how the patient and the cancer will respond. With this personalized treatment, Lippman also suggests the possibility of personalized prevention, informing patients of what they can do to combat their potential for developing cancer.

Watch the interview below and hear what he has to say about diversifying ones’ scope with research journals and specializing research in personalized cancer prevention.

Or, get the chance to see Lippman discuss his studies in person at this year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held during October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on speakers and registration, please visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.


Kunal Sarkar: Bettering Your Brain

Kunal Sarkar graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a certificate in Finance from Princeton University in 2000.

He began his career with the Walt Disney Company, doing strategic planning and development. From there, Sarkar became the vice president of  McCown De Leeuw and Co., a billion dollar private equity fund that focused on making growth equity investments. Arkar then went on to co-found American Infrastructure Master Limited Partnership Funds (AIMLP), a private equity fund that manages investments in infrastructure and natural resources.

Since 2006, Sarkar has been the CEO of Lumos Labs, the research center behind Lumosity, which he co-founded. Lumosity is the wildly popular, critically acclaimed brain performance enhancer, that has grown to over 40 million users. It uses games and training exercises created by neuroscientists to improve memory, attention, and problem solving. Users create a profile choosing particular aspects that they would like to strengthen and Lumosity creates a personalized daily brain work out aimed at improving core cognitive functions.

Users report better memory, quicker hand eye coordination, improved focus, and easier multitasking after using Lumosity. A 2013 peer-reviewed study from Stanford University shows that Lumosity training can improve the brain’s executive functions, which are a key driver of everyday quality of life. Dr. Shelli Kesler tested women who trained with Lumosity for 12 weeks against a control group, revealing significant improvement in working memory, verbal fluency, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility of the women who used Lumosity versus those that did not.

This is just one of many studies related to Lumosity. The research behind Lumosity has formed into the Human Cognition Project, a collaboration of researchers that mine the data Lumosity gathers about its users and the way their brains react, function, and improve. Lumosity is now the largest and fastest growing database on human cognition and the research it generates gives insight to our understanding of the brain as well as improvements of Lumosity’s training.

Hear about the research and developments of Lumosity from Sarkar himself at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at the Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on registration and speakers, like Sarkar, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.

Dr. Ralph J. Greenspan, Between Behavior and Neurobiology

ralph-greenspanDr. Ralph J. Greenspan began studying the genetic and neurological aspects of behavior in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) when he was a graduate student at Brandeis University. There, he worked with Jeffery Hall one of the field’s founders and has continued in this analysis of the genetic and neurobiological role in the fly’s innate and learned behaviors.

In his studies of fruit flies, he has determined that fruit flies have a sleep like state similar to the way mammals sleep. Watch this video as he explains what can be determined about the necessity and purpose of sleep.

Greenspan is determined in his continued study of the nervous system and its correlation with behavior, as he believes there may be a unifying principle for the operation of biological networks that applies to wide varieties of neurobiology, perhaps even that of humans.

Greenspan is now the associate director of the Kavli Institute for Mind and Brain at UC San Diego, where he was recently named founding director of the new Center for Brain Activity Mapping. The center, created as a direct response to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, plans to map the brain down to the resolution level of single cells and the timescale of a millisecond.

The research done at the Center for Brain Activity Mapping will study disorders such as autism and alzheimer’s and will hopefully one day lead to treatments and cures.

Hear Greenspan discuss the latest work of the Center of Brain Activity Mapping at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute (formerly known as Calit2) in La Jolla, California. For more information on registration, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.

Roni Zeiger: Making Smart Patients Smarter

Roni Zeiger received his M.D. from Stanford University and completed his residency at UC San Francisco. He has written several medical text books and taught as a clinical instructor of medicine at Stanford University, while earning his Master’s degree in biomedical informatics from Stanford.

Zeiger created a tool called Diagnosaurus that helps doctors remember potential diagnoses for particular symptoms. It has now been created into a smartphone app used by over 100,000 doctors and medical students.

Zeiger was the Chief Health Strategist at Google, where he was responsible for items such as Google Flu Trends and Symptom Search, where Google uses algorithms to find health conditions related to symptom queries searched in their engine.

His familiarity with searching the web for health issues, ranging from support groups to clinical trials, has led him to team up with Gilles Frydman to found Smart Patients. A few months ago Smart Patients became available to the public, inviting cancer patients and care givers to join the support network to find and discuss clinical trials and other treatments. With this website, Zeiger is bringing together the disparate community of people who have become cancer experts from their close experience with the disease. Smart Patients capitalizes on the collective knowledge of individuals with the hope of improving the quality of caner patients’ lives, while making it easier to find relative information on clinical trials and rare aspects of the disease.

Zeiger is currently the CEO of Smart Patients, as well as a part time Community Staff Physician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Hear him explain his idea for the intersection of social media and health care, in this TEDMED video explaining Smart Patients.

Or, hear him discuss his latest work for yourself at this year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, presented by UC San Diego Extension and the Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at the Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California.

For more information on registration, please visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.

Jacopo Annese: Slicing, Dicing and Digitizing Brains

How many of you have that little organ donor sticker on your driver’s license? According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, over 200,000 Californians have pledged to donate their healthy organs upon their death to people in need.

But what about donating your organs to science? The work of Jacopo Annesse, assistant professor in residence at UC San Diego’s department of Radiology and director of the The Brain Observatory, would never have gotten to where it is today without the donations of over 1,000 brains.

In 2005, Annese founded The Brain Observatory and in 2009, was given one of the most famous brain’s in medical history.

Henry Molaison, medically known as patient HM, underwent brain surgery in 1953 in an attempt to treat his severe epileptic convulsions. Although the surgery helped his seizures, from that day on he was unable to retain a memory for longer than 20 seconds.

Upon his death in 2008, he donated his brain to The Brain Observatory, with Annese at the head of the investigating team preparing to dissect and digitize the brain. In 2009, the operation finally took place but, this one brain was just the beginning, spurring the formation of the Digital Brain Library.

This project has called for the donation of 1,000 brains to be similarly dissected and digitally recorded in the hopes of creating a comprehensive catalog of the brains to serve as a virtual map of the brain’s composition. The Digital Brain Library will simultaneously record 1,000 neurological portraits that can give scientists insight on the links between biological complexities, disease, and individual or social behaviors.

Hear Annese explain his work himself in this episode of Health Matters.


Or, catch him in person at this year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, presented by The Atlantic Magazine and UC San Diego Extension. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on speakers and registration, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com

The Latest Buzz in Self Quantifying

This morning, KPBS reporter Angela Carone unveiled the latest device from UC San Diego’s Calit2, now known as the Qualcomm Institute, invented by the director of the institute, Ramesh Rao.

This new self quantifying system of machines is called the Bliss Buzzer and is worn to measure heart rate in order to determine when the user is optimally relaxed, at which point it gives the wearer a small vibration, or buzz.

Just like a pedometer that measures one’s steps, the Bliss Buzzer is a training device, intended to make people more aware of the subtle functioning of their own body.

Rao created the device with the intention of showing people when they are really relaxed, hoping that with this knowledge they will strive to create more restful moments through out the day. Carone describes the buzz as an inaudible, enjoyable tingling, that could unknowingly trigger the user to want to have more buzzes and therefore, more restful moments.

“You can get hooked on the buzz without knowing that you’re doing it,” Rao tells KPBS. “And so to the extent that we are associating it with healthful states, that’s a good entrainment. It teaches you.”

But the absence of the buzz can also indicate something. Wearers could notice they haven’t buzzed in a while and realize they should take a moment to remove stress.

Rao said he was driven to create the Bliss Buzzer when he began self quantifying five years ago, a craze popularized by Calit2’s founding director, Larry Smarr. Like Smarr, Rao noticed his lifestyle heading in an unhealthy direction and he decided to track the changes as he altered his diet, began exercising and has become devoted to yoga.

In this video, catch a glimpse inside the Qualcomm Institute, as Rao and Smarr discuss the institute’s accomplishments on it’s tenth anniversary.

Or, get a look inside the Qualcomm Institute yourself at this year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, presented by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. Also hear from the self quantifying expert, Larry Smarr, at the conference, held on October 2 through 4 at the Qualcomm Institute and the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, California.

Please visit atlanticmeetspacific.com for registration and more information.