A gift to the Department of Surgery helps our physicians and scientists find new treatments and cures for serious diseases.
Aditi Bhargava, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at UCSF. Her research laboratory is in the UCSF Center for the Neurobiology of Digestive Diseases.
Dr. Bhargava is a
recipient of the several awards including: Certificate of
Merit (1986); Graduate Research Fellowship (1988-1993), CSIR,
India; UNESCO/TWAS Human Genome Fellowship (1992); Senior Research
Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology, India (1994-1995); Quest
Diagnostic Young Investigator Award, Endocrine Society (2003);
Young Investigator Travel Award, GIRI Conference, Canada (2004);
New Investigator Award from the American Physiological Society
(2010); and FASEB MARC Mentor Travel Award (2010). Dr. Bhargava is
also a fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association
My work has far-reaching implications for many diseases in which components of the CRF system are being clinically tested. An estimated 57 million people in the US alone suffer from stress-related disorders. Stress is a major contributor towards development of Type 2 diabetes; 26 million Americans over the age of 18 are Type 2 diabetics, and an additional 79 million are thought to be pre-diabetic. Twice as many women as men suffer from stress-related disorders, including anxiety, depression, and inflammatory as well as functional bowel disease. Despite the preponderance of stress-related diseases in females, use of female animal subjects is perpetually lacking and knowledge of the sex-specific molecular pathogenesis in disease responses remain vastly understudied. Furthermore, as the dynamic relationship between stress and inflammation has become evident, CRF receptor antagonists and related molecular targets have been intensely studied and tried as promising therapeutic targets for these pathophysiologic mechanisms. Clinical trials have attempted to treat major depression, PTSD, cardiac injury, congestive heart failure and IBS using CRF-related therapeutics. Most of the therapeutics, while extremely promising in animal models, were are ineffective in clinical trials. Thus, given the myriad diseases and disorders that stress are exacerbatesd by stress, my work seeks to understand both the mechanisms that initiate a stress response and result in stress-coping action in experimental models that include both male and female subjects.
Chronic pain affects an estimated 116 million Americans and costs $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. Aditi Bhargava, PhD, Associate Professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery and Director of the Bhargava Lab, is using a technique known as RNA interference (RNAi) to develop a gene therapy system that sends specific commands to certain neurons, or nerve cells, telling them to turn off pain, or stop inflammation.
"The current treatments for pain dull everything," Bhargava said. "You have a little fire in the kitchen, but your only solution is a fire hose that floods the entire house. You put out the fire, but you're affecting the whole house in the process - a huge negative side effect."
Likening her method to a Trojan horse, Bhargava's novel therapeutic approach essentially hides the pain-silencing commands, carried by distinct proteins that affect cellular function, inside other proteins which bind only to the troublemaker cells. Once attached, they release their hidden power. Text above includes excepts from UCSF News story by Kate Rauch
Eric Kubat, M.D., a surgical resident in the Bhargava Lab, was recently honored with several prestigious awards for his research: the Kenneth P. Warren/ Pancreas Club Award for Outstanding Resident Research Presentation bestowed by "The Pancreas Club", a select group of world-renowned pancreatic surgeons, and the Excellence in Research Award from the American College of Surgeons in the category, "Alimentary Tract", the latter to be awarded at the 2011 Surgical Forum in October, 2011 in San Francisco.
About the Bhargava Lab - the lab, a core component of the UCSF Center for Neurobiology of Digestive Diseases, is led by Aditi Bhargava, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Surgery. The lab focuses on the molecular biology of stress-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Aditi Bhargava, Ph. D., during her postdoctoral training at UCSF in David Pearce's lab, along with other collaborators, identified Sgk1, an aldosterone-regulated gene as a key mediator of sodium transport in the kidney.