James Huang, MD, has joined the UCSF faculty in the Department of Pediatrics as an associate professor of pediatrics, and has been appointed the director of clinical hematology at UCSF Children's Hospital.
"I am very excited to be joining the pediatric hematology/oncology division at UCSF. This is a vibrant and growing division with both supportive senior leadership and a group of energetic young faculty. Pediatric hematology at UCSF has a rich history of excellence - it has one of the original hemophilia treatment centers in the country, as well as one of the earliest comprehensive sickle cell clinics - and I hope to build upon this tradition," Huang said.
Huang will pursue both investigator-initiated and cooperative clinical research in hematology, and also will accept consultations in general hematology, participate in stem cell transplantation for hematological disorders, and direct comprehensive continuity clinics for bleeding disorders and hemoglobinopathy such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
Huang's primary areas of research interest include the origins and treatment of Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS). This genetically inherited condition occurs in approximately one in 100,000 births. The primary features of SDS are bone marrow and pancreatic dysfunction. This leads to problems with the production of blood cells, especially a type of white blood cells called neutrophils, and to an impaired ability to digest food.
Shwachman-Diamond syndrome is a leading cause of pancreatic insufficiency in children, second only to cystic fibrosis. In addition, SDS patients are predisposed to the development of leukemia.
Huang's lab at Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service in Houston used brewer's yeast as a model organism to study the mutant gene in SDS, and obtained evidence to support the hypothesis that the gene plays a role in ribosomal function. He also used the yeast model as a platform for drug discovery to identify chemicals that may be therapeutically useful. At UCSF, he hopes to translate these findings to the clinical care of patients.
Huang comes to UCSF from Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service, where he was instrumental in starting its nationally designated hemophilia treatment center for patients with bleeding disorders and a hemostasis and thrombosis consult service.
Huang graduated magna cum laude in biochemistry from Harvard College, attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine, and conducted his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, with a fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty at UCSF on November 15.