Molecular Medicine Consult Service
The Molecular Medicine Consult Service (MMCS) is another new program intended to foster collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists.
It launched in the summer of 2017.
“It was originally the brainchild of one of our molecular medicine residents, Jake Appelbaum. He thought people should learn how to develop unifying scientific hypotheses to explain certain pathophysiology – and that certain clinical cases might effectively educate non-molecular residents about the current state of medical science.”
Neil Shah, MD, PhD
Director, Molecular Medicine Residency Program
“It was originally the brainchild of one of our molecular medicine residents, Jake Appelbaum. He thought people should learn how to develop unifying scientific hypotheses to explain certain pathophysiology – and that certain clinical cases might effectively educate non-molecular residents about the current state of medical science,” says Neil Shah, MD, PhD, who directs the Molecular Medicine Residency program, the department’s physician-scientist training pathway. “We hope it will not only educate residents, but also help us to come up with diagnoses for a subset of these patients and generate new avenues of research.”
The department is funding the project with help from the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which brings together scientists and engineers from UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University and is co-led by Joe DeRisi, PhD, former chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF.
Inspired by related programs, such as the UCSF Center for Next-Gen Precision Diagnostics and the NIH’s Undiagnosed Diseases Program, the program draws on UCSF’s existing strengths, says hospitalist Amy Berger, MD, PhD, who leads the program. Berger will spend half her time this year building the MMCS and finding cases that match its mission.
The MMCS is comprised of a team that includes Berger, rheumatologist Mehrdad Matloubian, MD, and third-year MD/PhD degree residents, who will evaluate potential cases and serve as the communication link between clinical teams and scientific consultants. To help navigate UCSF’s expansive research enterprise, the MMCS has recruited a multidisciplinary advisory panel – which includes Shah, clinician-scientists from many medical subspecialties, and scientific leaders from neurology, genetics, laboratory medicine, pathology, and pharmacology.
The hope is that by engaging scientists, clinicians will benefit from a deeper understanding of mechanisms of disease and be able to access cutting-edge experimental tools. Conversely, by addressing the problems of patients with unexplained diseases, scientists may uncover new targets for their work and accelerate the translation of experimental findings into diagnostic tools.