Touro University Research News

Obese Children’s Health Rapidly Improves with Sugar Reduction Unrelated to Calories,

Study indicates that calories are not created equal; sugar and fructose are dangerous.

Reducing consumption of added sugar, even without reducing calories or losing weight, has the power to reverse a cluster of chronic metabolic diseases, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, in children in as little as 10 days, according to a study by a team of researchers led by principal investigators Jean-Marc Schwarz PhD (Touro University California), Robert Lustig MD (UCSF), Alejandro Gugliucci MD, PhD (Touro University California), Susan Noworolski PhD (UCSF), and Kathleen Mulligan PhD (UCSF/Touro University California.)

The paper appeared online on October 27, and in the February 2016 issue of the Journal Obesity
to view the article click here.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), UCSF Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Touro University California.


To watch Touro's own Drs. Jean-Marc Schwarz & Alejandro Gugliucci on Kron4 News click here.

Touro University California is an important player on the ongoing research on the effects of sugar in today’s public health crisis generated by the obesity and diabetes epidemic. 

To raise awareness about the subject, two years ago we brought Gary Taubes as a keynote speaker at Research Day and it was a tremendous success. Now that the documentary Fed Up is available, and made for the general public, the Office of Sponsored Programs would like our students, staff and faculty to have the opportunity to watch it and draw their own conclusions with the information at hand. Some of the research shown in the documentary is being conducted right here on campus.

We will be showing Fed Up on October 30th and 31st at 12:00 pm- 12:50 pm in LH Classroom A. At the conclusion of the movie on the 31st we will have some time available to discuss and debate the movie.



We are delighted to announce that the NIH (National Institute of Health) has awarded an R01 grant to:

JEAN-MARC SCHWARZ, PHD (Touro University California)


This 5-year 1R01HL121324-01 will explore:

 “Adverse metabolic effects of dietary sugar _ Ad libitum vs energy-balanced diets”

The total award is 3.75 million dollars over 5 years, of which 1.7 million dollars will be administered by the Office of Sponsored Programs here at Touro University of California. The project takes advantage of the core stable isotope laboratory, a state-of-the-art asset that Dr. Jean-Marc Schwarz and his collaborators have put together on our campus.

Congratulations to both the UC Davis and the TUC team!


NIH has awarded a supplementary grant 3R01DK089216-05S1 for $ 100.000 to TUC.

This award is a supplement to our current 5-y grant NIH R01 “Metabolic impact of fructose restriction in obese children” that studies the effects of the reduction in sugar intake by children and its impact on their liver fat (which predisposes to diabetes) and cardiovascular risk. This grant is awarded to Jean-Marc Schwarz (TUCOM) and Robert Lustig (UCSF), with co-investigators Alejandro Gugliucci (TUCOM) and Susan Noworolski (UCSF).  The continuous support of these very productive interactions of TUC with the UC system prestigious researchers shows the strengths, the potential and the huge opportunities that the TUC core metabolism team has for an exponential growth of Touro’s contribution to medicine.


Gochin Zhou

We are pleased to announce that Touro University California (Assignee), Dr. Miriam Gochin and Dr. Guangyan Zhou (Inventors) have recently been granted a United States patent

The lab of Dr. Miriam Gochin has developed a new class of compounds that show encouraging activity against fusion of the HIV-1 virus with cells. Blocking fusion prevents HIV virus from entering the cells, avoiding subsequent integration of viral DNA into the host genome, and the long term chronic complications associated with retroviral infection. It is believed that cell-to-cell transmission of infection is a major contributor to viral spread and latency.

The new compounds are expected to be active against this route of transmission. Continued investigation of these compounds has resulted in 5-fold improved activity with subsequent derivatives, and the discovery of interesting biophysical and structural properties that are under investigation.

In other words, the HIV virus binds to the cells of the immune system that they attack and destroy by using a fusion protein. The new compounds discovered by our researchers prevent the virus from attaching to the cells and killing them.

If proven safe in further studies and clinical trials these kinds of compounds could prove beneficial as alternative therapies for AIDS.

Congratulations to Dr. Miriam Gochin and her team!

HDL Gugliucci

Study on Cholesterol Makes Top Ten Global List

There’s a reason why Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci’s first article for 2013 holds a spot in the top 10 list of articles written globally on the specialty of describing a new method to study the good cholesterol – it’s a hot and relevant topic in today’s medical setting. 

“Our approach is novel. We are the first to study function and concentration of HDL subclasses with just a few microliters of serum. We presented these findings at the European Atherosclerosis Society as well as at the Israel Atherosclerosis Society Annual Research Conferences in 2012 and received great feedback,” said Dr. Gugliucci, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at Touro University California. 

His article, “Enzymatic assessment of paraoxonase 1 activity on HDL subclasses: a practical zymogram method to assess HDL function,” written in collaboration with Russell Caccavello, Kazuhiko Kotani, Naoki Sakane, and Satoshi Kimura, explains a new practical technique that will allow, when validated by other studies, doctors to look at the antioxidant function and efficiency of the good cholesterol particles.  

Basically, good cholesterol acts as a protective factor against heart disease. However, drugs that increase it have failed. What we call the bad cholesterol or the good cholesterol are in fact “trucks” that carry fat. The bad cholesterol, also called LDL, delivers fat to the tissues, which can accumulate and block vessels. This results in a heart attack or a stroke. The good cholesterol truck (HDL) tends to bring cholesterol back from the vessels and get rid of it. 

When doctors measure HDL-cholesterol, they are in a way looking at how many trucks exist in the body.

Moreover, these trucks do not only carry cholesterol but powerful antioxidant enzymes, known as paraoxonase1. 

“If we could measure how effective they are and how much antioxidant enzymes they carry, we could have better diagnostic tools,” Dr. Gugliucci said. “Clearly, increasing the number of trucks or its capacity did not work. 

“The next frontier in the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of coronary heart disease lies on HDL and its function,” Dr. Gugliucci added. “Our team is gaining site on paraoxonase1 function in HDL subclasses and developing new methods to tackle these complex issues.”

Read the article on the Science Direct website.

A big congratulations to Dr. Murakami and his research team who made headlines in the Vallejo Times Herald!

"Under direction of Touro professor Shin Murakami, the students' long range goal is to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a costly illness of which there is no effective treatment.

"We want to find a way to make old life healthier and happier," Murakami said.

 Throughout the summer internship program, the students have also attended lectures and been exposed to Touro's various schools of osteopathic medicine, education, health sciences and pharmacy." Staff Writer Sarah Rohrs.

Touro University California's own Dr. Jean-March Schwarz and his research team have received yet another NIH R01 grant!

"I am pleased to announce that in this very competitive fiscal environment,  Dr. Jean Marc Schwarz, from our College of Osteopathic Medicine, has received another R01 grant from NIH. The grant is for more than 3 million dollars over a five year period. 

Dr. Schwarz leads a research team that includes Dr. Kathy Mulligan (UCSF) as co-principal investigator, Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci (TUC, TUCOM), Dr.  Maurice Schambelan and Dr. Susan Noworowlsky (UCSF) as co-investigators, as well as postdoctoral fellows, consultants and research associates here at TUC and at UCSF.

The research will explore the role of meal composition and frequency in lipogenesis, lipoprotein flux and cardiovascular disease risk. Congratulations to all involved for securing this critical funding." Provost Marilyn Hopkins.

Click on the links below to view articles written by the Vallejo Times Herald and The Daily Republic reporting on the success of Touro University California Research's newest NIH grant.

Touro Professor's work could lead to new diet and nutrition guidelines

Touro heart research gets $3M grant

Touro Students Receive Award for Urging Proper Use of Drug Perscriptions

Touro Study: Hands-Free Cell Phones as Bad as Driving Drunk

Touro University California's 12th Annual Research Day makes news in the Vallejo Times Herald.