San Francisco VA Immunology Group

A macrophage sensing a pathogen
A Microglia and Neuron
UC San Francisco/ UC Berkeley Immunology Conference, Santa Cruz, California

The San Francisco VA Immunology Group is a collaborative team of physician-scientists and scientists that share a passion for molecular and cellular immunology, and a desire to understand how it impacts significant health problems for Veterans and the general public.  We are a cohesive group and currently have four Principal Investigators, Dr. Mary Nakamura, Dr. Renuka Nayak, Dr. James (Jay) Ryan, and Dr. Christine Hsieh, who are leading projects in osteoimmunology, cardioimmunology, arthritis, microbiome, drug metabolism, liver and bowel diseases, neuroimmunology, and traumatic brain injury. 

Dr. Mary C. Nakamura, M.D. is rheumatologist, basic-translational scientist, and a Professor in Residence in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology.  She is interested in studying innate immune receptors, osteoimmunology, bone fracture and aging, immunomodulation of cardiac injury in patients with arthritis, natural killer (NK) cells, and osteoclast biology.  She is an Associate Director of PREMIER (Precision Medicine in Rheumatology) and a leading specialist in arthritis at UCSF.   

Dr. Renuka Nayak, M.D., Ph.D. 


Dr. Jay C. Ryan, M.D. is a gastroenterologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. Dr. Ryan is interested in the study of innate immune receptors and NK cell biology.  His studies are determining how innate immune receptor genes can effectively predict clinical outcomes in Hepatitis C infection and treatment.  In addition to studying liver diseases, he also investigates the role of innate immune receptor signaling in inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Christine L. Hsieh, Ph.D. is a neuroimmunologist, basic scientist, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology.  She is interested in understanding the biology of macrophages and microglia in the context of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other neurodegenerative conditions, such as frontotemporal dementia.   Her lab is driven to understand the complexity of neuroinflammation, to identify targets, and assess potential drug treatments in preclinical animal models to improve the functional outcomes of traumatic brain injury.