Three Columbia Physicians Named to American Society for Clinical Investigation

February 14, 2022

Markus David Siegelin, Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, and Shan Zha are among 95 physician-scientists elected for their contributions, at a relatively young age, to the understanding of human disease.

All three are physician-scientists at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The American Society for Clinical Investigation seeks to support the scientific efforts, educational needs, and clinical aspirations of physician-scientists to improve the health of all people. Membership is by election only, and only researchers who are 50 years of age or younger are eligible.


Markus David Siegelin, MD

Associate Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology

 

Markus Siegelin, MD, Columbia University
Markus Siegelin

Markus Siegelin is a physician-scientist who studies glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain cancer in adults, with the goal of identifying more effective treatments. Siegelin investigates how glioblastoma becomes resistant to current treatments, how cell death pathways could be exploited to kill tumor cells, and how the metabolism of tumor cells contributes to glioblastoma growth.

His most recent work shows that histone deacetylases (HDACs) are important regulators of energy metabolism in model systems of glioblastoma, and he is investigating the use of HDAC inhibitors as a potential treatment.

Siegelin has received several awards, including the 2016 BCURED Fighting Brain Cancer Award and the 2017 ABTA Discovery Grant. In 2017, he was named a Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar and, in 2020, a Schaefer Research Scholar.

He has been highly successful as a mentor, with his trainees securing several fellowships and developing successful independent careers.

"Markus is an outstanding physician-scientist who has distinguished himself in the field of brain tumor research. He has built a highly productive NIH-funded research program and is poised to make significant advances in our understanding of brain tumor formation, progression, and treatment,” says Kevin Roth, MD, PhD, the Donald W. King, MD, and Mary Elizabeth King Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology and chair of the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology.


Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine

 

Anne-Catrin Uhlemann
Anne-Catrin Uhlemann

Anne-Catrin Uhlemann is an infectious disease physician and scientist who studies antimicrobial resistance and how pathogens evolve and spread.

Her work has identified novel pathways of resistance to last-line antibiotics and investigates the relationship between the intestinal microbiome in immunocompromised patients and colonization with multidrug resistant organisms.

Much of her work involves “superbug” strains of pathogens that are becoming established in the community and have emerged as an urgent threat to health care. Her work is critical to developing real-time monitoring and interventions to limit the impact of infections.

More recently, Uhlemann worked with other Columbia researchers to help track COVID variants in New York City. In early 2021, they identified a home-grown SARS-CoV-2 variant (which was rapidly displaced by the Delta variant).

Uhlemann was Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine from 2014 to 2017 and a 2010 Paul A. Marks Scholar. She was named a 2020 Mentor of the Year by Columbia University’s Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

“A master of the microbiome and microbial genomics at the intersection with clinical epidemiology, Dr. Uhlemann was poised to pivot to COVID-19 to join David Ho, Magda Sobieszczyk, and others in the Department of Medicine's leadership-level research response to the pandemic,” says Donald W. Landry, MD, PhD, the Hamilton Southworth Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine.


Shan Zha, MD, PhD 

James A. Wolff Professor of Pediatrics

Shan Zha

Cancer is a disease driven by changes in DNA, and defects in DNA repair machinery often lead to immunodeficiency diseases and increase the risk for lymphomas and leukemias in children.

Shan Zha works to understand how cells sense DNA damage, mount efficient and precise repair pathways to fix the damage, and prevent cancer-causing transformations. Zha is also a skillful innovator. She and her lab have created more than 30 new mouse models, including a series of catalytically inactive kinase models to demonstrate the difference between inhibition versus deletion in DNA damage response pathways.

Uncovering the mechanisms by which cells protect their DNA may lead to new treatments for many cancers and childhood diseases.

For her work, Zha has received the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation Medical Research Award and an Irma T. Hirschl Research Award. She is a scholar of the St. Baldrick's Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the American Cancer Society. 

“Shan’s work is simply inspiring and is transforming the understanding of DNA repair and how we might utilize that understanding to develop new therapies,” says Jordan Orange, MD, PhD, the Reuben S. Carpentier Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at VP&S. “The Department of Pediatrics at Columbia is proud to host her and, given the number of pediatric diseases linked to DNA damage, we hope to see her work ultimately improve outcomes for children.”

Zha is also associate professor of pathology & cell biology and of microbiology & immunology (in the Institute for Cancer Genetics and in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center).