Research Training

Our goal is to train future leaders in academic endocrinology. Over the course of the three-year fellowship program, increasing research time is built in each year with the third year comprised primarily of research time to allow fellows the opportunity to develop and complete research projects over the course of the three years.

In the summer of their first year, fellows meet with a prominent faculty mentor to discuss research areas of interest and a list of possible members is generated. Over the next several months, fellows meet with potential research mentors to discuss projects and opportunities.

Our division has multiple, well-funded bench/translational researchers and clinical investigators for the fellows to work with, and offers funding for presentations at national meetings.

 

Training Grant

Dr. John P. Bilezikian, Principal Investigator

The Training Program in The Division of Endocrinology provides an opportunity for promising postdoctoral individuals of exceptional quality to pursue careers in academic endocrinology and biomedical research. Towards this goal, trainees acquire skills in basic, translational and clinical research in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. The program has been supported, in part, by an NIH training grant for over 50 years. It is, thus, one of the oldest training programs in the country. We continue to attract the best applicants in the United States.

The Division of Endocrinology has experienced a prolonged period of faculty and programmatic growth over the past 2 decades. With 39 faculty members, it is one of the largest Divisions of Endocrinology in the United States. It is also one of the largest divisions in Columbia’s Department of Medicine. Noteworthy strengths in Metabolic Bone Diseases, Diabetes, and Neuroendocrinology are complemented by strengths in other areas such as lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and adipocyte biology, and interdisciplinary connections to molecular sciences. The Diabetes Program has catapulted to the forefront among the major centers of excellence at the Medical Center. The Program is led by Drs. Robin Goland (Clinical Director) and Rudy Leibel (Research Director), both members of the Division and key faculty members of the Training Grant. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center is the recipient of a coveted Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC) from the NIH under the directorship of Dr. Domenico Accili. Another major theme of this training grant is Metabolic Bone Diseases. The Division’s Metabolic Bone Diseases Unit continues to strengthen its basic and translational research. The non-invasive skeletal imaging unit of the Metabolic Bone Diseases Unit, which features one of the first high resolution peripheral computed tomography instruments in the United States, has enabled a new frontier of translational research to thrive. The Weight Control Center of the Division, headed by Judith Korner, MD, PhD, who was trained with support from this Training Grant and is now one of its faculty, interdigitates smoothly with the Bariatric Surgery Program at Columbia University Medical Center and with the Neuroendocrinology Unit of the Division. Our programmatic growth over the past 5 years has been matched by continued strength in peer-reviewed funding from the NIH and other funding agencies. Programmatic growth and exceptionally solid funding for biomedical research establish a background from which our trainees will continue to benefit.

The Training Program has regularly produced basic, translational and clinical investigators who have achieved major positions of academic leadership. Noteworthy individuals whose careers were launched with support from this training grant in the past include Earl Zimmerman, who served with great distinction as Professor of Neurology and Chair, Department of Neurology, University of Oregon;  David Kleinberg, Professor of Medicine, New York University and Chief of Endocrinology, Manhattan VA Hospital;  Alan Robinson, Associate Dean and Professor of Medicine, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles California; and Susan Thys-Jacobs (Head, Osteoporosis Research Program St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital). Maria Rivas, a heralded former trainee from an underrepresented minority group, is the Global Medical Director of Eli Lilly. At Columbia, graduates of our Training Program have achieved local and national prominence. Dr. Sharon Wardlaw, Atkins Professor of Medicine, is Director of the Neuroendocrinology Unit and Director of our Endocrinology Clinics; Dr. Ethel Siris, Madeline Stabile Professor of Medicine, directs the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center and is a director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation; Dr. Elizabeth Shane, Professor of Medicine, directs the program in organ transplant-related bone diseases, heads the non-invasive skeletal imaging unit, and is past President of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research. She is also Vice-Chair of the Department for Clinical and Epidemiological Research. Dr. Felicia Cosman (Professor of Clinical Medicine) is Medical Director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation; Dr. Robin Goland (J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Medicine) co-directs the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and directs a program of translational research that is among the most active in the United States. Dr. Tracy Breen who completed her training 11 years ago is the newly appointed Head of Endocrinology at Long Island Jewish-North Shore Hospital Medical Center (an affiliate of Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine). More recent graduates of our program who have achieved academic success include 4 other members of the Columbia Endocrine Division. Drs. Mishaela Rubin, Marcella Donovan Walker, Adi Cohen, and Natalie Cusano are all recipients of K23 awards from the NIH. Dr. Gabrielle Page-Wilson has received a coveted Diversity Incentive Award from Columbia University and a K12 award from the NIH (via Columbia’s CTSA). In 2013, she received the highly competitive Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, formerly known as the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program. This highly competitive national program was created to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine or dentistry and who will encourage and foster the development of succeeding classes of such physicians and dentists. We are pleased at this national recognition given to Dr. Page-Wilson. Dr. Rubin is an Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Mariela Glandt is Director of the Diabetes Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. Within 2 months of completing her Fellowship Training, Dr. Cusano received her K23 Award. Dr. Utpal Pajvani (MD/PhD), who was recruited during his residency as part of our commitment to train basic endocrine scientists, holds a K08 Award, the Lewis Gertner Research Award and The Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation Scholar Award and Research Grant. He is also a Paul Marks Scholar of Columbia University and in 2013, he received the Lewis Katz Research Prize. The program continues to fulfill its mission of training individuals for major academic careers in Endocrinology. Of the 23 individuals who have graduated from this program since 2004, 14 (61%) hold full academic positions at major medical schools or at other academic centers such as the NIH/NIDDK/Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch in Phoenix, Arizona.. Besides Columbia University Medical Center, they include Albert Einstein Medical Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, George Washington University Medicine Center, Weill Cornell University Medical College, University of California, Los Angeles, State University of New York at Stonybrook and Stanford University School of Medicine.