Division Head, John L. Whitehurst Endowed Professorship; Co-Director, University of Maryland Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTSI); Head, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition; Director, Program in Personalized and Genomic Medicine

Personal History:

Alan R. Shuldiner received his BA degree (Chemistry) from Lafayette College (’79) and his MD degree from Harvard Medical School (’84). He was a resident in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and a Medical and Senior Staff Fellow in Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Diabetes Branch at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Shuldiner is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism. In 1991, he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology as an Assistant Professor, and in 1993 he was promoted to Associate Professor. In 1997 he was recruited to the University of Maryland as Professor and Head of the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition in the Department of Medicine. In 1999, the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition and the Division of Endocrinology were combined, and Dr. Shuldiner assumed the leadership of the newly named Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition. Under his leadership the Division has grown to 34 full-time faculty members and an annual research budget of $13 million, ranking 11th in US News and World Report in 2013. In 2005, Dr. Shuldiner was named the John L. Whitehurst Professor of Medicine. In 2011, he was appointed Associate Dean for Personalized Medicine and Director of the interdepartmental program in Personalized and Genomic Medicine. In this context and also to expand infrastructure, quality and quantity of clinical and translational research, Dr. Shuldiner co-directs, with Dr. Stephen Davis, the University of Maryland Clinical and Translational Research Institute. He is also a Core Investigator at the Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Research Interests

Dr. Shuldiner’s major research interests lie in genetics of age-related diseases, including Type 2 diabetes (T2D), obesity, and cardiovascular disease – common disorders of aging that contribute significantly to mortality, morbidity, and health care costs in the United States and world-wide. He also works on the pharmaco- and nutri-genomics of these disorders. His vision is to make genomic discoveries that lead to more effective individualized treatment and prevention of these diseases (Personalized Medicine). Dr Shuldiner is best known for his studies in the Old Order Amish, a homogeneous founder population ideal for genetic studies. He leads a large multidisciplinary research team that uses state-of-the-art molecular genetic, statistical and epidemiological methods, including both candidate gene and genome wide approaches. Dr. Shuldiner’s group was the first to identify the Pro12Ala PPARG2 variant, a common functional susceptibility allele for T2D. He is a member of the Diabetes Prevention Program’s Genetics Group, the first group to replicate and extend into a prospective study the role of variants in TCF7L2 in T2D.  More recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in the Amish have uncovered novel mutations that have informed human biology and population genetics.  His group identified the first APOC3null mutation in humans. Mutation carriers have low serum triglycerides, less coronary artery calcification, and are more likely to live past the age of 90 years. This genetic “proof-of-principle” experiment of nature validates apoCIII as a novel target for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia and has provided the impetus for the initiation of apoCIII inhibitor programs at a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  His group contributed to meta-GWAS studies of T2D, BMI, waist circumference, serum lipids, blood pressure, and other metabolic and cardiovascular traits. These studies, published in high-profile journals such as NatureNature Genetics, and AJHG identified more than 100 novel loci and genes for these complex traits. These loci promise to unveil new biology and potential targets for treatment and prevention of T2D and cardiovascular disease. Most recently, his group identified a common gene variant in CYP2C19 that is associated with poorer response to clopidogrel (Plavix). These findings along with candidate gene reports led to an FDA-mandated boxed warning on the package insert and recommendations for CYP2C19 genetic testing for more effective and individualized anti-platelet therapy in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions and in patients with acute coronary syndromes.  His research has been supported continuously since 1995 by NIH and other competitive peer-reviewed foundation grants.

Dr Shuldiner has authored more than 250 original articles in leading journals and 60 reviews and book chapters. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the prestigious Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar award, the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar award, and the 2006 University of Maryland Founders Day Researcher of the Year award. Dr. Shuldiner serves on several steering and advisory committees (including NIDDK’s Scientific Council), and study sections related to his expertise in complex disease genetics and translation of genetic discoveries to the clinical setting.

Dr. Shuldiner is strongly committed to the training of young investigators in multidisciplinary patient-oriented research in aging, endocrinology and genetics research. He was PI of the UM-NIH Roadmap K12 Multidisciplinary Clinical Scholars Program designed to support the career development of more than 20 junior faculty.  Over the years, Dr. Shuldiner has mentored 18 predoctoral students, 26 postdoctoral trainees and 12 junior faculty, most of whom have pursued successful academic careers.

 

 

 

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