Featured & Recent Endocrinology Fellows

Many renowned leaders in medicine and endocrinology have trained in our program over the last 40 years, creating a rich legacy of scientific and clinical discoveries. Distinguished and recent fellows are highlighted below.

Photo of Alan R. Shuldiner
Alan R. Shuldiner, M.D.

Vice President and Co-Head, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

“The NIH is an ideal setting for aspiring endocrinology physician-scientists coming out of clinically intensive residency training programs to immerse in basic and/or clinical and translational research. In such a setting, fellows can obtain deeper knowledge of basic biology with direct applications to patients and diseases. The research-intensive fellowship prepares its graduates for academic faculty appointments at leading institutions. Not only is the NIH an international referral center for many rare diseases of unmet clinical need, but also a provider of care to the community, which provides the substrate for excellent clinical training in diabetes and endocrinology.

The 5 years I spent at NIH as a fellow in the Diabetes Branch were among the most exciting and stimulating of my career. Fantastic mentors and colleagues tightly linked to an international network of investigators – the “who’s who” of the academic endocrinology world. Thirty years later, and having been the Head of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at the University of Maryland for 17 years, I appreciate more than ever the opportunities the NIH fellowship provided.”

Photo of Lawrence S. Kirschner
Lawrence S. Kirschner, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
The Ohio State University

“As an M.D.-Ph.D., I knew for a long time that I wanted a career in academic medicine, with a significant research component. Training at the NIH provided me exposure to a phenomenal group of clinician-scientists, who served as outstanding role models for me as I made the eventual transition from resident to fellow, and from fellow to academic faculty member. Most of these faculty members were endocrinologists, but having the opportunity to interact with other specialists (especially surgeons—both endocrine surgeons and pituitary neurosurgeons) positioned me well for the type of collaborative clinical environment I was seeking. Of course, the NIH also provided me the opportunity to interact regularly with world-class scientists, who were very willing to share thoughts, ideas, and reagents with even a very junior scientist. In addition, I regularly attended special seminars and got to meet with a wide variety of scientific leaders visiting the NIH.

The other resource the NIH provides like no other place is access to the most interesting patients in the world. As someone who entered fellowship with an interest in endocrine tumors, I had the opportunity to see many, many patients with endocrine tumors, and developed significant expertise in ‘sub-specialty’ endocrine diseases like Cushing syndrome, acromegaly, and inherited endocrine tumor syndromes. Seeing enough patients with unusual diagnoses enabled me to become an ‘expert’ in these disorders, and my clinical practice today remains limited to adrenal, pituitary, and endocrine genetic disorders. Although these are rare in general endocrine practice, my specialization means that challenging cases throughout the state of Ohio (as well as neighboring states) are sent to me for an opinion, including a large number of referrals from other endocrinologists.

Early during my first year at the NIH, I became interested in patients with the Carney Complex. Having the opportunity to work with these patients provided me with a top-notch bedside to bench project, which eventually resulted in my identifying the gene that causes this condition. From this result, I have built my own career on working back from the bench towards the bedside by understanding the role of the causative gene (Prakr1a) and its associated signaling pathway (the cAMP/PKA pathway) in endocrine function and endocrine tumorigenesis.

The NIH provided me with the opportunity not only to find a clinical niche, but also a research niche that was closely aligned. The training and mentoring received during my 6 years there (3 years as a clinical fellow and 3 years as a senior staff fellow) provided me with an outstanding foundation for my current NIH-funded extramural career as a physician and scientist.”

Photo of Dr. Elif Oral

Associate Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND)
University of Michigan

“My training at the NIH instilled in me a passion for rare diseases and I believe these “gifts of nature” empower clinical investigators to unlock keys for novel disease mechanisms. It is through this experience that I realized that asking why something unusual happens in a patient may lead to an unexpected answer. An unforgettable moment for me occurred during my fellowship when I gave a drug to a patient for the first time for a new disease and I was able to see the remarkable efficacy of testing an intervention. I will always remember this first patient with lipodystrophy who was treated for the first time with leptin and how this drug led to visible changes within weeks. This was a very challenging clinical case and my mentors and I had tried to find a solution for two years, resorting to weekly plasmapheresis. I remember shortly after we started leptin in this patient, now famously referred as “patient NIH-1”, the effect on her liver, and the xanthomata was clinically evident, but most exciting was seeing the plasma change from “creamy” to clear. I vividly recall running up the steps of the old Building 10 about 8 floors to the corridor of the Diabetes Branch on a mid-July afternoon in 2000 (roughly three weeks after starting leptin and one week after the discharge of the patient to home following the long drug initiation visit), with the plasmapheresis bag in my hands, screaming to my colleagues “Can you believe it!” Since then, I have been trying to relive that moment again and that is why I continue my career as a Clinical Investigator despite the challenges and daily obstacles. More than likely, nothing will ever top that experience professionally."

Photo of Sabyasachi Sen
Sabyasachi (Saby) Sen, M.D., FRCP (Edin.,UK), FACP, FACE

Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine (Division of Endocrinology)
And Associate Professor Anatomy & Regenerative Medicine,
The George Washington University

“I am clinician scientist with board certification in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine. My translational research interest involves studies on how high glucose affects stem and progenitor cells. More specifically I study survival of human CD34+ cells (endothelial progenitor cell) and differentiation of adult bone marrow and fat derived mesenchymal stem cells in hyperglycemia. I am also interested in using adult stem cells not only as a regenerative tool but also use them to predict cardio-metabolic health status in response to an intervention. I currently hold three active grants on these topics.

Experience at NIH was a major contributor to my career path of physician scientist. It gave me a perfect balance of clinical exposure to common and uncommon clinical cases while allowing me to pursue bench-top and patient based research. I am very fortunate to have maintained my close ties with NIDDK and currently have active collaborations with intramural investigators. Any aspiring endocrinologist will benefit from the diverse yet in-depth experience of the NIH Endocrinology program, particularly for those who has an interest to know the molecular mechanisms behind a disease entity.”

Recent Fellows

Photo of Smita Jha
Smita Jha, M.D.

Residency: North Shore Medical Center, MA

Mentor: Timothy Bhattacharyya, M.D. (NIAMS)

Research Projects and Interests: Dr. Jha’s research interest focused on bone and mineral metabolism, including the study of a rare osteosclerotic disease called melorheostosis with the aim of understandings its pathogenesis and finding a treatment. She is part of the Clinical Outcomes Branch at NIAMS and is also interested in atypical fractures and bisphosphonates. She has won several awards and travel grants for her work, including the Helmsley Charitable Trust Abstract Award in Type 1 Diabetes from the Endocrine Society.

Photo of Pooja Raghavan
Pooja Raghavan, M.D.

Postdoctoral research: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Residency: Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus Ohio

Mentor: Monica Skarulis, M.D. (NIDDK), Ranganath Muniyappa, M.D. (NIDDK)

Research Projects and Interests: Dr. Raghavan focused on obesity and diabetes related research. She obtained considerable clinical expertise in assessing insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and incretin action using gold-standard techniques, and examined novel approaches to treat dysglycemia in patients with insulin receptor mutations.

Photo of Ifechukwude Ebenuwa
Ifechukwude Ebenuwa, M.D.

Residency: University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago IL

Mentor: Dr. Mark Levine (NIDDK)

Research Interests: Exploring nutritional interventions in the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes and the sequelae of complications. Current projects include investigation of the inhibition of intestinal glucose absorption by the bioflavonoid quercetin, and vitamin E pharmacokinetics in Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).

Photo of Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska
Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D.

Residency: Internal Medicine Residency program, Georgetown University Hospital/Washington Hospital Center

Mentor: Electron Kebebew, M.D. (NCI)

Research Projects and Interests: Optimization of thyroid cancer therapy in order to improve patients’ morbidity and mortality. She was working on several projects including clinical studies comparing dosimetry-based vs empiric fixed dosage of radioiodine for the treatment of high risk patients with thyroid cancer, optimization of follow up strategy for thyroid cancer patients and translational studies on growth inhibitory effects of metformin on thyroid cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo.

Photo of Yulong Li
Yulong Li, M.D.

Residency: Raritan Bay Medical Center in New Jersey

Mentor: William Simmonds, M.D. (NIDDK)

Research Project: Dr. Li is interested in studying familial syndromes of hyperparathyroidism.

Ijeoma Muo, M.D.

Previous Fellowship Training: Geriatric Medicine, University of Maryland Medical System

Mentor: Jay Chung, M.D., Ph.D. (NHLBI)

Research Project: Dr. Muo is interested in 1) obesity, nutrition, healthy aging and cardio-metabolic disease prevention 2) age and racial differences in metabolic syndrome 3) increasing nutrition education in medical education.

Photo of Firas Riyazuddin
Firas Riyazuddin, M.D.

Residency: Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West Internal Medicine Residency, Icahnn School of Medicine, New York City

Mentor: John Spouge, M.D. Ph.D., Statistical Computational Biology Lab, NCBI

Research Project: Dr. Riyazuddin was particularly focused on data science and personalized medicine, including metagenomics research, functional genomics, network and systems biology.

Photo of Fady Hannah-Shmouni
Fady Hannah-Shmouni, M.D.

Residency: Yale New Haven Medical Center (YSR)

Research Project: Dr. Hannah-Shmouni is focused on clinical research related to adrenal genetics and inborn errors of metabolism.

Photo of Yevgeniya Kushchayeva
Yevgeniya Kushchayeva, M.D., Ph.D.

Residency: Internal Medicine Residency program, Georgetown University Hospital/Washington Hospital Center

Research Interests: Dr. Kushchayeva is focused on thyroid cancer research, including repositioning therapy for advanced thyroid cancer treatment.

Photo of Sheetal Malhotra
Sheetal Malhotra, M.D.

Residency: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY

Research Interests: Dr. Malhotra focused on a wide variety of endocrine conditions, including diabetes, obesity and dyslipidemia, and new modalities of management for chronic and rare endocrine disorders. She also was looking at non-nutritive sweeteners in pregnancy.

Photo of Shanaz Sikder
Shanaz Sikder, M.D.

Residency: California Pacific Medical Center Residency, San Francisco, CA

Research Interests: Dr. Sikder is interested in metabolism and diabetes.

Photo of Sri Tella
Sri Tella, M.D.

Residency: Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska.

Research Projects and Interest: Bone and mineral metabolism, diabetes and its effects on bone, neuroendocrine tumors and rare Endocrine malignancies.