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The Molecular Medicine Division consists of seven faculty members who share the common goal of using molecular approaches to the understanding of human disease. A major theme in the division is the use mouse models to investigate human diseases, ranging from atherosclerosis to emphysema. Although the division is research-oriented, individual faculty carry out clinical and teaching activities in Internal Medicine and in various subspecialties. The division serves as a magnet for research-oriented faculty and students in the M.D. Ph.D. program.

Alan Tall M.D. is the head of the division and is also the director of Columbia’s Specialized Center of Research in Atherosclerosis (SCOR in Atherosclerosis), an NIH funded program that involves other members of the Molecular Medicine Division as well as other Divisions and Departments. Dr. Tall is involved in studies of the mechanisms of atherogenesis, with emphasis on the use of transgenic mouse models and of human genetic deficiency states resulting in lipoprotein disorders. The major themes are plasma lipid transfer proteins, HDL receptors and use of mouse genomics to map new atherosclerosis susceptibility genes. Ira Tabas M.D., Ph.D. is active in the area of the cell biology of atherosclerosis and is examining the mechanisms of atheroma foam cell formation. He has discovered a novel sphingomyelinase activity in the arterial wall that promotes atheroma foam cell formation. Chris Schindler M.D., Ph.D. works on molecular mechanisms of cytokine signaling involving STAT transcription factors. Dr. Schindler was involved in the initial discovery of STAT transcription factors which mediate cytokine signaling to the nucleus. Alessandra Pernis M.D. works on signaling cascades involved in the regulation of the low affinity IgE receptor expressed on B cells and macrophages. These studies provide insight into the pathogenesis of asthma. Jeanine D’Armiento M.D., Ph.D. is studying the role of metalloproteases in human diseases, and has created transgenic mouse models of emphsyema, heart failure and arthritis; she is also investigating the role of metalloproteases in atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Dr. Gary Swergold is carrying out research on the role of repeated genetic elements in the human genome in human evolution, and the role of the elements in human disease.

Faculty Members

Alan R. Tall, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Director - Molecular Medicine

Jeanine D'Armiento, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Alessandra Pernis, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Christian Schindler, M.D.
Professor of Medicine & Microbiology

David Silver, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist

Gary Swergold, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Ira Tabas, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine and Anatomy & Cell Biology


The contact person for the Division of Molecular Medicine may be reached via e-mail,

Last Updated: January 2, 2002