Program Leadership

Director

Headshot of Dr. Steven ReinerSteven L. Reiner, MD (Duke) is the Charles H. Revson Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed an internal medicine residency at Cornell, followed by a fellowship in infectious disease and postdoctoral research in immunology from the University of San Francisco. The Reiner lab uses lymphocytes as a model system and has provided evidence that asymmetric cell division may be a way for many mobile, non-polarized cells to generate cell fate diversity among their progeny. Dr. Reiner came to Columbia in 2012, and joined the MD-PhD program in 2014 as Program Director. He is a physician scientist who has spent over 20 years in education and training of future physician scientists. He was a leader in the Immunology Graduate Program at University of Pennsylvania for 8 years and was very involved in the recruitment, mentoring and advising of Penn's MSTP trainees for over 12 years. He is dedicated to improving the pipeline of future physician scientists who will become the thought leaders of biomedical investigation, scientific and medical practice and policy, and academic medical administration.

Associate Director

Headshot of Dr. Michael ShelanskiMichael Shelanski, MD, PhD (University of Chicago) was the program director from 1999 to 2014. Dr. Shelanski is the Delafield Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, and the Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia. From 1979 through 1986, he was the Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at NYU School of Medicine and from 1975-1978, the Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Training Program at Harvard Medical School. He has served as a member of the Neurology A Study Section and the Pharmacological Sciences Study Section at the NIH and has been Chairman of the Udall Center Review Committee at NINDS. He is a member of the College of CSR Reviewers, the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Associate Director

Photo of Dr. Ronald LiemRonald Liem, PhD (Cornell University). Dr. Liem is Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and Director of the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies (the PhD program with the highest number of MSTP students), and the Pathology Graduate Program. Dr. Liem was formerly Associate Director of the MSTP at NYU. He serves as the principal liaison between the MSTP and the students in graduate school as well as a key advisor to the students in all years.

Associate Director

Headshot of Dr. Ira TabasIra Tabas, MD, PhD (Washington University) is the Vice Chairman of Research and the Robert J. Stork Professor of Medicine, and a member of the departments of Pathology and Cell Biology, and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics. Prior to becoming the Associate Director of the MSTP, Dr. Tabas served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the MSTP. He serves as a liaison between the program and the major medical teaching services as well as providing crucial backup for the program director. He is the key advisor for career planning as physician scientists as students move through the program.

Associate Director

Photo of Dr. Patrice SpitalnikPatrice Spitalnik, MD (University of Chicago) has been with the MSTP since 2003 when she was hired in response to the need for more "dedicated" administration of the program. She has responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the program, scheduling of students, development and teaching of medical and research ethics, student support throughout the educational period. Dr. Spitalnik is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology. She has been honored for her teaching of basic sciences at both Penn and Rochester. She has been nominated for "Teacher of the Year" a number of times at P&S and received an award for "Outstanding Teaching" from the second year medical school class. With the exception of her teaching time, she devotes full time to the MSTP. Her office is located in the MSTP office suite.