New Pharmacology Chair: Cory Abate-Shen, PhD

Photo: John Abbott

Cory Abate-Shen, PhD, a distinguished scientist whose multidisciplinary research has advanced understanding of the molecular basis of cancer initiation and progression, is the new chair of the Department of Pharmacology at VP&S. She succeeds Robert S. Kass, PhD, who chaired the department since 1995. 

Dr. Abate-Shen’s research focuses on understanding how basic mechanisms that control gene expression and cell identity become impaired during cancer initiation. She also has discovered new mechanisms that promote the spread of cancer and has provided genetic evidence that cancer cells can develop resistance to therapies by reprogramming themselves into a different type of cell. Much of this pioneering research involves the use of genetically engineered mouse models she and her colleagues have developed at Columbia.

Recruited to Columbia in 2007, Dr. Abate-Shen is the Michael and Stella Chernow Professor of Urologic Sciences and professor of pathology & cell biology, medicine, and systems biology. She has served as the leader of the prostate program, associate director, and twice as interim director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also is an American Cancer Society Research Professor.

Dr. Abate-Shen received her PhD degree from Cornell University and pursued postdoctoral training at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology. In 1991, she joined Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as an assistant professor and was named professor in 2001. She was appointed chief of a new division of developmental medicine and research in the school’s department of medicine in 2002.