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Erin E Kershaw, MD

Dr. Kershaw is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Kershaw obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1991). She obtained her Medical Doctorate from Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and graduated with honors in research (1997). During her medical studies, she was awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellowship for research in the laboratory of Rudolph L. Leibel at the Rockefeller University in New York where she studied the molecular genetic basis for type 2 diabetes in obese rodents (1993-1995). Dr. Kershaw completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell Campus, New York, NY (1997-2000). She then completed her medical subspecialty fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (2000-2003). While at Harvard, she worked in the laboratory of Jeffrey S. Flier (2001-2008) where her research focused on the role of intracellular lipid and steroid metabolism in the metabolic syndrome. She was subsequently promoted to faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School (2003-2008) prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh (2008-present).


Ling Zhi Cai, MD, PhD

Dr. Cai is currently a senior research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Kershaw at the University Pittsburgh. Dr. Cai received her Medical Doctorate (MD) from Norman Bethune Medical University (presently Jilin University), China (1983). She received her Masters of Science (MS) Degree from Core Laboratory Department, China-Japan Union Hospital Norman Bethune Medical University, China (1999). She then received her Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Medicine from the Department of Pediatrics, Nippon Medical School Hospital, Japan (2004). During her training, she received an award for research excellence from the Sasagawa Foundation of Japan (1992). She subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Paula Clemens, MD, in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2004-2008). Since joining Dr Kershaw’s laboratory in 2008, she has been working to understand the role of novel lipases in skeletal muscle lipid metabolism and insulin action. Of note, Dr. Cai has been involved in clinical work, research, and teaching for the past twenty years.


Mahesh K Basantani, PhD

Dr. Basantani is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kershaw at the University Pittsburgh. Dr. Basantani received his Bachelor of Science (BS) and Masters of Science (MS) degrees from the University of Lucknow, India (1997 and 1999, respectively). He then completed his Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Botany from the In Vitro Culture and Plant Genetics Unit of the University of Lucknow, India (2008) where his research focused on the role of plant glutathione transferases in herbicide tolerance. Since joining Dr Kershaw’s laboratory in 2009, he has been working to understand the role of the patatin-like phospholipase domain containing proteins, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL, PNPLA2) and adiponutrin (PNPLA3), in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Of note, Dr. Basantani has particular expertise in bioinformatics and has developed a website (http://biophilessurf.info/) targeting students and researchers in the fields of general biology, molecular biology, and biotechnology. The website has been hand-coded in HTML and CSS.


Mitch Sitnick, PhD

Dr. Sitnick is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Division of Endocrinology at The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Sitnick obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ (2001). He then obtained his doctorate from the University of California, Davis (2009). While at UC Davis, he first worked in the labroratory of Espen Spangenburg, Ph.D. (2003-2006) where his research focused on the role of estrogens in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass. He then worked with the laboratories of John C. Rutledge, M.D., and Sue Bodine, Ph.D., where he investigated the effect of obesity on the regulation of skeletal muscle mass. Dr. Sitnick interests relate to the interactions between skeletal muscle and adipose tissue in determining tissue-specific and systemic metabolism.


Gabriele Schoiswohl, PhD

Gabriele Schoiswohl, Ph.D., is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh. She obtained her Master’s (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) degrees in Biochemistry with honors from the University of Graz, Austria under the mentorship of Drs. Rudolf Zecher and Robert Zimmermann. Following completion of her degrees, she continued her research as a post-doctoral fellow (2009-2011) at the University of Graz. During this time she investigated the contribution of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) to skeletal muscle and liver lipid metabolism (2005-2011). She was then awarded a prestigious Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship for research in the laboratory of Dr. Erin E. Kershaw (2011-present) where her research focuses on the role of adipocyte lipolysis and inflammation on the development of obesity-associated diseases.


Jules Aljammal, MD

Jules Aljammal, M.D., is currently a Clinical Fellow in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Aljammal obtained his Medical Doctorate with honors from the University of Tichreen, Lattakia, Syria (2002). He then completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Damascus, Damascus, Syria (2006) followed by his Residency in Internal Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Shadyside Campus (2012). After residency, he started his Fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Pittsburgh (2012-Present).


Munira Abbasi, MD

Munira Abbasi, M.D., is currently a Clinical Fellow in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). After graduating from Dow Medical College, Pakistan, she pursued her postgraduate training at Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan (2004-2008). She then completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Shadyside Campus (2008-2011). During her residency, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Laura Alonso, where she studied the effects of free fatty acids on beta cell replication in a mouse model of glucose-induced beta cell compensation. After residency she spent one year working as a hospitalist, prior to starting her Fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Pittsburgh (2012-Present).


Valerie Reeves, PhD

Valerie Reeves, Ph.D., is currently a T32-funded Postdoctoral Scholar in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Reeves obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN (2006). She then earned her doctorate from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (2012). At Kentucky, her dissertation work focused on the effects of dietary fats, namely stearic acid, in a type 2 diabetes mouse model under the direction of David C. Randall, Ph.D., in the Department of Physiology. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Physiology, Dr. Reeves worked as a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of M. Paul Murphy, Ph.D., in the Sanders Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, where she investigated the role of inflammation on the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related cerebrovascular pathology in a novel murine model of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Reeves is interested in metabolic and vascular phenotypes in aging, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease.


Marie Menke, MD

Marie Menke, M.D., is currently an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Magee Women’s Research Institute (MWRI) and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Menke received her Bachelor’s degree at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington DC (1994). She then obtained her Master’s degree in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene, Baltimore, MD (1998) followed by her Medical Doctorate at the Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA (2001). She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Virginia (2006), where she subsequently joined the faculty for 2 years (2006-2008). The then completed her\ subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (2008-2011). Her research focuses on the role of obesity and lipid metabolism in reproductive health.


Rachel Wills

Rachel Wills is currently a research technician in the laboratory of Dr. Kershaw at the University of Pittsburgh. Rachel obtained her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in biology with honors from Thiel College, Greenville, PA (2012). She previously worked in the laboratories of Drs. Andrew F. Stewart and Nathalie Fiaschi-Taesch in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh (2012-2013), where she studied the role of cell cycle regulators in beta cell proliferation.


John Dubé, PhD

John Dubé, Ph.D., is currently an Instructor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Dubé obtained his Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA (1995) and his Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (1997). He then completed his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology in the laboratory of Dr. Robert O’Doherty at the University of Pittsburgh (2005), where his dissertation work focused on the role of leptin in skeletal muscle insulin resistance using cells and mice as model systesm. He then then pursued more clinical/translational post-doctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Bret Goodpaster at the University of Pittsburgh (2005-2009) including his K01-funded work (2009-2012) focusing on the effects of lipid oversupply on oxidative capacity, lipid partitioning, and skeletal muscle insulin resistance in humans. His current research interests continue to focus on skeletal muscle metabolism.


Past Members

Name Kershaw Lab Position (Years) Post-Kershaw Lab (Years)
Linda AW Verhagen Master of Science Student (2004)
  • Masters of Science (Neuroscience), Free University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2004-2005)
  • Ph.D. (Neuroendocrinology), Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2005-2009)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of Jens C. Bruning, Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany (2009-present)
Noah P Gardner Research Assistant (2005-2007)
  • Masters of Science (Analytical Chemistry), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA (2007-2009)
  • Research Scientist, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Boston, MA, USA (2009-present)
Daniel S Brenner Research Assistant (2005-2007)
  • M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, Washington Univesrity, St. Louis, MO, USA (2008-present)
Petra C Kienesberger Ph.D. Student (2007-2008)
  • Ph.D. (Biochemistry), University of Graz, Graz, Austria (2009)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of Jason Dyck, Cardiovascular Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (2009-present)
  • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada
Ashish Kalra Postdoctoral Associate (2008)
  • Research Scientist, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA, USA (2008-present)
Jen Corbelli Clinical Resident Researcher (2008)
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh (2008-present)
Tahereh Ghorbani Clinical Resident Researcher (2008)
Sanjay Dixit Clinical Fellow Researcher (2009-2011)
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh (2011-present)
Cynthia Yazbeck Clinical Fellow Researcher (2011-2013)
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia (2013-present)
Sarah Rastatter Undergraduate Researcher (2011)
Kristin Criner Clinical Resident Researcher (2012)
  • Endocrine Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
Roula Zahr Clinical Resident Researcher (2012)
  • Endocrine Fellow, University of Iowa
Catherine Tang Clinical Resident Researcher (2013)
  • Clinical Resident, University of Pittsburgh, Shadyside Campus