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Faculty Associates

The Center’s Faculty Associates are involved in Center projects and activities. They come from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, economics, law, and medicine.

Peter Bearman, PhD
Peter Bearman is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theories and Empirics (INCITE), the Cole Professor of Social Science, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program. A recipient of the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2007, Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic.
A specialist in network analysis, he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. He has also conducted research in historical sociology, including Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England, 1540-1640 (Rutgers, 1993). He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005).
He is an editor of the Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2009) and edits (with Peter Hedstrom) a series on analytical sociology at Princeton.

Harold Edgar, L.L.B
A.B., Harvard, 1964; LL.B., Columbia, 1967. Writing and research editor, Columbia Law Review. Edgar served as a law clerk to Harold Leventhal, Circuit Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1968, and has taught in diverse areas, including constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, and law and science. He served in 1968-70 with the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, participating in numerous test cases in the welfare field. Additionally he is a fellow of the Hastings Center, a group that studies the social implications of innovation in biomedical technology. He served as the reporter for the UNESCO International Committee on Bioethics, which drafted the International Declaration on Human Rights and the Human Genome, subsequently adopted by UNESCO and approved by the United Nations. Principal current interests are law and technology and law and medicine; has published in both fields.

Irwin Garfinkel, PhD
Irwin Garfinkel is the Mitchell I. Ginsberg Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems at the Columbia University School of Social Work and co-founding director of the Columbia Population Research Center. He was the director of the Institute for Research on Poverty (1975-1980) and the School of Social Work (1982-1984) at the University of Wisconsin. Between 1980 and 1990, he was the principal investigator of the Wisconsin child support study. A social worker and an economist by training, he has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific articles and sixteen books and edited volumes on poverty, income transfers, program evaluation, single parent families and child support, and the welfare state. His research on child support and welfare influenced legislation in Wisconsin and other American states, the US Congress, Great Britain, Australia, and Sweden. He is currently the co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. His most recent book is Wealth and Welfare States: Is America Laggard or Leader?

Henry Ginsberg, MD
Dr. Ginsberg is interested in the molecular and cellular regulation hypertriglyceridemia, particularly in patients and animal models of insulin resistance and diabetes. He conducts research related to the regulation of the levels and metabolism of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, the lipoproteins carrying triglycerides and the bulk of cholesterol in blood. These include the atherogenic very low density and low density lipoproteins. Dr. Ginsberg has a particular emphasis on the pathophysiology of hypertriglyceridemia and the dyslipidemia associated with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus. In transgenic mice, he had developed a model of insulin resistance and dylipidemia with many characteristics of the human disorder. This model, as well as others now in use in the lab, allows the group to dissect the important components of substrate availability and genetic control that lead to hypertriglyceridemia. Dr. Ginsberg’s group makes and studies transgenic mice, conducting whole body, cellular, and molecular experiments.

In clinical studies, Dr. Ginsberg is investigating postprandial hyperlipidemia as a risk factor in patients with diabetes. He is also part of a group at Columbia that will be studying the role of glycemic, lipid and blood pressure control in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes. The latter, named the ACCORD trial, is a 10-year trial with 10,000 patients at 6 sites across the United States. Dr. Ginsberg also has a long record of research into the effects of diet on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in humans, and has conducted numerous controlled feeding studies in humans.

Deborah Hasin, PhD
Dr. Hasin is a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Maria Karayiorgou, MD
Maria Karayiorgou, M.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry (in Genetics & Physiology) and Acting Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. Her intellectual interest in Psychiatry led her to academic research in Psychiatric Genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Fred Hutchinson Center and the Rockefeller University. She came to Columbia University as a Professor in 2006.

Michio Hirano, MD
Dr. Hirano received his B.A. from Harvard College and M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), he did his neurology residency training and a post-doctoral fellowship in neuromuscular genetics under Drs. Salvatore DiMauro and Eric Schon.

Currently, Dr. Hirano serves as Co-Director of the CUMC Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic where he sees patients with myopathies and other neuromuscular disorders. He is Director of the H. Houston Merritt Center for Muscular Dystrophy and Related Diseases. Dr. Hirano is studying mitochondrial disorders, including mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) and CoQ10 deficiencies. He is also studying myopathies caused by mtuations in the FHL1 gene.

He is participating in the clinical trial of idebenone for MELAS patients. Together with Co-Principal Investigators, Drs. Salvatore DiMauro and J.L.P (Seamus) Thompson, Dr. Hirano is co-directing the North American Mitochondrial Disease Consortium (NAMDC). Dr. Hirano serves on the NIH Therapeutic Approaches to Genetic Diseases (TAG) study section, Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Scientific Advisory Board of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Richard Mayeux, MD
Dr. Mayeux is the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Epidemiology, and the Director of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University, a center devoted to the epidemiologic investigation of neurological diseases. He is also the Co-Director of The Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain.

Dr. Mayeux has been the author of over 300 papers, chapters and books dealing with various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases of the aging brain. He has been the Robert Aird Visiting Professor at the University of California at San Francisco, the Emanuel Goldberg Visiting Professor at the University of Rochester and the J.L. Silversides Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto. He was the recipient of the Columbia University Dean’s Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, and received the Rita Hayworth Award from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Mayeux is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the New York Academy of Science, a member of the American Neurological Association, and the Association of American Physicians. He is also a member of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease, Society for Epidemiologic Research and Society for Neuroscience. He has served as a member of the Aging Review and the Epidemiology of Chronic Disorders Committees for the National Institutes of Health and the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2000, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and in 2007 he was the recipient of the Potamkin Award for research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders from the American Academy of Neurology.

Eleanor Murphy, PhD
Eleanor Murphy, PhD, is a Research Scientist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry – Division of Epidemiology at the New York Psychiatric Institute. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, and completed postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology (PET) at the Mailman School of Public Health. Her research interests center on genetic and environmental risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders, and mental health disparities among minority groups. Some of Dr. Murphy’s recent research and published studies have focused on representation, recruitment and retention of racial/ethnic minorities in biomedical research and clinical trials for treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Alondra Nelson, PhD
Alondra Nelson is professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, she writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine and inequality. These themes are taken up in her most recent book, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, winner of four professional prizes, including the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Race, Class and Gender section of the American Sociological Association.

She is also an editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race,and History, Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life, and “Afrofuturism,” a special issue of Social Text.

Bhaven Sampat , PhD
Bhaven Sampat, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. He also holds a courtesy affiliation with Columbia Law School and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and has taught in SIPA’s MPA and MIA programs, and in the Sustainable Development PhD program at the Earth Institute.

An economist by training, Sampat is centrally interested in issues at the intersection of health policy and innovation policy. His current work examines the causes and consequences of generic firms’ challenges to pharmaceutical patents in the U.S., the impact of pharmaceutical patent laws on innovation and access to medicines in the developing countries, the political economy of the National Institutes of Health, and the returns to publicly funded medical research. Dr. Sampat has also written extensively on the effects of university patenting and the Bayh-Dole Act on academic medicine, and on patent quality issues in the U.S., and continues to be actively involved in policy debates related to these issues. He has published broadly in economics, law, business, health policy, medical and life science journals.
Dr. Sampat received his BA, MA, M.Phil., and PhD in economics from Columbia. He was previously an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, where he twice won the “Faculty Member of the Year” teaching award. From 2003 to 2005 he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan.

Jacinda Sampson, MD, PhD
As Clinical Director of the multidisciplinary Neurogenetics Program, Dr. Sampson cares for patients and families with a variety of disorders including hereditary ataxias, hereditary spastic paraparesis, familial chorea (including McLeod’s neuroacanthocytosis), oculodentodigital dysplasia, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, CADASIL and other familial early onset stroke, as well as other familial neurological disorders. She offers transitional care for adults with neurogenetic disorders diagnosed in childhood. She also offers testing* and care for adult family members at risk for neurogenetic disorders diagnosed in a pediatric family member.

In research, Dr. Sampson is currently focused on discovering the genetic basis of familial restless legs syndrome (Willis-Ekbom disease). She is interested in using exome and genome sequencing to identify new genes associated with neurogenetic disorders, in either single or phenotypically similar families. One such project, in progress, is identifying a genetic cause of cerebroretinovasculopathy.

Neil Shneider, MD, PhD
Dr. Neil Shneider is a physician-scientist with expertise in neuromuscular development and disease. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of the MD-PhD program of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and he was Chief Resident of the Harvard Longwood Neurology Training Program.

Dr. Shneider completed his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Axel and his postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Jessell. After several years in the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Shneider returned to Columbia University as Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Neuromuscular Division. He is a member of the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease and of the H. Houston Merritt Clinical Research Center. His research efforts focus on the molecular development of sensorimotor neural circuits and mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dr. Shneider has clinical expertise in the diagnosis and care of patients with ALS and related motor neuron diseases.

Chunhua Weng, PhD
Dr. Weng’s research goal is to design enabling technologies for clinician scientists and to improve the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of clinical and translational research. Her research addresses the socio-technical issues around sharing and reusing fragmented research sources, repurposing clinical data for clinical research, facilitating interdisciplinary team science, and streamlining research workflows in busy clinical care settings.

Myrna Weissman, PhD
Dr. Weissman is a Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the School of Public Health at Columbia University and Chief of the Department in Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric institute.

1974 received a Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University. Her current research is on epidemiology, detection, treatment; and the genetics of affective and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Weissman has been a consultant to many private and public agencies, including the World Health Organization, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science. She has been the author or a co-author of over 550 scientific articles and chapters, and 11 books, including Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression, Basic Books, New York, 1984, with her late husband, Gerald L. Klerman, Bruce J. Rounsaville, and Eve S. Chevron; A Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Basic Books, New York, 2000 with Gerald L. Klerman and John Markowitz; and Treatment of Depression: Bridging the 21st Century, API Press, 2001 and Weissman, a Clinician’s Quick Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Oxford University Press, New York, NY: 2007.