Thursday, November 15, 2012Leading neurobiologist Michael Aschner, Ph.D., known for his research on the effect of heavy metals on the brain, will join the faculty of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Dr. Aschner will be named professor of molecular pharmacology and of pediatrics, and director of a new Einstein center of toxicology.
"Michael Aschner is an outstanding scientist who will bring an important new dimension to Einstein’s research portfolio," said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein. "His work on how heavy metals affect brain development and function has broad implications, ranging from elucidating basic questions regarding brain cell injury to practical issues related to environmental pollutants."
Dr. Aschner’s research interests are in the neurobiology and physiology of astrocytes, specialized cells of the central nervous system, and the mechanisms of injury to the central nervous system. He has been particularly interested in metal uptake and distribution in the brain, devoting the last 25 years of his research to investigating the transport of methylmercury, manganese and uranium across the capillaries composing the blood–brain barrier, as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotoxicity. A principal investigator on multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Aschner also studies the consequences of manganese deposition in the brains of newborns.
He has served on numerous national and international toxicology panels, including those for the Institute of Medicine, Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has also chaired an NIH study section and authored approximately 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters in the area of neurotoxicology.
Dr. Aschner comes to Einstein from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he holds an endowed professorship of pediatrics and pharmacology, is director of the division of clinical pharmacology and pediatric toxicology, director of the center for molecular toxicology, and director of the training program in environmental toxicology.
Dr. Aschner, who is expected to arrive at Einstein in the fall of 2013, will join his wife Judy Aschner, M.D., who was recently named professor and chair of pediatrics at Einstein and physician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Both of their appointments emphasize the increasing focus on translational research at Einstein and Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for the College of Medicine, and the leveraging of assets at both institutions to advance human health.