Research Faculty - Cathy Mendelsohn, Ph.D.
Dr. Mendelsohn obtained a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, then did her Ph.D. work at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in the lab of Dr. Vincent Racaniello, where she isolated the gene encoding the human receptor for poliovirus, earning the Richard Parker Memorial Award for her graduate studies.
She did her post-doctoral work in Pierre Chambon's lab in Strasbourg, France and in Jane Dodd's lab at Columbia University where she began studies looking at the role of vitamin A (retinoic acid) in vertebrate development, work that she has continued at Columbia as a faculty member. Dr. Mendelsohn was promoted to an associate professor with tenure in 2006.
Her current studies are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of urogenital tract birth defects. Her studies have identified the receptor tyrosine kinase Ret, as a major target of retinoic acid signaling in the urinary tract. Ret is required for kidney and ureter differentiation and Ret mutations in humans lead to Hischsprung's disease and urinary tract abnormalities.
Dr. Mendelsohn's work has led to a better understanding of the normal mechanism of urinary tract formation and the role of Ret and other important signaling pathways in this process.