The Young Investigator Draft is the result of Uplifting Athletes’ ongoing commitment to cultivate resources that accelerate scientific advancements for rare disease treatments and potential cures while facilitating the next generation of rare disease researchers.
These Young Investigators will pursue rare disease research in one of five different areas: rare cancers, rare autoimmune and immunological disorders, rare blood disorders, rare genetic disorders and rare muscular and neurological disorders.
To learn more about the Young Investigator Draft and to purchase tickets click here.
Researcher: Dr. Shana McCormack
Category: Rare Genetics Disorders
Education: Dr. McCormack started her education at Harvard where she studied biochemistry. She obtained her MD from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did her internship and residency in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. McCormack did her fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston completed her education with a Master of Science in Translational Research (MTR) from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. McCormack is an attending physician and Scientific Director of the Neuroendocrine Center in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She also serves as a member of the clinical research team for Mitochondrial Medicine at CHOP.
Research: As a physician-scientist, Dr. McCormack investigates the neuroendocrine systems that regulate energy balance in humans. Her translational research program has two main areas of focus. First, she studies individuals with metabolic disorders with characterized by risk for diabetes mellitus, including primary mitochondrial diseases, Friedreich’s ataxia, and lipodystrophy. Second, she focuses on brain disorders associated with excess weight gain, including brain-tumor related hypothalamic obesity syndrome and pseudotumor cerebri syndrome/idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
In Their Words: “I have always enjoyed athletics, science and helping people. My mom is a nurse and my dad is an engineer. So it was fairly well laid out for me. I was an athlete in college and played sports in college. So exercise was always important to me. When you think about exercise and assess its value, exercise is very compelling the impact it can have. And now I’m working on projects that bring me back to that. There’s a lot of collaboration and we are finding a lot of cross-pollination and it’s very exciting because we are all looking for ways to help people. I feel very grateful to be sitting at this nexus of opportunity.” – Dr. Shana McCormack
Dr. Shana McCormack has a very busy life with a husband who is a surgeon-scientist, two kids under the age of 10 and her own diverse career as a physician-scientist.
A lot of time is dedicated to being Dr. McCormack and mom. The family loves to be outdoors and hike together. But anybody who’s ever been a parent to a 9 and 7-year-old can attest to what that crazy day-to-day schedule looks like.
Just talking to Dr. McCormack, though, you can tell she’s very passionate and inspired by the work she does. The scientific side she called “fascinating” but in the end she said the key is a strong desire to help people.
Her work recently has taken her down a path where exercise is part of a scientific equation and it has brought along a little nostalgia to her days at Harvard as a student-athlete.
Dr. McCormack held down position No. 7 on the Harvard 1997 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship winning women’s light rowing crew. And as she told the story of that team and winning it all, she noted most of her fellow crew members on that team are either physicians or scientists or have sports and athletics involved in what they do professionally.
“We all are busy and I certainly have enough to keep me busy on any given day,” Dr. McCormack said. “I love my kids and they are so much fun. I love they are both interested in science. But as I talk about rowing and winning a national championship I know it’s something I want to get back into. So this summer I’m going to get back into rowing.”