Steve Goldstein appointed chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago

Steve Goldstein appointed chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago

May 26, 2004

Steve A. N. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., a leading authority on the molecular mechanisms underlying normal cardiac function and sudden life-threatening diseases of the heart, has been appointed professor and chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Chicago, effective June 15, 2004. Goldstein, 47, is currently professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular physiology, chief of the section of developmental biology and biophysics, and a member of the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at Yale University.

Goldstein's appointment comes at a pivotal time in the history of pediatrics at the University. He will lead the department into its new home, the Comer Children's Hospital, in December, and he will oversee a planned expansion of the pediatric clinical enterprise.

In addition, Goldstein, whose basic research program in ion-channel signaling is internationally recognized, will create a new research institute dedicated to the field of molecular pediatrics and serve as the new institute's first director. About 15 associates from his Yale laboratory will come with him to Chicago.

"Steve Goldstein is a superb scientist and a skilled clinician with extraordinary expertise in the molecular underpinnings of cardiovascular disorders," said James Madara, M.D., Dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division and Vice President for the Medical Center at the University of Chicago. "We are excited about the prospect of combining his talents in basic science and bench-to-bedside research with the established clinical strengths of our pediatric faculty, especially our programs in cardiology and cardiac surgery."

"The University of Chicago is an international leader in child health," said Goldstein. "I could not be more enthusiastic about joining this institution, at this time, the beginning of the post-genomic age.

Medicine is in the midst of a "biomedical revolution," he added. "The recent accounting of all human genes is allowing us to understand how genes give health, why they are influenced by the environment, and when they render us resistant or susceptible to disease. This is exactly the knowledge we need to diagnose, treat, and prevent childhood disease -- to offer all our children optimal health care and improved well-being."

Goldstein received his joint B.A./M.A. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University in 1978, followed by an M.D./Ph.D. from Harvard in 1986. He did his pediatric internship, residency and a clinical fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with biochemist Christopher Miller at Brandeis.

He joined the departments of pediatrics and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale in 1993 as assistant professor, followed by promotions to associate professor (1996), section chief of developmental biology and biophysics (1997), associate professor with tenure (1999) and full professor (2001).

A member of the Biophysical Society, the Society of General Physiologists, and the Society for Pediatric Research, and coordinating editor of the Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics, Goldstein has received numerous honors and awards. He received the R. M. Bailer Science Award, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis in 1978.

In 1980 Harvard awarded him the Soma Weiss Lectureship. He received a Clinical Investigator Development Award from the National Institutes of Health in 1992, a New Investigator Award from the Donaghue Foundation in 1994, and the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research in 2001.

Goldstein's research focuses on understanding the role of ion channels in normal physiology and in diseases of the heart, skeletal muscle, kidney, and central nervous system. Because ion channels control the electrical activity of nerves and muscles, including cardiac muscle, their malfunction can cause dangerous heart rhythms and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In some children, inherited mutations in ion channels cause disease directly; in others, gene variations lead to an unstable situation in which drug therapy, for example, can trigger a disorder.

"Remarkably," Goldstein notes, "many of our most fundamental questions about ion channels remain unanswered. For example, how do drugs act on ion channels to yield beneficial outcomes? Why do some patients suffer unwanted side effects? Answers to these questions can help us develop more potent and safer medications."

His research has begun to find answers for some of those fundamental questions and to provide better treatments for children with ion channel defects. For that reason, Goldstein's team, including collaborators at other hospitals, cares for the majority of Connecticut children with abnormal ECG findings, syncope, palpitations, or heart related seizures. All cases of SIDS in the state are referred to his laboratory for genetic study.

He also studies novel classes of ion channel proteins and accessory molecules that alter ion channel function in health and disease, as well as the life cycle of bacteria and fungi as a guide to finding new targets for anti-microbial agents.

Goldstein succeeds Herbert T. Abelson, M.D., as chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Abelson, 63, came to Chicago in 1995. He spearheaded the effort to design and construct the new children's hospital, built the pediatric residency program into one of the most respected training programs in the country, and recruited nationally renowned physician-scientists to develop leading clinical and research programs in multiple pediatric specialty areas.