Olujimi A. Ajijola, MD, PhD & Rajat Singh, MD Elected to The American Society for Clinical Investigation
The department of medicine (DoM) is pleased to announce that Olujimi A. Ajijola, MD, PhD and Rajat Singh, MD have been elected to The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). Comprised of over 3,000 physician-scientists from all medical specialties, the ASCI is a medical honor society dedicated to the advancement of research that extends our understanding of diseases, improves treatment, and whose members are committed to mentoring future generations of physician-scientists. Election to the ASCI is one of the highest honors afforded to mid-career physician scientists in the United States. Members of the ASCI have subsequently been elected to membership of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Ajijola serves as the associate director of the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center & Electrophysiology Programs. He directs the Neurocardiology Research Program at UCLA and co-directs the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program. He is an associate professor of medicine-cardiology.
His laboratory studies the peripheral neural circuits that regulate the heart, utilizing cutting edge electrophysiologic, genetic, optical, and computational tools to examine how myocardial infarction structurally and functionally perturbs the sympathetic nervous system, and how this dysregulation drives arrhythmogenesis and sudden cardiac death risk. Clinically, he is an interventional cardiac electrophysiologist with expertise in a broad range of heart rhythm disorders.
Dr. Ajijola received his BA with distinction from the University of Virginia, his MD from Duke University, and his PhD in molecular, cellular, and integrative physiology from UCLA as part of the STAR Program. His clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology/cardiac electrophysiology were performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital and at UCLA, respectively. He is also an alumnus of the National Academies’ New Voices Program, a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2), the Jeremiah Stamler Young Investigator Award, and the Young Physician Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is a current sitting member of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Black Men and Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. He is a nationally recognized advocate for medical and physician-scientist training, recently receiving the Chan Zuckerberg Science Diversity Leadership Award for these efforts.
Dr. Singh obtained his MB, BS degree from the Medical College of the University of Calcutta in 2000, and his MD from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education, Chandigarh, India in 2004. He joined the lab of Dr. Mark Czaja at the Marion Bessin Liver Research Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to pursue postdoctoral training in basic liver research. During his postdoctoral research, in collaboration with Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo, Dr. Singh discovered the process of lipophagy, which is a completely new way cells degrade fat stores. After a successful postdoctoral training with first-author papers in high impact journals such as Nature, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Hepatology, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and supported by a K award, Dr. Singh started his own lab at Albert Einstein in 2010. Since then, his lab has demonstrated novel roles of autophagy in regulation of food intake (Cell Metabolism2011 and EMBO Reports 2012), energy metabolism (Cell Metabolism 2016), cell signaling (Nature Communications2013), and the circadian clock (Cell Metabolism 2018).
The Singh Lab has also developed a novel feeding intervention that protects against fatty liver and type II diabetes in various mouse models of obesity and aging without the need to cut caloric intake (Cell Metabolism 2017). The Singh Lab intends to initiate a human study at UCLA testing the impact of two meals a day on liver and systemic metabolism. The Singh Lab is funded by three R01 grants, a P01, and an R56 as well as training grants to his students, including an F31 fellowship. Current projects in the Singh Lab investigate novel integrative mechanisms regulating liver and systemic metabolism in models of aging and obesity. Rajat is a standing member of the Cellular Mechanisms in Aging and Development (CMAD) study section at the NIH, and his research interests include autophagy, liver lipid metabolism, mTOR signaling and aging.
Each year, the ASCI evaluates hundreds of nominations for membership. Their bylaws limit recommendation for membership to 100 candidates per year, who are selected based on outstanding scholarly achievement. Drs. Ajijola and Singh join 50 ASCI members from the DGSOM, the majority of whom are in the DOM. Please join us in congratulating Drs. Ajijola and Singh on this major milestone in the physician-scientist career path.