Dani Dumitriu, MD, PhD, is a Pediatrician, Neuroscientist and Environmental Health Scientist. She joined Columbia Univerisity as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (in Psychiatry) in November 2018. She dedicates 80% of her time to basic science research into the neurobiological basis of resilience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and 20% time to caring for newborns in the Well-Baby Nursery.
Dr. Dumitriu completed all her training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Following her graduation from the MD/PhD program in 2013, she matched into the Pediatrics residency. She then successfully negotiated a custom-tailored individualized residency program with significant protected research time. This allowed her to maintain an active research commitment, while completing a residency in General Pediatrics and a fellowship in Pediatric Environmental Health over a five-year period. This ambitious and unconventional path was born out of a desire to escape the growing physician-scientist “leaky pipeline,” which has resulted in fewer and fewer MD/PhD graduates returning to bench science following prolonged clinical focus during residency. Taking full advantage of the flexibility of this custom program, Dr. Dumitriu began building her research program and was awarded her first R01 from NIMH while still in clinical training. In addition to her busy research and clinical schedules, Dr. Dumitriu is passionate about developing innovative avenues for the retention of physician-scientists in basic research.
In the lab, Dr. Dumitriu conducts NIH-funded research on the functional and structural connectivity patterns that differ in stress-susceptible versus stress-resilient mice. In collaborative work with her fellowship mentor, Dr. Manish Arora at Mount Sinai, she investigates pre- and post-natal patterns of inflammation associated with future risk of autism using naturally shed human teeth, which during development trap various compounds akin to developing tree rings. Additionally, she is currently working with an inter-disciplinary team of collaborators to spearhead an epidemiological-level study of wild rat stress and resilience in New York City.