Dr. Miriam Merad

Dr. Miriam Merad

Mt. Sinai immunologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences
May 22, 2020
Dr. Miriam Merad
New York, NY--Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, a pioneering immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an honor that recognizes her transformational contributions to the fields of myeloid cell biology and innate immunity. Dr. Merad, the Mount Sinai Professor in Cancer Immunology and Director of the Precision Immunology Institute, joins an elite group of international scientists with membership in the NAS.

In a landmark study published in Science in 2010, Dr. Merad showed that macrophages—large white blood cells—arise from embryonic precursors that take residence in tissues prior to life where they play a distinct role in organ physiology and pathophysiology. This study, cited several thousand times, has had important clinical implications. Dr. Merad and her team also established the contribution of this macrophage lineage to cancer progression and response to treatment, and to inflammatory bowel disease, in studies published in prominent journals such as Science, Cell, and Nature.

In addition to her work on macrophages, Dr. Merad is known for her work on dendritic cells, a group of cells that control adaptive immunity. She identified a new subset of dendritic cells, which is now considered a key target of antiviral and antitumor immunity. In a May 2020 study in Nature, she and her team revealed novel therapeutic targets to enhance dendritic cell-mediated antitumor immunity.

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"I am thrilled to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and proud to represent Mount Sinai in immunology," says Dr. Merad, who joined Mount Sinai's faculty in 2004. She says her parents—both scientific and medical professionals who were educated in France and practiced in Algeria—raised her "to respect the transformational power of science."

She adds that Mount Sinai helped foster her passion by giving her the freedom to grow and pursue her work. "Mount Sinai has a culture that empowers junior faculty. I tell junior scientists, 'If you want to be transformative and innovate early in your career, this is the place to be,'" she says.

Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and President for Academic Affairs, Mount Sinai Health System, says, "Dr. Merad's discoveries have helped changed the course of medical treatments and her work continues to shed light on the way the human immune system responds to disease."

In May, after receiving word of her election to the NAS, Dr. Merad shared the news with all of the former and current postdoctoral fellows in her lab. Many of her original fellows, who continue to collaborate with her on research, are now established investigators in institutions that include Stanford University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of Toronto, the University of Zurich, and Charité in Berlin. "I told them that this election recognizes the many hours they spent in my laboratory and I thanked them for everything we have done together," she says.

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