Satdarshan (Paul) Singh Monga, MD

Trailblazing Men

ASIP Highlights Session:
I Am An ASIP Member and This Is My Science

  • Experimental Biology 2019 – Orlando FL

Satdarshan (Paul) Singh Monga, MD

Professor of Pathology and Medicine
Endowed Chair for Experimental Pathology
Vice Chair and Chief of the Division of Experimental Pathology
Assistant Dean for the Medical Scientist Training Program, Director Pittsburgh Liver Research Center
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh PA

I am an MD by training and came to the United States in 1996. One of the major reasons of coming the US was the existence of infrastructure for basic research. In India, there was a major disconnect between the practice of medicine and basic research. After two postdoctoral fellowships, one in the laboratory of Dr. Lopa Mishra at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC and another at the University of Pittsburgh, in the lab of Dr. George Michalopoulos, I was recruited at the position of a non-tenure entry level, junior faculty in 2001 at the University of Pittsburgh, in the department of Pathology in 2001. I continued to expand on my postdoctoral research, which was generously allowed by Dr. Michalopoulos, with the modest startup package I was offered at the time. This enable me to build by own research program with a focus on the Wnt signaling pathway in liver pathobiology, marrying the training of both my postdocs – liver development and regeneration, and further expanding it to liver cancer as well. I was fortunate to obtaining an R01 as well as an American Cancer Society Research grant in 2 years and in 2003 was promoted to an Assistant professor on tenure stream. I gradually expanded my research program although continued my focus on Wnt signaling and at the same time started getting involved with teaching, directing a graduate class on stem cells. At the same time, I was making strides in service nationally through my association with the ASIP. I became a trainee member of the society in 1999, when I joined Dr. Michalopoulos’ lab in 1999 and have been a member since and have never missed an annual ASIP meeting at EB conferences. ASIP allowed me an intimate networking environment, helped build my confidence through participation on various committees and at the same time gave me a platform for national visibility and service. I would like to emphasize the concept of loyalty and consistency. I have been loyal to my institution, department, society and research topic, and likewise remained consistent in my research direction. I still work on the Wnt pathway in liver pathobiology, although models have changed, resolution and granularity of the research program has changed, and the focus is now on translation while still working on the fundamental mechanisms. I am truly excited for the program I have been able to build and are now able to really focus on how we can modulate pathways like the Wnt signaling to stimulate regeneration in acute or chronic liver diseases and in the setting of liver transplantation on one hand, and curb the signaling in a subset of liver tumors, as part of personalized therapy. Likewise, I have consistently taught graduate courses and still continue to direct a course on stem cells and run a T32 program in regenerative medicine. It has been a blessing to be associated with ASIP as it has been a key platform for me to be able to disseminate my research through presentations as part of the annual meeting as well as through its signature journal, the American Journal of Pathology. Leading by examples, I ensure that my trainees, both postdocs as well as graduate students, are members of ASIP and submit abstracts for the annual conference. Many of these trainees, through their commitment and passion, have served, or continue to serve on various committees like membership, publication and career development committees. ASIP is indeed a platform to gain national recognition and prove your leadership abilities, all key to your successful career trajectory.