FACULTY SNAPSHOT: New Chair of Pathology Dr. Alan Schiller is national leader in medical effects of zero gravity

A love for the ocean, plant life and professional collaboration across Hawai`i’s medical community brought Alan L. Schiller, M.D., Professor and the new Chair of Pathology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) to Hawai`i.  It also doesn’t hurt that he is an internationally known expert in orthopedic and joint pathology, including the effects of space and weightlessness on bone structure.

Though new to living in Hawai`i, Dr. Schiller is perfectly suited to live in a place with a respect for the Ahapua`a – traditional land divisions recognizing inter-relationships from the mountains to the sea.  He grew up bodysurfing off the coast of Rockaway, New York, and loves ocean fishing.  He adores gardening, which leaves him inspecting with awe every tropical plant he sees on his way to and from work each day.  And then there is his drive to ho`olaulima, to work together.

“With the partnerships JABSOM has with Hawai`i’s community medical centers – our academic training partners — I see an exciting opportunity to work together to build a collegial, close-knit pathology community,” said Dr. Schiller. “There is a great need for pathology expertise in medical research of all types, and together we can create stronger links to tap into the knowledge and experience that exists throughout the islands. I would be delighted to help involve more of the islands’ pathology community in contributing to research.”

Dr. Schiller spent 47 years in the Naval Reserve, most recently as Captain, serving on the Space Science Board of the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications Advisory Committee of NASA, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

Listed among New York Magazine’s Best Doctors for a number of years. Dr. Schiller is also the Irene Heinz and John LaPorte Given Professor and Chief Emeritus of the Department of Pathology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and the author of more than 140 peer-reviewed papers, books, chapters and abstracts.  He has been a visiting professor all over the country and in many other countries and has led international seminars and conferences as well.  He is the recipient of multiple teaching awards.

Dr. Schiller earned his A.B. in 1963 from Bowdoin College and his M.D. in 1967 at Chicago Medical School.  Postdoctoral internships and residencies between 1967 and 1972 were held at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

In 1969, while still a pathology resident, Dr. Schiller joined the faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine.  In 1974, he joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Pathology; he was named Associate Professor in 1979.  Subsequent appointments include appointments at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University.

In 1988, Dr. Schiller joined the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine as Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology.

Dr. Schiller has served on editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the Bone Research Laboratory, the International Academy of Pathology, Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants, Modern Pathology, Annals of Diagnostic Pathology Teaching Experience, McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology, Encyclopedia Britannica and Skeletal Radiology.  Additionally he serves on the Board of Directors of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Dr. Schiller started serving in the United States Naval Reserve in 1964, while still a medical student.  In 1995, he earned the rank of Commander, and, in 2002, the rank of Captain.  Schiller also served as Specialty Leader in charge of all pathology Navy reservists.  In 2011, he retired from the Navy after 47 years due to a mandatory congressional age requirement—otherwise it is clear from his love for the service that he would still proudly serve in the Active Reserves to this day.

Story by Tina Shelton, Graphic by Arnold Kameda.

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