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New Professors Within the Department of Internal Medicine

October 14, 2020
by Amy Anderson and Julie Parry

The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to announce the following professorial appointments and promotions from the FY2020 review cycle have been approved to date:

Herta Chao, MD, PhD (Medical Oncology)

Director, Medical Oncology Clinic, VACHS
Field: Prostate cancer, cognitive impact of cancer treatments
MD: University of Göttingen
PhD: Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry & University of Göttingen
Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital
Fellowship: Yale University, Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

When Chao learned from section chief Roy Herbst, MD, PhD, that she was promoted to professor, she “broke the COVID-19 precautions and hugged my friend and mentor, Dr. Michal Rose, in the next-door office and called my husband and my parents.” When asked what she is most proud of in her career so far, she said, “I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a clinician, an educator, and a researcher and at the same time to have a loving family with two children. This would have not been possible without the support of my colleagues, my mentors and my partner in crime, my husband Dr. Chiangshan Ray Li.”

Chao is a clinician at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) treating veterans with cancer. Her areas of research include the impact of androgen deprivation on cognitive function, as well as leading the oncology clinical trials program at the VA. Chao has a passion for providing veterans with the same access to cutting-edge oncology clinical trials as non-veterans. She is a professor in the section of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center.

Fun fact: “My dad wanted to honor the pastor who helped our family after immigrating to Germany and asked him to christen us with German names. The kind pastor who would now be 120 years old selected "Herta" for me—a very fashionable name in Germany in the last century.”

Lynn E. Fiellin, MD (General Internal Medicine)

Founding Director, play2PREVENT Lab at the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games
Fitkin General Medicine Firm Chief
Field: Addiction medicine, digital health, videogame intervention
MD: Yale University
Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital

“This promotion means everything to me professionally—it feels like a huge accomplishment and one that I have been working towards since I came to New Haven for medical school at Yale almost 30 years ago. It is recognition of having excelled and created something of value for the institution, for my colleagues, and for the community of New Haven. It is just an enormous (and well-earned) honor,” said Fiellin.

11 years ago, Fiellin created the play2PREVENT Lab and Yale Center for Health & Learning Games and is proud of what they’ve built. “I believe we have created a Lab and Center of excellence, conducting research of the highest quality, and engaging the New Haven community, its youth, its schools and youth programs, in a way that they help us build our video game interventions in order to allow us to have an impact on their health and well-being and that of adolescents around the country and world. It has also given me the opportunity to build a team, of almost entirely women, who are brilliant and talented and work tirelessly, and without whose efforts and good humor, the work would not happen and we would not enjoy the work as much as we do. I have had the opportunity to create something of value that has only grown in scope and impact over the past decade and that is something I am really proud of.”

Fun fact: “I came to Yale Medical School with a 2-year-old—who is now 31!”

Erica Herzog, MD, PhD (Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine)

Associate Dean, Medical Student Research Director
Yale Interstitial Lung Disease Center of Excellence
Field: Interstitial lung disease and pulmonary fibrosis
MD: University of North Carolina
PhD: Yale University
Residency: Mount Sinai Medical Center
Fellowship: Yale University

Upon finding out about her promotion to professor, Herzog thanked section chief Naftali Kaminski, MD, and went back to her shift caring for COVID patients in the MICU.

Herzog is a physician-scientist seeking new treatments for chronic lung diseases. Over the last two decades, she has studied mechanisms of fibrotic remodeling in the adult lung. Most recently she has identified a previously unrecognized nerve-lung connection as a fundamental process that may be targeted to improve respiratory health.

“The advancement of medicine and the alleviation of suffering in all of its forms are the guiding principles for my many roles at Yale,” said Herzog. Herzog has made an impact on the field of pulmonary fibrosis. Her lab has been credited with several seminal discoveries that have been verified and reproduced in laboratories around the world and are in various stages of clinical development.

She loves that in academia you can have the opportunity to ask and answer questions and follow science—wherever it may lead. “This promotion provides me with the opportunity to guide and support students, trainees and junior faculty the way my own role models, Jack Elias and Lynn Tanoue, inspired me.”

Fun Fact: “My favorite vegetable is candy corn.”

Markus Müschen, MD, PhD (Hematology)

Director, Center of Molecular and Cellular Oncology
Field: B-cell malignancies and immunology
MD: Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf
MD-PhD: Universität zu Köln
Residency: Universität zu Köln
Fellowship: Universität zu Köln, University of Chicago

Müschen joins YSM as the inaugural Director of the Center of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at Yale Cancer Center (YCC) and Smilow Cancer Hospital. He joins Yale from the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center where he was the Associate Director of Basic Science and Professor and Chair of the Department of Systems Biology.

He sees his new role of professor as a commitment to doing his best as a scientist and mentor, and considers himself fortunate to work alongside “the most talented colleagues” in his field. Müschen learned of his new role when he opened the offer letter standing next to his partner, and they embraced in a hug.

“I am most proud of the mentees in my lab who have not only made exciting discoveries but also went on to launch their own independent research groups, passing on the torch of science,” said Müschen. His favorite part of academia is “the freedom to focus all our energy on what we think are the most important and interesting questions in science”

Fun fact: “When I first came to the US in 2006, I fell in love with an olive-gold 1973 Cadillac Coupe Deville and became used to fixing parts of its V8 engine for some time.”

Jeanette Tetrault, MD (General Internal Medicine)

Program Director, Addiction Medicine Fellowship
Field: Addiction medicine education
MD: Boston University
Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital
Fellowship: Yale University

Immediately upon learning of her promotion*, Tetrault told her two young daughters the news and had a conversation with them about how hard work pays off before calling several family members.

“Without an extremely supportive family, I could have never enjoyed any degree of success in my career. This promotion means a great deal to me as a woman in medicine, as a clinician-educator and as a doctor whose sole mission is to improve the care of patients living with substance use disorder. Knowing that my work is valued is extremely gratifying,” said Tetrault.

Tetrault’s work focuses on care of patients with addiction and the medical co-morbidities associated with substance use, mainly HIV and Hepatitis C. As a physician she provides primary care, addiction treatment and buprenorphine/naloxone treatment.

“I am passionate about providing the next generation of clinicians with skills to identify, diagnose, prevent, de-stigmatize, and provide evidence-based treatment options for substance use and substance use disorder. And I am proud of working in diverse teams of dedicated professionals to create a culture at Yale and beyond that prioritizes addiction education.”

Fun fact: “The later part of my childhood and teenage years I lived on an exotic animal farm.”

*Pending Board of Permanent Officers approval.

The following two faculty members were also promoted, but not available for interview:

Stuart Seropian, MD (Hematology)
Acting Director, Stem Cell Transplantation
Field: Stem cell transplantation and immune effector cell therapy
MD: George Washington University
Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital
Fellowship: Yale University

Lisa Suter, MD (Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology)

Director, Quality Measurement Programs, CORE
Field: Rheumatology clinical performance measurement
MD: Yale University
Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital
Fellowship: Yale University

The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators and educators in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Amy Anderson on October 14, 2020