Andrew Shulman is a pediatrician, pediatric rheumatology fellow, molecular biologist, and writer. He grew up in an education-worshiping, medicine-revering (but non-medical) family in education-obsessed suburban Philadelphia. In high school, he was a highly ranked regional tennis player (but not Division I material), an Eagle Scout, and a two-time state champion and near-national champion at Extemporaneous Speech (unfortunately, Shulman will probably never again be as good at something). In college at Harvard, Shulman struggled through the pre-med-for-scientists curriculum, selecting morning classes so that he could spend the afternoons studying “transcription factors” in the lab of Marc Montminy, then at the Joslin Diabetes Center. This work included a number of dead-end projects but also experiments that contributed to two papers and a well-received senior thesis. He also developed wide interests including Russian literature, classical music, non-Varsity tennis, leading backpacking trips, having an amazing group of friends and drinking beer with them. A key life experience was a scuffle with infectious mononucleosis during his sophomore year that landed him back in his hometown hospital, consumed 40 lbs. of flesh, and culminated in airway compromise and an emergency tonsillectomy. Seduced by Ross Perot’s sales pitch and a parade of Nobel laureates, he joined the MD/PhD program at UT Southwestern in Dallas in 1999.
After socializing his way through two years of medical school and enduring short bursts of low back pain-inducing study, Shulman joined David Mangelsdorf’s lab in the HHMI as a PhD student in the summer of ’01. Shulman applied Rama Ranganathan’s computational/statistical biophysics to study the “phantom ligand effect,” a mysterious example of the phenomenon of allostery in special “transcription factors” called “nuclear receptors.” After a few years of refining the work and a rejection, a first-author paper was published in Cell and Shulman defended his PhD in the spring of ’04. Rejoining medical school, Shulman soldiered through clinical rotations at Parkland and the Dallas VA. At Children’s Medical Center, he fortuitously met Lynn Punaro over the phone book-sized chart of a patient with Systemic-onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Shulman decided to train in her field of Pediatric Rheumatology.
Lured by a larger pool of available Jewish girls and nostalgia for the city, Shulman returned to Boston for the Children’s Hospital Boston/BU pediatrics residency (known as the Boston Combined Residency Program). Two years as a resident at Children’s and Boston Medical Center gave Shulman all of the residency that he could handle. As a Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston, Shulman had the opportunity to be humbled by some of the hospital’s most mysterious cases while being apprenticed to several of its most brilliant clinicians, particularly Rob Sundel. Shulman returned to basic science in the summer of ’09 as a post-doc in the lab of Laurie Glimcher where he investigated the role of cellular stress response pathways in inflammation. An opportunity to do translational research in Pediatric Rheumatology with his former mentor brought Shulman back to Dallas in the summer of ’10 where he is completing his fellowship. Shulman and Robin Wish, a former pro-snowboarder now J.D. and sports sponsorship consultant, were married in Dallas’ design district in January. Shulman sees children with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions in the clinic and the hospital, does experiments, reads, runs, cooks, dreams of becoming a biathelete/surfer/novelist and writes “Left on Longwood”.