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August 22, 2018

University Hospitals Recruits Talented Geneticist to Join Harrington Discovery Institute

CLEVELAND, OH – University Hospitals has recruited Atul Chopra, MD, PhD, to join Harrington Discovery Institute—part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development—at University Hospitals.

Dr. Chopra will serve as Investigator, Harrington Discovery Institute and Associate Director of the Harrington Rare Disease Program, which seeks to advance breakthrough research into novel treatments for rare diseases. In the U.S., rare disease is defined as one that affects less than 200,000 people and very often has no meaningful treatment. Dr. Chopra also joins University Hospitals as a faculty member in the Department of Medicine and Department of Genetics.

“Dr. Chopra is a young physician-scientist of great promise, having already made important discoveries in the field of genetics,” said Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, President, Harrington Discovery Institute. “Dr. Chopra will help us expand our rare disease program here and abroad so that we can support discoveries with greatest potential for impact in the fight against rare diseases.”

“Dr. Chopra's studies in patients with a very rare metabolic disorder led to the discovery of a new hormone that controls appetite and body weight,” said Mukesh K. Jain, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, Harrington Discovery Institute and Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospitals. “His laboratory is leveraging this exciting insight to develop new therapeutics that will help combat obesity and certain forms of diabetes.”

Dr. Chopra joins University Hospitals from Baylor College of Medicine where he was the Caroline Wiess Law Scholar and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology. He also was an attending physician at Texas Children’s Hospital.

He completed his MD at MIMER Medical College in India in 2003 and later came to Baylor where he earned his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and completed his residency in Medical Genetics.

Dr. Chopra’s laboratory focuses on energy homeostasis and metabolic disease. His lab is recognized for the discovery of the hormone named asprosin that regulates metabolic health. His team is currently developing therapeutics that can block asprosin as a novel treatment for obesity. Early animal studies are very promising and demonstrate that targeting asprosin can reverse insulin resistance and weight gain. In addition, Dr. Chopra’s laboratory will continue to use human genetics to identify new targets and pathways in human disease with unmet need.

About University Hospitals

Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 40 outpatient health centers and 200 physician offices in 15 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located on a 35-acre campus in Cleveland’s University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The main campus also includes University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and urology. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with 26,000 employees. UH’s vision is “Advancing the science of health and the art of compassion,” and its mission: “To Heal. To Teach. To Discover.” Follow UH on Facebook @UniversityHospitals and Twitter @UHhospitals.

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Harrington Discovery Institute

The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH—part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development—aims to advance medicine and society by enabling our nation’s most inventive scientists to turn their discoveries into medicines that improve human health. The institute was created in 2012 with a $50 million founding gift from the Harrington family and instantiates the commitment they share with University Hospitals to a Vision for a ‘Better World’.

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development (The Harrington Project), founded in 2012 by the Harrington Family and University Hospitals of Cleveland, is a $300 million national initiative built to bridge the translational valley of death. It includes the Harrington Discovery Institute and BioMotiv, a for-profit, mission-aligned drug development company that accelerates early discovery into pharma pipelines.

About the Scholar

Atul Chopra


Atul Chopra, MD, PhD

University Hospitals - Cleveland
Harrington Investigators

More about Atul Chopra

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