Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

From his days at Lafayette in the chemistry lab, through medical school and his residency, through his job today as professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Maryland, a love of science has driven Alan Shuldiner ’79.

“Through my research, I hope to make discoveries that one day will lead to new treatments and cures for diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” says Shuldiner, who recently received UMD’s Founder’s Day Researcher of the Year Award.

His research has taken Shuldiner into an unusual “lab” – the Amish community in Lancaster, Pa. He heads a clinical research program there that does state-of-the-art genetics and genomics research aimed at finding susceptibility genes for common diseases. He has had several important discoveries in this work.

Shuldiner also finds time to teach and mentor medical students and to see patients. He is particularly gratified to help others launch their careers, including several Lafayette students who have come through his lab for internships. The diversity of his career speaks of the long hours he puts into his work. This hard work began during Shuldiner’s years at Lafayette. Two professors inspired him to a high level of dedication, each leading by example.

“Although I graduated 25 years ago, I can remember like yesterday how valuable the relationships were with my professors at Lafayette,” he says. “Their dedication, accessibility, and the small class sizes were key. Dr. Robert Cook introduced me to chemistry and research. He even brought me to Dartmouth College with him one summer. Robert Newland was instrumental in turning me on to science and research. Largely due to his mentorship I worked tirelessly in the chemistry lab every afternoon and evening.”

Shuldiner believes that Lafayette excelled academically and he enjoyed the sense of community and camaraderie on campus.

“My training in chemistry and science at Lafayette was second to none. When I got to Harvard, I found that I was as well or better prepared than most of my classmates. Lafayette also taught me to think analytically and to problem solve. This has been an immense asset. I remember working really hard, but at the same time enjoying myself due to the intimate nature of the campus,” he says.

Shuldiner aims to enroll all 30,000 Amish in Lancaster in his study and is honing in ever closer to the gene that causes Type 2 diabetes. His hope is to find a test that will identify those who will develop diabetes before the disease takes hold, so that more effective medication can be developed for prevention and treatment.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles