Dr. Nadeen Chahine Receives Tenure from Columbia University

Nadeen O. Chahine, PhD

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery is proud to announce that Nadeen O. Chahine, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering (in Orthopedic Surgery), has received tenure from Columbia University.

“I’m beyond delighted to receive the news about my tenure approval. It’s honestly a dream come true to be working alongside the highly accomplished Orthopedic Surgery faculty and the talented community of colleagues and collaborators in musculoskeletal research throughout Columbia University,” said Dr. Chahine. “I couldn’t have done this without the amazing trainees in my lab and the support of my wonderful husband and our extended families.”

Dr. Chahine joined the Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in May of 2017 after serving as an Assistant Professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. In August of 2019 she was named Associate Director of the Carroll Laboratories in recognition of her leadership and contributions to the department’s research mission.

The Chahine Lab focuses on degeneration and regeneration of musculoskeletal soft tissues, primarily the intervertebral disc in the spine. Using tools of bioengineering, the team led by Dr. Chahine studies the biomechanics and mechanobiology of cells and tissues, with emphasis on degradation processes and inflammation. The lab frequently collaborates with physicians in the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, to develop biomarkers of intervertebral disc disorders and back pain. This work helped to identify dysfunction in cell biomechanics and cell contractility with inflammation, which alters the disc cell’s ability to sense load, a key function of mechanosensitive cells in the musculoskeletal system. Dr. Chahine’s lab also discovered and demonstrated approaches to protect the disc from the deleterious effects of chronic inflammation by modulating elements of the cell biomechanical machinery. Currently, the lab is interested in anti-inflammatory therapies for disc repair and regeneration, considering the important role of spine loading on therapeutic outcomes.

“Tenure is the holy grail for basic scientists, and it is not an easy task to achieve,” said Dr. William N. Levine, Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “Columbia University has recognized Dr. Chahine’s star power by awarding her this prestigious academic honor and we are so proud of her and do recognize that she is the first woman to achieve tenure in the department of Orthopedics’ 155-year history. On behalf of the entire department Dr. Chahine, congratulations!”

Dr. Chahine’s research on intervertebral disc disease is recognized nationally and internationally. Her studies are featured in numerous publications and other media as well as numerous review articles and book chapters. Her research has received numerous awards, including: 2013 Rising Star Award from the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Group of the Biomedical Engineering Society, 2015 Refractions Scientific Achievement Award, and a Best Paper Award at the 2020 North American Spine Society Conference. Dr. Chahine currently serves as a principal investigator on a NIH R01 grant. She also served as principal investigator on an NSF CAREER Award grant and a NYSTEM award project. Her past projects have been funded by many agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), New York State Department of Health (ECRIP program), and the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

“Dr. Chahine is an outstanding scientist and colleague, and I was thrilled to hear about her being granted tenure at Columbia,” said Dr. Steve Thomopoulos, Director of Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery. “Her innovative work in intervertebral disc disease is going to transform the care of patients suffering from back pain. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this ultimate academic honor!”