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Rachana Shah, MD, MSTR
Rachana Shah
Attending Physician

Dr. Shah's research is centered on understanding obesity and its related complications. Her current work includes clinical and translational studies exploring pathophysiology and modulation of obesity-related adipose tissue and systemic inflammation using human cell lines and clinical trials. She is also involved in clinical studies of outcomes and risk factors of polycystic ovarian syndrome and type 2 diabetes in teens.



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Dr. Shah is a pediatric endocrinologist with a clinical and research focus on elucidating the pathophysiology and exploring novel therapeutic targets in obesity and related complications. She has worked extensively in the area of obesity-related adipose tissue and systemic inflammation, using both pre-clinical (animal, in vitro cell and tissue) and clinical models.

Methods used in the laboratory include adipose biopsy, flow cytometry of adipose tissue and blood, cell culture of human primary adipocytes and monocyte/macrophage lines, isolation of bacterial microbiome, mRNA and protein quantification, and in silico metabolomics.

As the medical director of the CHOP Adolescent Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Center, Dr. Shah has also initiated clinical studies determining incidence of cardiometabolic risk factors and mental health disorders in PCOS.

Among her notable career achievements, Dr. Shah:

  • Earned a Master of Science in Translational Science (2011) from the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Translation Medicine and Therapeutics, sponsored by the Penn/ITMAT KL2 grant.
  • Completed NIDDK K23-sponsored clinical trial Fish Oils in Adipose Inflammation Reduction (FAIR), an eight-week placebo-controlled trial of the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on systemic and adipose tissue inflammatory pathways in healthy obese adults
  • Completed a pilot study of Cardiometabolic Risk in Adolescent PCOS, a cross-sectional study examining prevalence of metabolic syndrome components in PCOS vs. control teenage girls

Education and Training

BS, Vanderbilt University (Molecular Biology), 1998

MD, Baylor College of Medicine, 2002

MSTR, University of Pennsylvania (Translational Research), 2011

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

Alpha Omega Alpha, 2002-

Pediatric Endocrine Society, 2006-

Endocrine Society, 2006-

Professional Awards

Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, Travel Grant and Poster Presentation, 2007

Endocrine Society Trainee Day Travel Award, 2008

Endocrine Society Poster Competition Award, 2008

Genentech Clinical Fellows Travel Grant and Poster Presentation, 2009

McCabe Foundation Fellow Award, 2012

Kynett-FOCUS Cardiovascular Disease in Women Junior Faculty Award, 2013


Publication Highlights

Ferguson JF, Roberts-Lee K, Borcea C, Smith HM, Midgette Y, Shah R. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids attenuate inflammatory activation and alter differentiation in human adipocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2019 Feb; 64:45-49. PMID: 30428424
Kelsey MM, Braffett BH, Geffner ME, Levittsky LL, Caprio S, McKay SV, Shah R, Sprague JE, Arslanian SA, TODAY Study Group. Menstrual Dysfunction in Girls from the Treatment Options in Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescent and Youth (TODAY) Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jun; 103(6):2309-2318. PMID: 29697830
Shah R, O'Neill SM, Hinkle C, Caughey J, Stephan S, Lynch E, Bermingham K, Lynch G, Ahima RS, Reilly MP. Metabolic Effects of CX3CR1 Deficiency in Diet-Induced Obese Mice. PLOSOne. 2015 Sep; 10(9):e0138317. PMID: 26393344
Mulvey CK, McNeill AM, Girman CJ, Churchill TW, Terembula K, Ferguson JF, Shah R, Mehta NN, Qasim AN, Rickels MR, Reilly MP. Differential Associations of Oral Glucose Tolerance Test-Derived Measures of Insulin Sensitivity and Pancreatic Beta-Cell Function with Coronary Artery Calcification and Microalbuminuria in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2014 Jan; 37(1):124-33 PMID: 23949560
Shah R, Hinkle CC, Ferguson JF, Mehta NN, Li M, Qu L, Lu Y, Putt ME, Ahima RS, Reilly MP. Fractalkine is a novel human adipochemokine associated with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 2011 May; 60(5):1512-8. PMID: 21525510