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BIO Magazine - Siddhartha Mukherjee Δεκέμβριος 2015
Δεκέμβριος 2015 No38

BIO Biography

Siddhartha Mukherjee
Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Bengali: সিদ্ধার্থ মুখার্জী; born 1970) is an Indian-born American physician, scientist and author. He wrote the 2010 book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Guardian Prize, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was described by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential books of the last 100 years, and by The New York Times Magazine as among the 100 best works of non-fiction.

Currently he is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He has been the Plummer Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the Joseph Garland lecturer at the Massachusetts Medical Society and an honorary visiting professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

A hematologist and oncologist, Mukherjee is also known for his work on the formation of blood and the interactions between the micro-environment (or "niche") and cancer cells.

Early life and education

Siddhartha Mukherjee was born in New Delhi, India to Sibeswar Mukherjee, an executive with Mitsubishi, and Chandana Mukherjee, a former schoolteacher. He attended St. Columba's School in Delhi. As a biology major atStanford University, he worked in Nobel Laureate Paul Berg's laboratory defining cellular genes that change the behaviours of cancer cells. Mukherjee then won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a DPhil inimmunology from Magdalen College, Oxford. After graduation, he attended Harvard Medical School (HST) where he earned an M.D. His postgraduate years consisted of a residency in internal medicine followed by an oncology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.[1]


Mukherjee is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Medicine (Oncology) Department, Columbia University in New York City.[2] He is also a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center.[3]

In 2010, Simon & Schuster published his book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,[4] detailing the evolution of diagnosis and treatment of human cancers from ancient Egypt to the latest developments in chemotherapy and targeted therapy.[5] The Oprah magazine listed it in its "Top 10 Books of 2010".[6] It was also listed in "The 10 Best Books of 2010" by The New York Times[7] and the "Top 10 Nonfiction Books" by Time magazine.[8]

In 2011 The Emperor of All Maladies: A History of Cancer was nominated as a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. On April 18, it was announced that Mukherjee's book had won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Mukherjee also received the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award in 2011. Timemagazine also nominated Mukherjee to its "100 most influential people" list and selected his book for its list of the 100 best non-fiction books since 1923.

A hematologist and oncologist by training, Mukherjee's scientific work addresses the links between normal stem cells and cancer cells. Mukherjee's lab has performed investigations on the microenvironment—or niche—of stem cells, focusing particularly on blood-forming stem cells. Blood-forming stem cells (called hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs) reside in the bone marrow in very specific microenvironments. Osteoblasts, or bone-forming cells, comprise an important element of this niche, and they regulate the physiology of HSCs, by providing HSCs with signals to divide, remain quiescent, or maintain their stem cell properties. Mukherjee's scientific work has been recognized through many NIH and private foundation grants, including the prestigious NIH "Challenge Grant" awarded to pioneering researchers in 2009.

In work performed with collaborators in the 1990s and 2000s, Mukherjee's lab identified genes and chemicals that can alter the microenvironment, or niche, and thereby alter the behaviour of normal stem cells, as well as cancer cells. Two such chemicals studied in the lab - proteasome inhibitors and Activin A inhibitors—are currently inclinical trials with novel therapeutic uses as defined by these studies. The lab has also identified novel genetic mutations in myelodysplasia and acute myelogenous leukemia and has played a leading role in finding therapies for these diseases in the clinical setting. Mukherjee's lab is based at Columbia University's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously, he was affiliated with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mukherjee has published widely in scientific journals, including papers in NatureNeuron, the Journal of Clinical InvestigationThe New England Journal of Medicineand others.

Personal life

Mukherjee lives in New York and is married to artist Sarah Sze, winner of a MacArthur "Genius" grant and chosen as the U.S. representative at the 2013 Venice Biennale. They have two daughters, Leela and Aria.[9][10]

Awards and honors

  • 1993: Rhodes Scholarship, 1993-1996.
  • 2010: Gabrielle Angel's Leukemia Foundation Award 2010
  • 2011: Pulitzer Prize, The Emperor of All Maladies
  • 2011: PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, The Emperor of All Maladies
  • 2011: Cancer Leadership Award (shared with Kathleen Sebelius and Orrin Hatch)
  • 2011: National Book Critics Circle Award, finalist, The Emperor of All Maladies
  • 2011: Time magazine, 100 Best Non-Fiction books of all TIME, The Emperor of All Maladies
  • 2011: Time 100, most influential people
  • 2011: Wellcome Trust Book Prize, shortlist, The Emperor of All Maladies[11]
  • 2011: Guardian Prize, The Emperor of All Maladies
  • 2012: Boston Public Library Literary Lights 2012


  1. ^ Levin, Ann. "Cancer's Biographer". The Record (Columbia University). Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  2. ^ McGrath, Charles (8 November 2010). "How Cancer Acquired Its Own Biographer". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  3. ^ Okie, Susan (November 28, 2010). "Review: "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer," by Siddhartha Mukherjee".Denver Post. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  4. ^ Mukherjee, Siddhartha (16 November 2010). The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Simon and Schuster.ISBN 978-1-4391-0795-9. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  5. ^ Roy, Amit (10 November 2009). "Chronicler of cancer, emperor of maladies". The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata). Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  6. ^ Sehgal, Parul. "The Emperor of All Maladies (Book Review)". Oprah.com. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  7. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2010". The New York Times. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  8. ^ "The Top 10 Everything Of 2010". Time. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  9. ^ "An Oncologist Writes 'A Biography Of Cancer'". NPR. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  10. ^ Shapin, Steven (8 November 2010). "Cancer World: The Making of a Modern Disease". The New Yorker. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  11. ^ Joanna Bourke (10 October 2011). "2011 Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist". The Lancet. Retrieved September 30, 2012.


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