Amer Zeidan, MBBS, MHS
To help inspire new fellows to pursue their dreams and to reinforce how training will make a huge impact in the future care of patients with cancer, Oncology Fellows recently had the opportunity to speak with Amer Zeidan, MBBS, MHS, an assistant professor of medicine (hematology) at Yale University, to hear his story about his path to landing his dream career.
Dr Zeidan just completed a hematology/oncology fellowship and a clinical research fellowship in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) at Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned a master of health science degree in clinical investigation. Prior to fellowship, Dr Zeidan completed an internal medicine residency program in Rochester, NY.
Before moving to the United States, Dr Zeidan graduated with honors (in 2001) from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Jordan, the country’s oldest and most prestigious medical school. Dr Zeidan’s clinical interest is in the management of myeloid malignancies.
What triggered your interest in pursuing a career in hematology?
: As a medical student, my first patient in my first ever hospital rotation was a young kid with a refractory leukemia. I saw him daily for several weeks before he died from his advanced disease. This experience had a major influence on my life direction. Not only did it make me decide to pursue hematologic oncology as a career, but it also played a huge role in my decision to work in clinical research to help find a cure for patients with refractory leukemia.
The best place to pursue these academic interests was the United States. I came to the United States in 2004 from my country, Jordan, to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to become a clinical investigator in the field of refractory hematologic malignancies. I completed my internal medicine internship and residency at Rochester General Hospital, in Rochester, NY, before moving to Johns Hopkins University for my hematology/oncology fellowship.
Now that you have finished fellowship, what are you working on?
: The focus of my clinical/ translational research is the development of novel therapies for MDS, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and other refractory myeloid malignancies. I have been working on designing and conducting early-phase clinical trials with a special focus on immunotherapeutic and epigenetic approaches. After joining Yale University, I have become the principal investigator in several National Cancer Institute, Cooperative Group, pharma-sponsored, and investigator-initiated early-phase clinical trials. Additionally, I have an ongoing interest in effectiveness research and population-level outcomes research in myeloid malignancies, which I conduct within the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Group at the Yale Cancer Center.
During your training, who has influenced your decision to pursue the career that you have chosen?
: I was lucky enough to be guided and mentored at important junctures in my life by several world-renowned scientists and researchers. My first endeavors in clinical research started under the mentorship of Dr Meir Wetzler and Dr Peter Kouides, in Rochester, NY. I subsequently moved to Johns Hopkins University to pursue hematology/ oncology clinical research under the mentorship of Dr Steven Gore and Dr B. Douglas Smith, in the areas of MDS and refractory hematologic malignancies.
Aside from finally landing your dream job, what are some of your biggest accomplishments, thus far?
: I have been lucky to be a part of several important projects. I have authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications, including more than 25 original research papers and several book chapters. I have also presented many abstracts at national and international hematology meetings and have delivered invited presentations at several prestigious institutions both in the United States and abroad.