Leadership Team

David Fajgenbaum


Dr. David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, FCPP, is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN), Assistant Professor of Medicine in Translational Medicine & Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania, Associate Director, Patient Impact for the Penn Orphan Disease Center, and author of the national bestselling book, Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action. Dr. Fajgenbaum is also a patient battling idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD). He became ill during his third year of medical school in 2010, had his last rites read, and had four deadly iMCD relapses. In 2012, Dr. Fajgenbaum co-founded the CDCN, through which he has spearheaded the “Collaborative Network Approach.” He currently leads 18 translational research studies, including an international natural history study, the first-ever NIH R01 grant studying iMCD, and a clinical trial of sirolimus in iMCD.

Fajgenbaum is in his longest remission ever thanks to a treatment that he identified, which had never been used for iMCD. He described his journey in Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action, which has been translated into four languages, named one of the “Best Non-Fiction Books of 2019,” and profiled by Good Morning America, CNN, and BBC News, among others.

Check out the below video for a TED-style talk by Dr. Fajgenbaum about his battle, the CDCN’s innovative approach to research, and lessons about living from nearly dying during 2019 Exponential Medicine.

One of the youngest individuals ever appointed to the faculty at Penn Medicine and the top 1 percent youngest grant awardees of a leading NIH grant, Dr. Fajgenbaum has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, as a top healthcare leader by Becker’s Hospital Review, the Global Genes RARE Champion of Hope: Science awardee, and one of three recipients–including Vice President Joe Biden–of a 2016 Atlas Award from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. He has published scientific papers in high-impact journals such as Blood, Lancet Haematology, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, including one that was selected by STAT News in 2020 as one of the best innovations in science and medicine. Before co-founding the CDCN, Dr. Fajgenbaum co-founded and led the Actively Moving Forward Support Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting grieving college students. Dr. Fajgenbaum has been profiled in a cover story by The New York Times as well as by Good Morning America, CNN, Science, and the Today Show, among others.

Dr. Fajgenbaum earned a BS from Georgetown University magna cum laude with honors and distinction, MSc from the University of Oxford as the 2007 Joseph L. Allbritton Scholar, MD from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School as a 21st Century Gamble Scholar, and MBA from The Wharton School, where he was the Irwin D. Mandel Fellow, William Kissick Scholarship, Joseph Wharton Award, Eilers Health Care Management Award recipient, and Commencement Speaker.

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