David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc


Research Assistant Professor, Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, is the co-founder and Executive Director for the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fajgenbaum launched the CDCN in 2012 to accelerate research and treatments for idiopathic Multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD)—a deadly and poorly-understood hematologic disease—through global collaboration, strategic investments in high-impact research, and patient engagement. Fajgenbaum published research in the journal Blood that initiated a paradigm shift in the previous model of pathogenesis, uncovered a class of therapies that may be effective in MCD, and established a new classification system. He recently conceptualized and secured funding for a $4.5M research study that he will lead as Principal Investigator.

In just two years, the CDCN has connected the global community through the three largest-ever MCD research meetings and an online discussion board; assembled a 17-member leadership team of patients, MD, MBA, and PhD students and a 26-member Scientific Advisory Board of international experts; built a database of over 200 physicians and researchers; created and initiated the execution of an International Research Agenda; established a partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and engaged patients throughout the entire process. The top three projects on the International Research Agenda have the potential to solve the etiology of the disease and inform the development of new therapies. Fajgenbaum also served as a member of Janssen Pharmaceutical’s “Global Advisory Board” for Siltuximab, which became the first FDA-approved therapy for MCD in 2014. Fajgenbaum is now also focused on applying his proven model to accelerate research and therapies for other deadly illnesses.

Dr. Fajgenbaum is also the co-founder of the National Students of AMF Support Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one. National Students of AMF has reached 3,000+ students on 200+ campuses since 2006, and his work has been highlighted on the Today Show, Reader's Digest, and the New York Times. He has recently finished coauthoring a book for grieving college students, which is under contract with Jessica Kingsley Publishers and will be available Fall 2015.

Dr. Fajgenbaum earned his MD from the Raymond & Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as a Gamble Scholar, MSc in Public Health from the University of Oxford as an Allbritton Scholar, and BS in Honors Human Sciences with Distinction from Georgetown University. He is currently completing an MBA from The Wharton School, majoring in Health Care Management as the Irwin D. Mandel Fellow. David has been recognized on Forbes Magazine’s 2015 30 Under 30 Healthcare list, USA Today’s 2007 Academic All-American First-team honors, Reader’s Digest’s “Make it Matter” story of the month in 2008, Eli Lilly’s 2012 "Welcome Back Award” for national impact on mental health, and the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado.