Shailee Shah, MD, MS Faculty Spotlight

Assistant Professor, Neuroimmunology Division

Dr. Shailee Shah joined the faculty at Vanderbilt last year after completing back-to-back fellowships in autoimmune neurology and multiple sclerosis/neuroimmunology at the Mayo Clinic. She enjoys the combination of inpatient and outpatient time, particularly the rewarding challenge of making diagnoses and caring for complex neurological diseases. The work/life balance she’s experienced at Vanderbilt allows her to explore Nashville and enjoy stand-up comedy (live in person or on TV)—often with some of her colleagues that she considers friends!

Tell us about your background prior to your arrival at Vanderbilt.

I am originally from outside of Chicago. I went to undergrad at Penn State and subsequently Jefferson Medical College for med school. From there I went on to Northwestern for my neurology residency. I completed two fellowships at Mayo—the first in autoimmune neurology (which focuses on antibody mediated disorders of the nervous system and diagnostic testing; it’s a relatively nascent field that has experienced rapid growth in last 20 years), as well as a more traditional neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis fellowship the following year. I also completed a Master’s in Clinical and Translational Sciences during my time at Mayo Clinic. Since then I’ve been here at Vanderbilt in the neuroimmunology division.

Would you consider that your primary specialty? What attracted you to that? 

Yes, and I also have an interest in neurohospitalist work. I like the diagnosis and management of challenging and complex diseases. I enjoy treating and helping patients that are often younger, and several of these diseases are treatable since we have many different therapies for them. Overall I find it gratifying to work with these patients. I very much enjoy the multidisciplinary and detail-oriented components to defining the diagnosis. 

What attracted you to Vanderbilt? 

I was looking for a combination of inpatient and outpatient time, as well as a place where work/life balance would be achievable, and Vanderbilt really fit those requirements. 

What kind of career path do you foresee for yourself? 

My clinic is specific to neuroimmunology, while my inpatient time is more broad. I hope to continue doing both, and I also hope to do more research as well. 

What are your research interests? 

I’m interested in characterization of paraneoplastic and autoimmune neurological diseases and emerging therapeutics in these disorders. As part of that, I have interest in clinical trials, and I’m part of the first international, multi-center trial for NMDA receptor encephalitis. I am also interested in biomarkers and imaging in optic neuritis due to multiple sclerosis and related disorders, and characterizing visual outcomes. These patients also present to the hospital, so I am able to manage them in the acute setting and long-term. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work? 

I will say that since moving to Vanderbilt I have found that many of my fellow faculty members in the department have similar interests to me. We often go to breweries or play board games. Spending time with people is something I really enjoy doing. I watch movies a lot—I make a point to watch new movies as they come out. I like to rock climb, throw pottery, and I like to play board games and more recently have become interested in chess.

What are you watching these days? 

I watch a lot of comedy specials, and I like to go to live comedy shows. I’m a big fan of Tig Notaro. As for movies, I like more fantasy, thriller, or sci-fi.

What have been some highlights of your time at Vanderbilt/in Nashville so far? 

I like working inpatient with a team, and everyone is great. I have another group of like-minded individuals who work in neuroimmunology and we can always discuss cases. I've also really enjoyed the work/life balance. Getting to see more of Nashville has been really exciting!

What are your plans for the summer? 

I think I might take a trip to Europe this summer. I have been to Europe before but this would be more of the UK or northern Europe which I have not seen before.