Cathy Lee Mendelsohn, PhD

  • Professor of Urological Sciences (in Urology) and Pathology & Cell Biology and Genetics & Development (in the Institute of Human Nutrition)
Profile Headshot


Dr. Mendelsohn obtained a BS in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She obtained a PhD in Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center, working in Dr. Vincent Racaniello's lab where she cloned the human Poliovirus receptor. Her postdoctoral studies in Pierre Chambon's lab, at the Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg France were focused on Retinoic acid receptors and their role in development, studies which were continued in the lab of Jane Dodd at Columbia University looking at the role of retinoids in kidney development.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Urological Sciences (in Urology) and Pathology & Cell Biology and Genetics & Development (in the Institute of Human Nutrition)

Administrative Titles

  • PI, George M. O'Brien Urology Research Center


  • French

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, 1989 Microbiology, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, NY


Research Interests

  • Generating a molecular and cellular atlas of the mouse and human lower urinary tract
  • Genetics of lower urinary tract malformations as part of Columbia University O'Brien Research Center
  • Identification of progenitors important for formation and regeneration of the urothelium
  • Role of Pparg in urothelial development, regeneration and bladder cancer
  • Stem cell populations that give rise to bladder cancers


U54 DK104309, (MENDELSOHN) 09/24/2014-07/31/2019
“The Genetic Origins and Complications of Urinary Tract Abnormalities” The George M. O'Brien Center Urology Center. The overall focus of this award is to identify mutations in humans that cause urological birth defects and to provide outreach to the community with the goal of attracting new investigators to the field. Role: Principal Investigator

R01 DK095044-03 (MENDELSOHN) 07/01/2013-06/30/2022
“Retinoic acid signaling controls urothelial development and regeneration”.
This project is focused on elucidating the role of retinoid-dependent transcription in urothelial progenitor cells. Role: Principal Investigator

TJ Martell foundation
"Lineage studies of bladder cancer"
This project is focused on analyzing the cancer forming potential of urothelial cells using mouse models of bladder carcinogenesis.
Role: Co-Investigator

U01 DK094530-05 (MENDELSOHN) 09/30/2011-08/31/2021
“Generating molecular markers that selectively label urothelial sub-populations.”
This project is focused on producing an anatomical atlas of the mouse and human urinary tract. Role: Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

An illustrated anatomical ontology of the developing mouse lower urogenital tract.

PubMed Id: 25968320. Authors: Georgas KM Armstrong J Keast JR Larkins CE McHugh KM Southard-Smith EM Cohn MJ Batourina E Dan H Schneider K Buehler DP Wiese CB Brennan J Davies JA Harding SD Baldock RA Little MH Vezina CM Mendelsohn C

Tumorigenicity of RTK/RAS in urothelium.

PubMed Id: 26501074. Authors: Wu XR Mendelsohn C DeGraff DJ

Bladder cancers arise from distinct urothelial sub-populations.

PubMed Id: 25218638. Authors: Van Batavia J Yamany T Molotkov A Dan H Mansukhani M Batourina E Schneider K Oyon D Dunlop M Wu XR Cordon-Cardo C Mendelsohn C

Formation and regeneration of the urothelium.

PubMed Id: 24752063. Authors: Yamany T Van Batavia J Mendelsohn C

Retinoid signaling in progenitors controls specification and regeneration of the urothelium.

PubMed Id: 23993789. Authors: Gandhi D Molotkov A Batourina E Schneider K Dan H Reiley M Laufer E Metzger D Liang F Liao Y Sun TT Aronow B Rosen R Mauney J Adam R Rosselot C Van Batavia J McMahon A McMahon J Guo JJ Mendelsohn C