June 2010

June 2010

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Welcome to the June edition of Round Table.

As we celebrate the graduation of our physicians and reflect on John Casteen’s tenure at UVA, I am struck by how the President’s comments about the University as a whole are so appropriate for the School of Medicine. Much has changed in the SOM over the past 20 years. Our research enterprise has reached amazing heights with new facilities, hard work, and grant success, especially in training grants and ARRA grants. We are seeing more patients in more locations than ever before, and we are working hard and succeeding in “moving as one” across the Medical Center and HSF.

However, as we prepare to move into a new building with a new curriculum, the core of what we do has not changed. We are a medical school. It is our responsibility to prepare the next generation of physicians and scientists in, and for, an ever changing world. When I look at the class of 2010, I believe we can all be proud of our contributions in preparing them for the next step in their training.

This has been a challenging year for the University and the School of Medicine. We continue to mourn the losses of medical student John Jones and Morgan Harrington, daughter of one of our faculty members. And, we have all been touched by the tragic death of Yeardley Love. These tragedies stimulate our recognition of the essence of what we do – preserve life and health; with our science, our medical skills, and our advocacy.

In this issue of Round Table, we celebrate the appointment of James Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA, as our new Chair of Pediatrics, the reestablishment of the stem cell transplant program at UVA, awards and honors for Stephen Rich, PhD, and Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, PhD, a national leadership office for Surgery Chair Irv Kron, MD, and our faculty recognized as some of America’s Top Doctors.


Steven T. DeKosky, MD

James P. Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAP, UVA’s New Chair of the Department of Pediatrics

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of James P. Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAP, as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, effective September 1, 2010. Dr. Nataro is Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics, Associate Director for Research Training, and Chief of the Molecular Diagnostics & Microbiology Section of the Center for Vaccine Development.

Dr. Nataro is an international leader in research on pathogenesis of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli and Shigella. Diarrheagenic E. coli is the single most important etiologic agent of gastroenteritis among children in the developing world.

Dr. Nataro received his MD and PhD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He went on to complete his pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Following a pediatric infectious disease fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1991.

A heartfelt thank you to Robert L. Chevalier, MD, who has led the Department with distinction. We are fortunate that Dr. Chevalier will remain on the faculty. He will be a valuable resource for Dr. Nataro during his transition.

Thank you as well to Craig Peters, MD, who led the search committee. Dr. Peters and his colleagues performed an exhaustive nationwide search and I commend them for their diligence.

UVA Stem Cell Transplantation Program to Reopen; Mary Laughlin, MD, To Serve as Director

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Laughlin, MD, as Professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine and the new Section Chief and Director of Stem Cell Transplantation at the University of Virginia Health System. Dr. Laughlin's principal role will be the restoration of the stem cell transplantation program which has been closed since 2005.

The reopening of this program will have enormous impact on the advancement of the clinical, educational and basic science programs in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and the Cancer Center.

Dr. Laughlin is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Case Western Reserve University/Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Laughlin is recognized internationally as an expert in unrelated umbilical cord blood allogeneic transplantation for patients with hematologic malignancies and bone marrow failure syndromes. She has training and experience in immunology and molecular biology as well as the design and implementation of clinical trials. She is the Principal Investigator for clinical protocols related to the application of unrelated Umbilical Cord Blood transplantation at Case Western Reserve University and at Case Medical Center.

Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, PhD, First Allergist Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

University of Virginia Professor of Medicine Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, PhD, has achieved the rare distinction of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. The Royal Society is the United Kingdom’s National Academy of Science and the oldest scientific academy in the world.

Only a small number of Fellows are physicians, and Dr. Platts-Mills is the first ever allergist to be elected. His election was based on more than 30 years of research on the role that dust mite, cat and cockroach allergens play in the development of allergic disease and asthma.

The Royal Society has been at the forefront of inquiry and discovery since its founding in 1660. Past and present members include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. The Fellowship of the Royal Society is composed of 1,350 Fellows, 130 foreign members and 25 Nobel Laureates.

Stephen Rich, PhD, Wins JDRF’s David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence

Director of the University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics, Stephen Rich, PhD, has been honored with one of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) most prestigious awards, the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence. The award recognizes pioneering scientists who have made outstanding contributions to diabetes research.

A world leader in the fields of molecular epidemiology and genetics, Dr. Rich's long-term interest in the genetic basis of Type1 diabetes has led to the identification of more than 40 regions in the human genome that contain genes affecting Type1 diabetes risk.

Established almost 40 years ago by actress Dina Merrill in honor of her late son, David, the Rumbough Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in diabetes research and service to JDRF.

Irving L. Kron, MD, Elected President of AATS

Congratulations to UVA Department of Surgery Chair Irving L. Kron, MD, on his election as President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Kron, will lead the association's more than 1,200 members. Founded in 1917 by the earliest pioneers in the field of thoracic surgery, AATS requires its members to have a proven record of distinction within the cardiothoracic surgical field and have made meritorious contributions to the extant knowledge base about cardiothoracic disease and its surgical treatment.

UVA Has 47 of America’s Top Doctors and 16 of America’s Top Doctors for Cancer

Congratulations to the 47 physicians on our faculty who were included in the latest edition of America's Top DoctorsTM (ninth edition). Additionally, 16 physicians made the listing for a sister publication, American's Top Doctors for Cancer, fifth edition.

To be selected for inclusion in the book, doctors must be nominated by their peer physicians. The nomination process involves tens of thousands of board-certified physicians across the nation, as well as presidents, vice presidents of medical affairs [or an equivalent position] and chiefs of service in eight medical specialties from more than 1,000 hospitals across the United States. The guide is designed to help people find the most outstanding specialists to meet their medical needs, on a local, regional or national level.

To view the full list of UVA’s America’s Top Doctors and Top Doctors for Cancer click here.