UPMC Physician Resources

2017 UPMC Lung Transplant Conference — Oct. 4-6

The UPMC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Division of Lung Transplant/Lung Failure) and Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, along with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are hosting the 2nd Annual UPMC Lung Transplant Symposium from Wednesday, Oct. 4, to Friday, Oct. 6. The conference will include a mini ECMO simulation lab, a donor heart/lung procurement wet lab, and didactic sessions led by a variety of lung transplant experts.

Join us at the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower beginning at 8 a.m. on Oct. 4.

UPMC Presbyterian University Hospital
Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Topics Will Include

• 2,000 Thoughts on 2,000 Lung Transplants

• Latest Developments in Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion

• Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as Bridge to Transplant

• Patient Perspective

• Post-Operative Challenges

• Special Populations


Register at https://ccehs.upmc.com/liveFormalCourses.jsf. For more information, visit UPMC.com/LungTransplantConference or contact the Conference Coordinator, Angela Kinnunen, via email at kinnunenae@upmc.edu or by telephone at 412-648-6342.

Partnership for Public Service Honors VA Pittsburgh/Pitt Researcher with ‘Oscar’ of Government Service 2017 Service to America Medal honors Dr. Rory Cooper as “America’s best in government”

The Partnership for Public Service will honor Rory Cooper, PhD, research scientist at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, with a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie) on Sept. 27 for his work as director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratory (HERL).

Cooper will receive the Sammie in the Science and Environment category for developing adaptive wheelchairs at HERL, a collaboration between Pitt, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and UPMC. Cooper is HERL’s founding director and its VA senior research career scientist.

An Army veteran, Cooper was cited in his nomination for designing innovative wheelchairs and other assistive technologies that have markedly improved the mobility and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of veterans and other people with disabilities. He led projects that include development of a wheelchair with robotic arms and hands that can grasp objects, personal vehicles that enable people to access terrain their wheelchairs can’t traverse and manual wheelchairs with more comfortable and adjustable seats.

Cooper and six other winners were chosen from 26 finalists and more than 440 nominees by a selection committee that includes leaders from government, business, the foundation and nonprofit community, academia, entertainment and the media. The entire awards ceremony will be streamed live from Washington, DC, and viewable on the Partnership for Public Service’s Facebook page beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

“The federal government is a unique instrument for our country. The 2017 Service to America Medal recipients represent the best in government, the unsung heroes who quietly work behind the scenes to serve their country and the public good,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “It is important, especially in these uncertain times, to celebrate and recognize the Sammies honorees and their colleagues throughout the government who are making a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Cooper is the FISA Foundation/Paralyzed Veterans of America chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He also serves as the school’s associate dean for inclusion and a distinguished professor, as well as a professor of bioengineering, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and orthopaedic surgery.

To learn more about the Sammies, visit servicetoamericamedals.org.

The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Announces Leadership Changes

Print Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has announced new leadership appointments in its Heart Institute and Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

Jacqueline Kreutzer, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is now appointed as chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

An internationally recognized leader in interventional cardiology, Kreutzer currently is serving as director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Children’s Hospital. She completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship and training in interventional cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and is board-certified in pediatric cardiology and adult congenital heart disease. Kreutzer joined Children’s Hospital in 2005.

Kreutzer has been a clinical champion for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, distinguished in the field of interventional cardiology innovation, bringing new techniques to Children’s Hospital. She has served as the institutional investigator on numerous clinical trials for investigational devices and currently is the national principal investigator for the Melody transcatheter pulmonary valve post-approval study.

Kreutzer has authored more than 80 publications and serves as editor and reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. She has lectured extensively and served in numerous academic positions such as for the American Board of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention.

Vivek Allada, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Pitt School of Medicine, has been appointed executive director of the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital.

Allada completed his pediatric cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in non-invasive imaging. He has served as the clinical director of pediatric cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics since 2006 and as the interim division chief since 2012. He is recognized nationally, having co-chaired the Committee on Pediatric Echocardiography Laboratory for the American Society of Echocardiography. Allada has distinguished himself as a clinical leader with outstanding administrative talents while leading the Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the Heart Institute. Along with his new role overseeing the Heart Institute strategic plans, he will continue as clinical director for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology.

“Drs. Kreutzer and Allada have been instrumental in the development and success of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the Heart Institute,” said Terence Dermody, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Pitt School of Medicine, and physician-in-chief and scientific director at Children’s Hospital. “Under their leadership, many new clinical initiatives have been developed, resulting in the highest quality ratings and substantial growth for the overall cardiology program.”

In addition to Kreutzer and Allada, Children’s Heart Institute is co-directed by Victor Morell, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery. Under Morell’s leadership, Children’s pediatric cardiovascular surgery program has outcomes that are among the highest in the nation. Children’s had one of the lowest overall four-year surgical mortality rates among all high-volume programs with a mortality rate under 2 percent and was awarded a 3-Star rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (2012-2016), one of only eleven programs to receive this distinction. Nationally, the average mortality rate for all pediatric cardiovascular programs was 3.1 percent during the same reporting period.

To learn more about the Heart Institute, please visit www.chp.edu/heart.

Distinguished Researcher Named Director of Aging Institute and Beckwith Professor of Translational Medicine at UPMC and Pitt

UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh today announced the appointment of Toren Finkel, MD, PhD, a world-renowned aging researcher, as director of the Aging Institute of UPMC and Pitt and the inaugural holder of the G. Nicholas Beckwith III and Dorothy B. Beckwith Chair in Translational Medicine.

The endowed chair, made possible through a $2.5 million gift by UPMC Chairman G. Nicholas Beckwith III and his wife, Dorothy, will fund a distinguished faculty member focusing on translational medicine and is being made in recognition of UPMC’s commitment to teaching, research, clinical care and community service.

“We are fortunate to have a physician-scientist of Dr. Finkel’s stature join UPMC and Pitt. His discoveries going forward will have a meaningful and favorable impact on the community, and Dotty and I are pleased to support his efforts in translational medicine through this gift,” said Beckwith.

Finkel most recently served as chief of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will succeed Charles F. Reynolds III, MD, at the helm of the Aging Institute.

A collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, the Aging Institute brings together the expertise of clinical researchers, scholars and clinicians to identify and implement innovative care models for older adults and to support western Pennsylvania’s population with resources for seniors and their caregivers.

“We are delighted that Dr. Finkel, an exceptional clinician and researcher, has chosen to join our pursuits of advancing discovery and treatment,” said Steve Shapiro, MD, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC. “His expertise will move us forward in transforming discoveries in the field of aging from the lab to patients.”

“Under Dr. Finkel’s innovative leadership, we will focus on fundamental research and therapies that target the aging process, with the ultimate goal of extending healthspan — essentially a long life free of disease,” said Arthur S. Levine, MD, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.

Among his other research accomplishments, Finkel and colleagues provided the first demonstration that molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) –– originally thought to be damaging byproducts of chemical reactions in cells –– can act as molecular signals that control how cells and tissues function. An entirely new field of research known as redox signaling emerged from this discovery, which focused on the role of ROS signals in normal disease and aging.

His laboratory added major contributions to the understanding of aging over the past decade, including identifying how a specific class of enzymes known as sirtuins are key regulators of aging and how cellular energy pathways are involved in the maintenance of stem cells in the body. In the future, he plans to explore how the immune system and inflammation are connected to aging. His research over the years has involved both animal models and human participants, bridging clinical medicine and basic science.

“I am incredibly excited to lead the Aging Institute that was so ably directed by my predecessor, Chip Reynolds, and honored to be the inaugural holder of the Beckwith Chair in Translational Medicine. I firmly believe that understanding aging biology will alter how we approach a myriad of diseases and fundamentally change how we treat the vast majority of our patients,” said Finkel.

Finkel has published nearly 200 studies in high-impact journals, including Science, Nature, and The New England Journal of Medicine. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited more than 48,000 times; he currently ranks as the 12th most highly cited author in aging and the 11th most highly cited author in cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Finkel has served on numerous editorial boards, including 10 years as an associate editor for Circulation Research and currently as a member of the board of reviewing editors for Science.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Maryland and his MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School in 1986, Finkel completed a residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1992, he joined the NIH as an investigator within the NHLBI intramural research program. He later served as chief of the Cardiology Branch and chief of the Translational Medicine Branch. In 2010, he assumed the position of chief of the Center for Molecular Medicine at NHLBI, which he held before joining Pitt and UPMC.

Neuro-Oncology Researcher at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Receives Grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation

PrintGary Kohanbash, PhD, a neuro-oncology researcher at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, has been awarded a scholar grant of $298,000 from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.

These grants provide resources to institutions to conduct more research and enroll more children in ongoing clinical trials. Kohanbash and his team will look at improving immunotherapy for ependymomas, the third most common kind of brain tumor in children.

“As a scientist and a father, I am driven to help save kids from brain cancers, so I am very excited about the potential of immunotherapy. Unimaginable advances within the last 10 years are enabling us to create new, safer and more effective treatments,” said Kohanbash, who also is an assistant professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “With this funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, I am hopeful that we can bridge the gap between lab research and clinical care for kids with ependymomas.”

Kohanbash’s team has identified three peptides that might activate immune cells to specifically fight one of the more lethal types of ependymoma. He will be testing these peptides in the lab and also is looking at how immunotherapy could help fight all six types of ependymoma that affect kids.

“We are thrilled Dr. Kohanbash is receiving this grant based on his experience and accomplishments in the field of brain tumor immunology and his ongoing work to translate findings from the lab into promising treatments for children with ependymomas,” said Ian Pollack, MD, chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children’s Hospital.

The grant is supported by the St. Baldrick’s Henry Cermak Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research.

For more information, please visit www.chp.edu.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Ranked Among Top Pediatric Hospitals in the United States

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has once again been recognized as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, earning a spot on this year’s U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.

It is the 8th consecutive year Children’s Hospital has appeared on the Best Children’s Hospitals list, which was released today.

“We are proud to be consistently recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “It is rewarding for our physicians, nurses and support staff, who every day work together with skill and passion to provide the best care for children and adolescents with the most complex medical conditions.”

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight the top 50 US pediatric hospitals in each of 10 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology.

Children’s is ranked 9th on the honor roll and is ranked in all 10 of the specialties.

The 2017-18 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings will be released online today and will be published in the “Best Hospitals 2018” guidebook, available in September.

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings open the door to an array of detailed information about each hospital’s performance.

The other hospitals named to the Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals for 2017-18 are:

1. Boston Children’s Hospital
2. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
4. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
5. John Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore
6. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
7. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
7. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
9. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
10. Children’s National Medical Center, Washington D.C.

Thomas Gleason, MD discusses Type B Aortic Dissection at the 2017 Society for Thoracic Surgery Annual Meeting

Thomas Gleason, MD, Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery and Co-Director, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, hosted a panel discussion at the 2017 Society for Thoracic Surgery annual meeting in Houston, Texas, on the state of Type B Aortic Dissection including indications for intervention, device choices, and techniques from both European and US perspectives.
View the video here: Treating Type B Aortic Dissection: European and US Perspectives

American Thoracic Society 2017 Respiratory Heath Awardees — Steven Shapiro, MD, and Alison Morris, MD

SHAPIRO_STEVE_MD_EVP_20140204_004Steven Shapiro, MD and Alison Morris, MD have been named 2017 Respiratory Health Awardees by the American Thoracic Society (ATS). The Respiratory Health Awards will be presented at several events during the ATS conference. The 2017 American Thoracic Society Conference (ATS) will be held May 19-24 in Washington, DC.

Dr. Shapiro is receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award. The Distinguished Achievement Award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to fighting respiratory disease through research, education, patient care, or advocacy.

Dr. Shapiro leads the Health Services Division as an executive vice president of UPMC, along with his overarching responsibility as chief medical and scientific officer for this integrated delivery and finance system.

In collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and the UPMC Insurance Services Division, Dr. Shapiro is promoting evidence-based care pathways and population health models that position UPMC to provide the highest value and quality to patients.

MORRIS_ALISON_MD_PUL_AI_CC_20130131Dr. Morris is receiving the Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments. The Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments recognizes outstanding scientific contributions in basic or clinical research to enhance the understanding, prevention and treatment of respiratory disease or critical illness. Awardees are selected based on contributions made throughout their careers or for major contributions made at a particular point in their careers. Awardees will make a 25-minute presentation on their research.

Dr. Morris’ research interests include HIV-associated lung disease as well as the role of the microbiome in disease. Her group works with large cohort epidemiologic studies of HIV and other diseases as well as in translational studies in which physiologic and molecular techniques are applied to patient populations.

As part of her role in the Center for Medicine and the Microbiome, she works with collaborators in diverse areas studying the microbiome. Her clinical interests focus on lung disease in HIV-infected patients and in care of intensive care unit patients.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Pulmonary Chief Elected Secretary-Treasurer of the American Thoracic Society

CELEDON_JUAN_MD_PDP_20131105_CSThe American Thoracic Society (ATS) has elected Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH, chief, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, as its Secretary–Treasurer for the 2017–18 term.
Dr. Celedón will then assume the role of ATS President for the 2020 21 term and notably will be the first ATS president from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the first Latino American to serve as ATS president, in the 115-year history of the society.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to have been elected as the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Thoracic Society, arguably the leading professional society in academic pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine worldwide,” said Dr. Celedón, Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “I hope to further the mission of the ATS in achieving respiratory health equality and workforce diversity, while continuing to pursue excellence in research, education and training, as well as clinical care of patients with pulmonary diseases, critical illnesses and sleep disorders.”

“On behalf of the ATS community, we wholeheartedly welcome Dr. Celedón to the elected leadership of the Society,” said David Gozal, MD, MBA, president of the ATS. “His previous achievements and recognition have clearly earned him this honor. We look forward to his future contributions to the ATS and to the field of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine both nationally and around the world.”

Dr. Celedón has been a member of the ATS since 1993. He received from the ATS the “Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments” in 2014, and was the first-ever recipient of the “Lifetime Award for Innovations in Health Equality” in 2015.

His research has focused on asthma and COPD, and on health disparities in airway diseases. His research, which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, has been recognized with his election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Celedón, who also serves as professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, will be installed as Secretary–Treasurer in May at the ATS 2017 International Conference in Washington, DC.

Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world’s leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy. The ATS publishes three journals, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

For more information on Dr. Celedón, visit www.chp.edu.

2017 Update in Abdominal Transplantation Medicine and Surgery — May 12

UPMC Transplant Services, the UPMC Liver Cancer Center, and the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases will host the 2017 Update in Abdominal Transplantation Medicine and Surgery on Friday, May 12. The conference will be divided into two courses – a liver course and a kidney course and will provide health care professions an overview of current trends, management techniques, and new innovations and research to treat liver and kidney diseases.

Friday, May 12

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Fairmont Pittsburgh
510 Market St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Liver Topics:

•    Living-Donor Liver Transplant
Presented by: Abhinav Humar, MD

•    The Nuts and Bolts of the Liver Transplant
Presented by: Christopher Hughes, MD

•    Predictors of Mortality on the Liver Transplant Waiting List and Early Intervention
Presented by: Swaytha Ganesh, MD

•    Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Non-invasive Evaluation and Treatment Options
Presented by: Jaideep Behari, MD, PhD

•    Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Solutions for Complex Gastrointestinal Problems
Presented by: Ruy Cruz, MD

 Kidney Topics:

•    Living-Donor Kidney Transplant
Presented by: Amit D. Tevar, MD

•    Antibodies: HLA Typing, CPRA, Crossmatching, and Antibody-Mediated Rejection
Presented by: Puneet Sood, MD, MPH

•    Kidney Transplantation for the Pediatric Patient
Presented by: Armando Ganoza,

•    Is My Patient a Candidate: Listing Elderly, Obese and Patients with Cancer
Presented by: Christine Wu, MD and Amit D. Tevar, MD

•    Long-term Medical Management of Renal Transplant Patient
Presented by: David J. Levenson, MD


For more information or to register, please visit UPMC.com/AbdominalTransplantConference2017.

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