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University of Maryland Department of surgery continues to lead through surgical innovation

Baltimore, MD December 19, 2011 The University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Surgery is continuing to secure research opportunities to advance the science of medicine and improve patient outcomes, as evidenced by the grants awarded to the Department by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Grants are competitively secured and reflect strongly on the qualitative excellence of the University of Maryland programs.

According to new data just released by the NIH, the Department of Surgery has the most NIH research funding of any department of surgery in the state of Maryland and in Washington, D.C. The new funding data is for fiscal year 2011, which began November 1, 2010 and ended October 31, 2011.

In a time when the NIH is being asked by the federal government to cut its budget per year, the Department of Surgery continues to obtain funding for biomedical research despite increasingly competitive NIH requirements. In 2005, the Department of Surgery was ranked 17th in the nation for NIH funding, and it is now a top 10 program.

"NIH research funding is an objective measure that we use to reflect the excellence and quality of our research program as we develop the latest treatment options for patients," says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We have built this department with the goal of becoming a top three NIH-funded research program. We instigate a culture of research within our clinical faculty from the moment they join our institution."

Recently, a five-year $23,634,445 grant was awarded to Richard N. Pierson, III, M.D., professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director, Surgical Care Service, VA Maryland Health Care System. The grant is to study coagulation control in lung and liver xenografts.

Other recent, notable NIH awards include basic science and preclinical research of:

  • Immunomodulation for heart allograft tolerance, Richard N. Pierson, III, M.D. This project will evaluate strategies to induce tolerance in heart transplants in order to improve our understanding of mechanisms of graft acceptance and rejection. The research will also examine biomarkers that are predictive of acute or chronic rejection or are associated with tolerance.

  • Pumps for Kids, Infants and Neonates (PumpKIN), Bartley P. Griffith, M.D., professor of surgery and chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery. This preclinical research will help develop and evaluate a heart pump for infants and young children born with heart disease. Currently, there are no ventricular assist devices (VADs) for young children who require miniature pumps for their small hearts.

  • Induction and migration of regulatory T cells, Jonathan S. Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor, surgery and immunology and microbiology, and director, Division of Transplantation. Basicscience research studying how T cells migrate from the lymph nodes to a transplanted organ and how that travel affects the final immune response and helps determine tolerance or rejection.

    "Surgery is a cure for many medical conditions, and it's our responsibility as a research-intensive institution to continue to seek new and better ways to treat and cure diseases and to foster the next generation of surgeons through excellent training and research," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "The Department of Surgery is a destination center for researchers and patients who demand an institutional commitment to advancing medicine through science and discovery."

    Strategic recruitment of faculty has also been a factor in the Department's growth and NIH funding level. The following clinical faculty members have joined the Department in the past two years with strong NIH portfolios:

  • Jonathan S. Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and microbiology and immunology and director, Division of Transplantation.

  • Sunjay Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and director, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery.

  • John Olson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and director, Division of General and Surgical Oncology.

  • Rajabrata Sarkar, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and director, Division of Vascular Surgery.


  • Contact: Bill Seiler
    University of Maryland Medical Center

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