Newsmakers: November 2017

Neurosurgeon Barnett selected for Trammell Crow Professorship

Dr. Samuel Barnett
Dr. Samuel Barnett (right)

Dr. Samuel Barnett, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has been selected to hold the Trammell Crow Professorship in Neurosurgery.

He was recruited to UT Southwestern in 2007 for his expertise in skull base surgery and currently is the Co-Director of the Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery Program, which includes physicians from Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Neuro-Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Interventional Radiology, and Pathology.

Dr. Barnett specializes in endoscopic minimally invasive brain tumor surgery, which utilizes tiny endoscopes with angled tips that are inserted through the nostril and into the sinuses and skull base. The endoscope works as a camera and gives the surgeon a clear view into the skull base to be able to excise pituitary or cancerous tumors and remove them through the nose with no external incisions.

Dr. Barnett, board certified in neurological surgery, also specializes in conventional open brain surgery, as well as radiosurgery.

The Ohio native received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Barnett completed his neurosurgery residency at UT Southwestern and then a clinical fellowship in skull base and cerebrovascular neurosurgery at the University of South Florida-Tampa. 

Lupus expert Bermas receives Ziff Professorship

Dr. Bonnie Lee Bermas
Dr. Bonnie Lee Bermas

Dr. Bonnie Lee Bermas, Professor of Internal Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the new holder of the Dr. Morris Ziff Distinguished Professorship in Rheumatology.

Dr. Bermas received her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed her residency in internal medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. She received fellowship training in rheumatology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Institutes of Health.

Following her fellowship, Dr. Bermas joined the faculty of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Rheumatology. While at Brigham, Dr. Bermas became the Clinical Director of the Lupus Center and Co-Director of the Program in Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases. In both of these roles, she and her team collaborated with physicians from other disciplines such as nephrology, dermatology, and obstetrics and gynecology. She also served as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

Dr. Bermas, who joined the UT Southwestern faculty in September, is a nationally recognized expert in systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid syndrome, and the management of rheumatic diseases during pregnancy. 

Kidney cancer leader Brugarolas holding Crow Research Chair

Dr. James Brugarolas
Dr. James Brugarolas

Dr. James Brugarolas, Professor of Internal Medicine and Founding Director of the Kidney Cancer Program at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been selected to hold the Sherry Wigley Crow Cancer Research Endowed Chair in Honor of Robert Lewis Kirby, M.D.

An elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Dr. Brugarolas leads a program that builds on the Department of Urology, the Medical Center’s highest ranked specialty by U.S. News & World Report, and a legacy of exceptional basic research.

The Kidney Cancer Program is characterized by:

  • A team of internationally recognized experts across urology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology, as well as collaborators
  • A broad portfolio of clinical trials and one of the largest radiation oncology programs for kidney cancer
  • Outstanding patient outcomes with overall survival rates that exceed national benchmarks including for stage IV patients (5-year survival of 25 percent compared with 11 percent)
  • Exceptional research with designation by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Specialized Program of Research Excellence, one of two such programs in the country
  • A dedicated team of patient advocates and outstanding patient satisfaction scores (4.9/5)

Dr. Brugarolas received his medical degree from Universidad de Navarra in Spain before coming to the U.S. for graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His internal medicine internship and residency were completed at Duke University Medical Center before an oncology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

He is a member of NCI’s Renal Task Force and the Chair of the Programmatic and Vision Setting Panel of the Congressionally Directed Kidney Cancer Research Program. Discoveries from his laboratory have led to a novel, genetically based, classification of kidney cancer, the identification of a new familial kidney cancer syndrome, the discovery of determinants of aggressiveness, the development of the first animal model to reproduce kidney cancer in patients, and the validation of HIF-2 as a target for renal cancer.

Burstein honored as Physician of Year for IBD efforts

Dr. Ezra Burstein
Dr. Ezra Burstein

Dr. Ezra Burstein, Chief of the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, received the 2017 Physician of the Year award from the North Texas Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation on Nov. 4.

Dr. Burstein’s research and clinical expertise is in molecular immunology. He also is Director of the Pollock Family Center for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology. His laboratory colleagues and staff are focused on basic mechanisms that control inflammatory responses in human disease, particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Their investigation of the NF-kB transcription factor regulation helped in the discovery of the COMMD protein family. His group has also investigated the basic functions of these factors in immune regulation, including the recent discovery of their role in protein sorting. Most recently, the lab has initiated work investigating the genetic and molecular basis of altered immunity in patients with defined Mendelian disorders.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, with 38 chapters and 15,000 members, is committed to uniting the IBD community to find cures for these diseases. To date, the Foundation has funded more than $300 million to research treatments and potential cures. The North Texas Chapter includes Texas and Oklahoma.

Dr. Burstein, who was on the University of Michigan faculty from 2002 to 2008 before being recruited to UT Southwestern, earned his medical degree from Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru. He completed his internal medicine residency at UT Southwestern and a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan. He also served as a research fellow at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health. 

Kazi awarded honor recognizing decade of rheumatology work

Dr. Salahuddin “Dino” Kazi
Dr. Salahuddin “Dino” Kazi (left)

Dr. Salahuddin “Dino” Kazi, Professor of Internal Medicine, has received a 2017 Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The honor, one of three ACR awards of distinction, was presented on Nov. 4 at the ACR’s annual meeting. The award includes a glass plaque and $3,000 recognizing more than a decade of work with the ACR to develop and launch a national electronic registry for patients with rheumatic diseases. The Rheumatology Informatics System for Effectivness (RISE) Registry includes data from more than 750 providers and 1 million patients, representing an important advance in quality of care and research. 

At UT Southwestern, Dr. Kazi leads the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. He is the outgoing chair of the ACR’s Registries and Health Information Technology Committee and will continue to serve on the research and publications subcommittee. With the vast amount of information collected, Dr. Kazi is working with the committee to analyze the information and facilitate research.

A UT Southwestern faculty member since 1995, Dr. Kazi received his medical degree from University of Karachi-Dow Medical College in Pakistan before training in internal medicine and rheumatology at UT Medical School at Houston. 

Wukich receives Pecoraro Award for diabetes research

Dr. Dane Wukich
Dr. Dane Wukich

Dr. Dane Wukich, Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery, recently received the 2017 Roger Pecoraro Award from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The award recognizes a researcher who has made scientific contributions and demonstrates an untiring commitment to improving the understanding of detection, treatment, and prevention of diabetic foot complications.

Dr. Wukich, who holds the Dr. Charles F. Gregory Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, is internationally recognized for his work in limb salvage, management of diabetes-related complications, and education. Among his research interests are foot and ankle problems in patients with traumatic brain injury and stroke, athletes, and people with diabetes. With more than 100 publications and invited lectures delivered around the world, Dr. Wukich is noted for leadership roles, excellence in teaching, and compassionate quality care. He has educated more than 150 resident physicians and 10 reconstructive foot and ankle fellows. He remains actively involved in educating orthopedic surgeons and has held leadership roles in the ADA’s Foot Care Council and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Membership Committee.

As this year’s recipient, Dr. Wukich delivered the Roger Pecoraro Award Lecture at the ADA’s 77th Scientific Sessions in San Diego this past summer.

Dr. Wukich is a U.S. Army veteran who as a Major served as a Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Army Medical Corps during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

A Carnegie Mellon University alumnus, Dr. Wukich earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed a surgical internship and orthopedic surgery residency at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.