Many efforts combined for Combes Lecture Series

By Rachel Skei Donihoo / Holidays 2010

Friends, colleagues, family members and former students of respected liver disease expert Dr. Burton Combes have united to create a lectureship in his honor at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Combes established and directed the medical center’s liver unit for more than 40 years and is an award-winning researcher and clinician. The fundraising campaign to create the endowment was initiated when he retired in 2009. The Dr. Burton Combes Lecture Series in Hepatology was created by gifts and other funds totaling more than $80,000 and will support lectures by distinguished experts in the field.

Dr. Burton Combes

“Dr. Combes truly is one of the founding fathers of modern hepatology and helped firmly establish the UT Southwestern hepatology program as a national leader,” said Dr. Don Rockey, chief of digestive and liver diseases. “We were thrilled, but not surprised, when so many recognized his enormous contributions to the medical center and to our field. He has been a true inspiration to many, and I think I can speak for all of his friends and colleagues when I say that this lectureship is a wonderful and well-deserved tribute to him.”

Dr. Rockey co-chaired the lectureship fundraising campaign with Dr. Marlyn Mayo, associate professor of internal medicine. The first Combes lecture was held last February and featured lectures by visiting researchers from five prominent medical institutions, including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“This was a lovely surprise, and I’m very grateful to all those who contributed to the fund,” Dr. Combes, professor emeritus of internal medicine, said. “This is a particularly nice honor because I’m really looking forward to hearing the next guest speakers. The fact that the lectureship bears my name is a wonderful bonus.”

Dr. Combes earned his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1951. After completing an internship and residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, he became a research fellow of the American Heart Association, serving at Columbia and later the University College Hospital Medical School in London. He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1957.

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Dr. Rockey holds the Dr. Carey G. King Jr. and Dr. Henry M. Winans Sr. Chair in Internal Medicine.