Rockey heads digestive, liver diseases division

Dr. Don C. Rockey, former director and founder of the Liver Center at Duke University Medical Center, has joined UT Southwestern as the new chief of the digestive and liver diseases division in internal medicine after a nationwide search.

"We are delighted to have Dr. Rockey join UT Southwestern as a leader in the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Rockey has a distinguished career as a physician-scientist, and he has excelled in both basic and clinical research," said Dr. J. Gregory Fitz, chairman of internal medicine who holds the Donald W. Seldin Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine and headed the search committee.

Dr. Don Rockey

"The committee was particularly impressed by his basic science contributions toward understanding the cellular mechanisms regulating liver perfusion and function. Dr. Rockey is, in addition, an exceptional teacher. I am confident that he will be a great leader for the division, and a superb collaborator for other members of the UT Southwestern community."

Dr. Rockey said he was attracted to UT Southwestern by the opportunity it presented. "I think there are great opportunities here in basic research and basic investigation, but also in clinical academics and in patient oriented research," he said.

The division has an impressive history and faculty, he said, adding that he looks forward to collaborating with UT Southwestern's well-known leaders in the field.

As for the division, "We want to publish the literature, we don't want to read it," he said. "We really want to be on the cutting edge. There are a couple of new programs that I think we'll all be interested in. Liver transplantation is one, and in addition, inflammatory bowel diseases is a program that we'll also pay attention to. And, cancer biology is something else we'll focus on, in addition to a number of clinical areas where we already have great strength, such as esophageal and liver disease."

Prior to joining UT Southwestern, Dr. Rockey was professor of medicine and associate professor of cell biology at Duke. He spent 14 years at the University of California, San Francisco, including his internship, residency, chief residency, fellowship, and junior faculty. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia.