UT Southwestern pediatrician, immunologist elected to National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine

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Dr. George Lister

DALLAS — Oct. 9, 2006 — Two faculty members at UT Southwestern Medical Center - one a distinguished pediatrician and the other a prominent immunology researcher — have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, a component of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. George Lister, professor and chairman of pediatrics, and Dr. Ellen Vitetta, director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center, were among 65 new members and five foreign associates announced today by the organization, which addresses national health issues.

Drs. Lister and Vitetta bring the total number of current UT Southwestern faculty members inducted into the institute to 19, the largest representation in Texas and surrounding states.

Members of the Institute of Medicine shape policies affecting public health and advise the federal government on issues involving medical care, research and education. Selection is based on international distinction in science, clinical medicine, public health or medical administration. Inductees are elected by incumbent members.

"This is a great honor for two of UT Southwestern's most distinguished and accomplished faculty members," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern. "Dr. Vitetta and Dr. Lister have been extraordinary national leaders in medicine and research. This accolade by their colleagues is an appropriate recognition of their great accomplishments."

Dr. Lister's work on oxygen transport during postnatal development provided a rational basis for the care of critically ill children in a discipline he helped establish more than 30 years ago. In 1992 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development appointed him chairman of the Collaborative Home Infant Monitoring Evaluation, a multicenter program to study home monitoring for sudden infant death syndrome. That program changed national policy for management of infants at risk.

A clinical expert in pediatric intensive care, Dr. Lister also directed an NIH-funded training grant for 25 years and a fellowship program in critical care medicine.

Dr. Lister earned his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He was section chief of the pediatric critical care at Yale medical school and director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital before joining UT Southwestern in 2003. He has received numerous honors, including an Established Investigator Award of the American Heart Association, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Distinguished Career Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"I am honored to be recognized by my peers and appreciative of the opportunity to work with them on topics of importance for our nation's health" said Dr. Lister, who holds the Robert L. Moore Chair in Pediatrics at UT Southwestern and is pediatrician-in-chief at Children's Medical Center Dallas.

Ellen Vitetta, PhD

One of the most highly cited researchers in the country, Dr. Vitetta is internationally recognized for her immunology research on B lymphocytes and Interleukin-4, and is a pioneer in immunotoxin therapies for cancer and AIDS. Immunotoxins function much like a "smart bomb," finding cancer cells and destroying them without hurting the surrounding cells or tissue. She also developed and completed the first human clinical trial of a recombinant vaccine for the deadly toxin ricin - a potential bioterror threat.

Dr. Vitetta earned her doctorate from New York University School of Medicine. At UT Southwestern she holds the Scheryle Simmons Patigian Distinguished Chair in Cancer Immunobiology and a Distinguished Teaching Chair. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she also will be honored in Austin Oct. 11 as a 2006 inductee to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.

"It is a great privilege to become a member of the Institute of Medicine and to have input into the research and health care issues that face our nation," Dr. Vitetta said.  

Other Institute of Medicine members at UT Southwestern and the year of their induction are: Dr. Steven McKnight, 2005; Dr. Helen Hobbs, 2004; Dr. John McConnell, 2004; Dr. Norman Gant, 2001; Dr. Eric Olson, 2001; Dr. Kern Wildenthal, 1999; Dr. Eric Nestler, 1998; Dr. Carol Tamminga, 1998; Dr. Ron Anderson, 1997; Dr. Scott Grundy, 1995; Dr. Jean Wilson, 1994; Dr. Daniel Foster, 1989; Dr. Alfred Gilman, 1989; Dr. Michael Brown, 1987; Dr. Joseph Goldstein, 1987; Dr. Paul MacDonald (deceased), 1987; Dr. Charles Sprague (deceased), 1979; Dr. Ronald Estabrook, 1975; Dr. Donald Seldin, 1974; and Dr. Bryan Williams (deceased), 1970.

One other Texan elected in 2006 is Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Today's election increases the Texas membership to 52, with UT Southwestern faculty contributing more than one-third of the statewide total.


About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center, one of the premier medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. Its more than 1,400 full-time faculty members — including four active Nobel prize winners, more than any other medical school in the world — are responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and are committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 89,000 hospitalized patients and oversee 2.1 million outpatient visits a year. 


Media Contact: Amanda Siegfried

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