President honored for contributions, leadership
DALLAS — June 1, 2009 — Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, has received the American Gastroenterological Association’s 2009 Julius Friedenwald Medal for Distinguished Service for his lifelong contributions to the field of gastroenterology.
Dr. Podolsky received the association’s highest honor during a session at Digestive Disease Week, the largest international conference devoted to the science and practice of gastroenterology, in Chicago. The award includes an engraved medal and a certificate of recognition. Dr. Podolsky is the first UT Southwestern physician selected to receive the award, which was endowed in 1940.
“Of Julius Friedenwald it was said, ‘Of unblemished reputation, he commands the respect and confidence of the entire community. He has devoted his life to a noble calling and is now crowned with its choicest rewards,’” said Dr. Lawrence S. Friedman, chairman of the department of medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., and a longtime friend of Dr. Podolsky’s. “For his groundbreaking scientific achievements, his masterly leadership of committees, divisions, departments, institutions and the AGA itself, and his vital role as mentor, teacher, practitioner and friend, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky too commands the respect and confidence — and gratitude — of our profession, and he is most deserving of our specialty’s choicest reward, the Friedenwald Medal.”
Dr. Podolsky became president of UT Southwestern on Sept. 2, 2008. He holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
Dr. Podolsky previously served as chief of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General for 19 years and founded the Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 1991. For the three years prior to his move to UT Southwestern, he also served as chief academic officer at Partners HealthCare, which was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1994.
UT Southwestern’s president said that his selection as this year’s recipient is primarily a testament not only to him, but to the hundreds of researchers and clinicians he has been privileged to work with throughout his career, and to those who helped guide him in his career.
“Research is not a solo endeavor. I wouldn’t be here today without the guidance, assistance and support of numerous individuals from the beginning of my career,” Dr. Podolsky said. “I am grateful to be selected for an award that bears the name of the late Julius Friedenwald, whose early work and service to the AGA paved the way for many of our most significant discoveries.”
Dr. Podolsky received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Harvard University and his medical degree magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, followed by residency training in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General.
Dr. Podolsky is an authority on inflammatory bowel diseases. His early laboratory work focused on intestinal epithelial differentiation and the control of proliferation. While pursuing his research, he discovered how various growth factors affected intestinal epithelial differentiation repair in a variety of disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, infectious diarrhea and peptic ulcer. One of these factors, a peptide known as intestinal trefoil factor that Dr. Podolsky discovered and later characterized, has shown efficacy in early clinical trials. His most recent endeavors have focused on exploring how intestinal cells guide immune responses and the body’s symbiotic relationship between its own intestinal cells and the microflora. Dr. Podolsky is the author of more than 300 original articles, reviews and textbook chapters.
Dr. Podolsky has been an active member of the AGA since the early 1980s, serving a term as president from 2003 to 2004. He received the AGA’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007 for his contributions to basic science research. In addition, he is a past editor-in-chief of AGA’s flagship journal, Gastroenterology, and currently serves as chairman of its editorial board. He has played an active role in several national organizations.
Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
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