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Timothy R. Billiar

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University Of Pittsburgh Surgeon/Scientist Is Named The First Richard L. Simmons Professor Of Surgery​

PITTSBURGH, March 15, 2004 David A. Geller, M.D., co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers Liver Cancer Center and professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been named the university's first Richard L. Simmons Professor of Surgery.

The endowed chair, made possible by funding from former patients, students, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and colleagues, is named in honor of Dr. Simmons who served as chairman of the department of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine from 1987 to 1998. Dr. Simmons remains a distinguished service professor of surgery and chairman emeritus of that department as well as professor of molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and medical director, UPMC.

Dr. Simmons has greatly influenced Dr. Gellers career, beginning with his surgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh, which he completed under the tutelage of Dr. Simmons. Dr. Geller also pursued a three-year research fellowship in Dr. Simmons laboratory where his career as a promising research scientist developed.

No one is more deserving of this chair than Dr. Geller. Not only is he one of the premier academic surgeons in the United States but he embodies the very qualities that have made Dr. Simmons such a great surgeon, researcher and teacher. We are very proud to have David as the first Richard L. Simmons Professor of Surgery, remarked Timothy R. Billiar, M.D., chair of Pitts department of surgery.

In reflecting on his training and 16 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Geller notes, This honor has very special meaning to me as Dr. Simmons was my first surgical chairman and has been my academic role model. He taught me how to focus on a research question and Im honored to be among an entire generation of surgical scientists he has mentored.

A member of Pitts faculty since 1996, Dr. Gellers clinical specialties include liver cancer surgery and laparoscopic liver resections. He also is actively involved with clinical and research training of transplant and cancer surgeons. His research on liver preservation and the role of the human-inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene on trauma and sepsis is funded by two National Institutes of Health grants.

Dr. Geller, now age 41, was the first to clone the iNOS gene. He is internationally credited for this work and has continued his studies on the regulation of nitric oxide synthesis. He also has conducted pioneering work on liver preservation.

Dr. Geller received both undergraduate and medical degrees from Northwestern University. He continued his training at the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his surgical internship and residency. Between 1996 and 1998, he completed a dual fellowship in liver transplantation and liver cancer surgery at the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. In 1997, he was named the Samuel P. Harbison Assistant Professor of Surgery. He became co-director of the UPMC Liver Cancer Center, a program of the Starzl Institute, in 2002, and professor of surgery in Pitts department of surgery in 2003.

He holds membership in several professional and scientific societies, including the American College of Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Society of Transplantation and the Society of Surgical Oncology. Dr Geller has authored or co-authored more than 125 articles or book chapters and has given more than 150 presentations at national or international meetings.

He has received numerous research and community awards, including the George H.A. Clowes, Jr., M.D., FACS Memorial Research Career Development Award from the American College of Surgeons.

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