Chair’s Letter

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Timothy Eberlein, MD

For decades, our physicians and scientists have conducted multidisciplinary basic science research to better understand the root cause of our most daunting medical challenges. Today, that work continues, with our efforts strategically focused on efficiently translating scientific findings into new diagnostics and therapies and on improving outcomes at the population level.

The breadth of the Department of Surgery’s translational research can be seen in this report. The result: exciting progress in every division. In breast cancer, that progress is a promising vaccine that appears to prime patients’ immune systems to attack tumor cells and help slow cancer’s progression. In urology, it is developing a 12-marker panel to diagnose aggressive prostate cancer and spare men with slow-growing cancer unnecessary treatment. In public health sciences, our newest division, we are empowering more than 100 community members to advise researchers on how to more effectively conduct their research.

Our researchers think big, with hepatobiliary-pancreatic surgeons assembling a multidisciplinary team to look at two drugs and two immunologic approaches for treating pancreatic cancer, with the goal of using a Cancer Frontier Fund award as a stepping stone to a much larger national grant. The faculty’s scope is also broad, with many surgeons and postgraduate trainees earning a master of population health sciences (MPHS) degree and joining our public health sciences faculty in conducting clinical effectiveness and outcomes research.

Another part of our mission is training and mentoring future generations of researchers. Our faculty extends general surgery residents a broad array of translational training opportunities, from basic science research that leads to clinical trials, to clinical effectiveness research to the MPHS program. The newest option — earning an MBA in the Washington University Olin Business School — allows residents to complete practicums in health-care quality studies.

More than ever, we are focused on translating scientific knowledge into solutions that provide our patients the best possible outcomes.

Timothy Eberlein, MD
William K. Bixby Professor of Surgery
Chair, Department of Surgery
Washington University School of Medicine
Director, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center