The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine is excited to welcome leading transplantation surgeon and stem cell researcher, Ira J. Fox, M.D. (pictured). Dr. Fox has been recruited to direct the new Center for Innovative Pediatric Regenerative Therapies, a joint program of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery, the McGowan Institute, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Dr. Fox is former senior associate dean for research at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.
“I am delighted to join the University of Pittsburgh and the outstanding research team at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine,” said Dr. Fox. “The tremendously collaborative atmosphere that I have already found in my short time here gives me great confidence in what we will be able to accomplish.”
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s historical strength in organ transplantation provides a solid foundation for the Center for Innovative Pediatric Regenerative Therapies, a program that will develop nontraditional therapies, including those based on adult stem cells, for the treatment of organ failure, cancer, and metabolic diseases. Initially, the Center will focus on finding treatments for diseases resulting from liver cell dysfunction.
“Ira Fox is recognized as a research pioneer with exceptional leadership skills. In the lab, his achievements are innovative, and he is known for his strong commitment to translational medicine,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor, health sciences, and dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “His expertise will be a real asset not only to the university, but to the whole region.”
Over the past decade, Dr. Fox has devoted his research to developing alternative ways to regenerate damaged liver cells. He was involved in a groundbreaking treatment of metabolic liver disease using an infusion of human liver cells, first reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1998.
Dr. Fox has focused his efforts on overcoming barriers to the use of liver cell transplantation in the treatment of hepatic diseases. Other areas of Dr. Fox’s expertise include gene therapy and stem cell research.
“The addition of Dr. Fox to the faculty is a real coup for Pittsburgh,” said David H. Perlmutter, M.D., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, and scientific director, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
“Liver regeneration is one of the body’s own natural miracles, and if we can discover how to harness this regenerative power elsewhere in the body, it could transform the way medicine is practiced,” said Alan J. Russell, Ph.D., director of the McGowan Institute and University Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Fox received his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did post-graduate training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York; the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco; Harvard Medical School, Boston; and was a transplant fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine under Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D. Fittingly, Dr. Fox also has an appointment as an associate member of UPMC’s Starzl Transplantation Institute, where he is collaborating with colleagues who are working on translating cellular xenotransplantation to the clinic.
“Research that Dr. Fox and his colleagues are conducting today could have a real impact on the field of transplantation,” said Timothy R. Billiar, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Prior to joining the University of Nebraska, Dr. Fox was an assistant professor of surgery at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Transplantation.
Illustration: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
UPMC Media Relations (09/08/08)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (09/09/08)
Smart Brief (09/09/08)
Pop City (09/10/08)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (09/14/08)