Thomas Earl Starzl
March 11, 1926
|Died||March 4, 2017 90) (aged|
|Alma mater||BA, Westminster College, 1947|
MD, Northwestern University, 1952
PhD, Northwestern University, 1952
|Known for||Performed the first human liver transplant in 1963|
Developed the clinical applications of cyclosporin
Contributed to the field of immunosuppression
|Fields|| Transplantation surgery,|
|Institutions||University of Pittsburgh|
Thomas Earl Starzl (March 11, 1926 – March 4, 2017) was an American physician, researcher, and expert on organ transplants. He performed the first human liver transplants, and has often been referred to as "the father of modern transplantation."A documentary, entitled "Burden of Genius," covering the medical and scientific advances spearheaded by Starzl himself, was released to the public in 2017 in a series of screenings. Dr. Starzl also penned his autobiography, "The Puzzle People: Memoirs Of A Transplant Surgeon," which was published in 1992.
Starzl was born on March 11, 1926, in Le Mars, Iowa, the son of newspaper editor and science fiction writer Roman Frederick Starzl and Anna Laura Fitzgerald who was a teacher and a nurse. He was the second of four siblings.Originally intending to become a priest in his teenage years, Starzl changed his plans drastically when his mother died from breast cancer in 1947.
He attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Starzl attended Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, where in 1950 he received a Master of Science degree in anatomy and in 1952 earned both a Ph.D. in neurophysiology and an M.D. with distinction.While attending medical school, he established a long friendship with Professor Loyal Davis, MD, a neurosurgeon (whose wife Edith Luckett Davis' daughter from her first marriage was Nancy Reagan ).
Starzl spent an extra year at medical school, using the additional time to complete a doctorate in neurophysiology, in 1952. He wrote a seminal paper describing a technique to record the electrical responses of deep brain structures to sensory stimuli such as a flash of light or a loud sound. The paper is highly cited, having been referenced in 384 articles by January 2019.
In 1959, he gained a Markle scholarship.
After obtaining his medical degree, Starzl trained in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. At both places, he conducted lab and animal research, showing a keen interest in liver biology.
Starzl was a surgeon and researcher in the then nascent field of organ transplantation at the University of Colorado from 1962 until his move to the University of Pittsburgh in 1981.
The Institute for Scientific Information released information in 1999 that documented that his work had been cited more than any other researcher in the world. Between 1981 and June 1998, he was cited 26,456 times.
His autobiographical memoir, The Puzzle People, was named by The Wall Street Journal as the third best book on doctors' livesand was written in three months.
Starzl's most notable accomplishments include:
Starzl was named one of the most important people of the Millennium, ranking No. 213, according to the authors of "1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking the Men and Women Who Shaped the Millennium " (Kodansha America, 332 pp.)
Starzl has also received honorary degrees from 26 universities in the United States and abroad, which include 12 in Science, 11 in Medicine, 2 in Humane Letters, and 1 in Law.
In 2006, at a celebration for his 80th birthday, the University of Pittsburgh renamed one of its newest medical research buildings the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the field.On October 15, 2007, the Western Pennsylvania American Liver Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh honored Starzl by dedicating Lothrop Street, near his office and the biomedical research tower bearing his name, as "Thomas E. Starzl Way".
A statue honoring Starzl was unveiled on June 24, 2018 on the University of Pittsburgh campus near the school's Cathedral of Learning.
Having retired from clinical and surgical service since 1991, Starzl devoted his time to research endeavors and remained active as professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) program named in his honor: the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. Since his “retirement,” he earned the additional distinctions of being one of the most prolific scientists in the world as well as the most cited scientist in the field of clinical medicine.
Organ transplantation is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient, to replace a damaged or missing organ. The donor and recipient may be at the same location, or organs may be transported from a donor site to another location. Organs and/or tissues that are transplanted within the same person's body are called autografts. Transplants that are recently performed between two subjects of the same species are called allografts. Allografts can either be from a living or cadaveric source.
Joseph Edward Murray was an American plastic surgeon who performed the first successful human kidney transplant on identical twins Richard and Ronald Herrick on December 23, 1954.
Edward Donnall "Don" Thomas was an American physician, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, and director emeritus of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 1990 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph E. Murray for the development of cell and organ transplantation. Thomas and his wife and research partner Dottie Thomas developed bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for leukemia.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is an American integrated global nonprofit health enterprise that has 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals with more than 8,000 licensed beds, 800 clinical locations including outpatient sites and doctors' offices, a 3.8 million-member health insurance division, as well as commercial and international ventures. It is closely affiliated with its academic partner, the University of Pittsburgh. It is considered a leading American health care provider, as its flagship facilities have ranked in U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" of the approximately 15 to 20 best hospitals in America for over 15 years. As of 2016, its flagship hospital UPMC Presbyterian was ranked 12th nationally among the best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and ranked in 15 of 16 specialty areas when including UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. This does not include UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh which ranked in the top 10 of pediatric centers in a separate US News ranking.
Dr. A. M. James Shapiro is a British-Canadian surgeon best known for leading the clinical team that developed the Edmonton Protocol – an islet transplant procedure for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Shapiro is Professor of Surgery, Medicine, and Surgical Oncology at the University of Alberta and the Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program and the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program with Alberta Health Services.
Sir Roy Yorke Calne, FRCP, FRCS, FRS is a British surgeon and pioneer in organ transplantation.
Stormie Dawn Jones was the world's first recipient of a successful simultaneous heart and liver organ transplant. On February 14, 1984, under the direction of Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, Drs. Byers W. Shaw Jr. and Henry T. Bahnson replaced the six-year-old's heart and liver at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stormie had a condition which raised her blood cholesterol to 10 times normal levels. The condition, a severe form of familial hypercholesterolemia, and the resultant high levels of low density lipoprotein that damaged her organs, gave her two heart attacks when she was six years old. The case showed that the liver controls blood cholesterol and that high cholesterol is controllable, and was part of the research on cholesterol and the liver that won Joseph L. Goldstein and Michael S. Brown the Nobel prize in medicine in 1985. Stormie died on November 11, 1990. Her death was related to rejection of the heart transplant she had received in 1984.
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP), popularly known simply as Children's, is part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the only hospital in Greater Pittsburgh dedicated solely to the care of infants, children, teens and young adults through around age 26. UPMC Children's also sometimes treats older adults that require pediatric care. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and features a state-verified level 1 pediatric trauma center, one of four in the state. CHP also has a rooftop helipad for emergent transport of pediatric patients.
Ignazio Roberto Maria Marino is an Italian transplant surgeon who was Mayor of Rome from 2013 to 2015.
Paul Ichiro Terasaki was an American scientist in the field of human organ transplant technology, and professor emeritus of surgery at UCLA School of Medicine.
Mehmet Haberal, is the founder of Başkent University in Ankara, Turkey, best known for becoming the first transplant surgeon in Turkey after leading the team that performed Turkey's first living-related kidney transplant in 1975, after he returned from surgical training under the mentorship of American surgeon Thomas Starzl, with whom he also performed some of the longest surviving early liver transplantations.
Dr. Velma Scantlebury GCM also Velma Scantlebury-White is a Barbadian-born American transplant surgeon. She was the first Black woman transplant surgeon of the United States. She has received many honors in her career, having been named to both the "Best Doctors in America" and "Top Doctors in America" lists multiple times.
William G. Kaelin Jr. is an American Nobel laureate physician-scientist. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard University and the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute. His laboratory studies tumor suppressor proteins. In 2016, Kaelin received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the AACR Princess Takamatsu Award. He also won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019 along with Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza.
Pankaj Chandak is an Indian-born British surgeon who made innovations in the use of 3D printing in paediatric kidney transplant surgery. He has also undertaken work in education, public engagement, presenting demonstrations, and acting in The Crown television series. He graduated from Guy's and St Thomas' University of London medical school and was an anatomy demonstrator under Professor Harold Ellis CBE.
Rose Marie Toussaint is a practicing Black woman liver transplant surgeon in the United States.
René Küss was a French urologist and transplant surgeon who made pioneering contributions in renal tract surgery and kidney transplantation with the establishment of transplant programs. At a time of unavoidable transplant rejection, he was involved in two particularly historic transplant operations. The first was a human-to-human extraperitoneal kidney transplant procedure in 1951 and later a pig-to-human kidney transplant in 1966, both of which ended in abrupt rejection. He later introduced kidney transplantation schedules involving at first irradiation, later immunosuppressants, living-related and unrelated donors and later organs from deceased donors.
Ernesto Pompeo Molmenti is an American transplant surgeon, scientist, and author. Currently practicing in Long Island, New York. He is Chief of Surgical Innovation and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at North Shore University Hospital / Northwell Health, and Professor of Surgery, Medicine, and Pediatrics at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He is known for his description of the “Syndromic Incidence of Ovarian Cancer after Liver Transplantation, with Special Reference to Anteceding Breast Cancer,” and for the development of the vascular reconstruction technique that has been named "Molmenti technique".
UPMC Presbyterian is a 900-bed non-profit research and academic hospital located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, providing tertiary care for the Western Pennsylvania region and beyond. It comprises the Presbyterian campus of the combined UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside hospital entity. The medical center is a part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health system and is the flagship hospital of the system. UPMC Presbyterian also features a state verified Level 1 Trauma Center, 1 of 3 in Pittsburgh. Although UPMC Presbyterian has no pediatric services, Presby has the equipment to stabilize and transfer pediatric emergency cases to the nearby UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Carl-Gustav Groth was a Swedish transplant surgeon. He studied in Colorado under the supervision of transplantation pioneer Thomas Starzl, and returned to Sweden to work at the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital, where he performed the first pancreas, liver and islet cell transplantation surgeries in Sweden.
Russell Walker Strong, is an Australian transplant surgeon. He pioneered several techniques for liver transplantation, including reduced-size liver transplantation, split-liver transplantation, and living donor liver transplantation.