News Archive:

2010 Archive

  • Dr. McMasters receives CTSPGP award to develop a prognostic system incorporating gene signatures by the Commonwealth of Kentucky funded Clinical and Translational Science Pilot Grant Program at the University of Louisville.
  • Dr. Bradon J. Wilhelmi, Leonard J. Weiner Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery, will be featured on Inside Talk on Plastics on Insight-TV channel 11 and Insight channel 246 beginning Friday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. The show will air again every night at 7:30 p.m. until April 11.
  • Department of Surgery Chair Dr. Kelly McMasters appeared on WAVE 3 Listens Thursday, April 1 with Drs. Jesse Roman and Jason Chesney. They discussed Clinical Trials: What, Why and How. Please click here to view the show.
    Click here to learn more about Clinical Trials in the Department of Surgery.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Jorden, Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of General Surgery, was recently featured on WAVE3 Listens. He discussed how he is using advanced technology to help his patients. Click here to view Dr. Jorden's segment.
  • Dr. Kelly McMasters, Ben A. Reid, Sr, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, and 2009-2010 President of Southeastern Surgical Congress (SESC), delivered the Presidential Address at the 2010 SESC Annual Scientific Meeting Sunday, Feb. 21. Dr. McMasters’ talk was titled “Honor, Duty and Purpose in Surgery.
  • Dr. Tobin Named President-elect of Kentucky Medical Association
  • Dr. Susan Galandiuk, colorectal surgeon, has been named President-elect of the Society of Pelvic Surgeons.
  • Alumni Dr. David W. Retterbush has recently been appointed to the Georgia State Medical Board

    Alumni Dr. David W. Retterbush has recently been appointed to the Georgia State Medical Board by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Dr. Retterbush is a private practice general surgeon in Valdosta and is on active staff at South Georgia Medical Center, where he previously served as chief of staff and chairman of the Department of Surgery. He is a fellow with the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the Southeastern Surgical Congress. Dr. Retterbush is a charter member of the American Society of General Surgeons and the Georgia Society of General Surgeons. Dr. Retterbush completed his General Surgery residency at UofL in 1982.

  • Dr. Timir Banerjee will receive 2010 Humanitarian Award

    Dr. Timir Banerjee, close friend of the Department of Surgery for numerous years, will receive the 2010 Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The Humanitarian Award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and recognizes the extraordinary work Dr. Banerjee has done. It will be presented to Dr. Banerjee during the AANS 2010 Annual Meeting May 1 - 5 in Philadelphia.

2009 Archive

  • July 2009, Critical Care Fellow Keith Miller Awarded Prestigious Nestle Nutrition Fellowship.

    Dr. Keith Miller

    Dr. Keith Miller, a Critical Care Fellow in the Department of Surgery, has been awarded the Nestle Nutrition Fellowship. He will travel to Portland, OR for two weeks to train with trauma surgeons there, which will afford him the opportunity to observe another Trauma program and interact with other leaders in the field of trauma. He will be rounding in the ICU and working directly with their ICU nutritional support team. He also will engage in some advanced endoscopic training at UofL under the direction of Dr. Steve McClave.

    Nestle is providing him with textbooks, a feeding tube "toolbox" and full financial support for any travel. Dr. Miller wrote a very compelling personal statement/essay, which resulted in his receipt of this prestigious award. The Department of Surgery faculty and staff congratulate him on his achievement!

  • July 2009, Recent Department of Surgery graduates receive Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards.

    Recent Department of Surgery graduates Quincy J. Greene, M.D. and Romeo C. Ignacio, M.D. were among six medical residents from the University of Louisville School of Medicine selected to receive the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards.

    The recipients are chosen annually by third-year medical students based on which residents have exhibited the strongest teaching skills while serving as role models for compassionate, relationship-centered care, said Toni Ganzel, M.D., senior associate dean for students and academic affairs.

  • May 2009, Dr. Kelly McMasters featured in the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School alumni publication.
    Click here to download the publication.
  • March 2009, Department Administrative Assistant Pamela Schmidt has been named The Outstanding Administrative Professional Award of the Year by the University of Louisville Business and Professional Women.
  • March 2009, Dr. Kelly M. McMasters, chairman of the Department of Surgery, has been named President of the Southeastern Surgical Congress.
  • March 2009, Dr. Anees Chagpar, associate professor of Surgical Oncology, in the Division of Surgery, has been given an award for “The Best Paper by a New Member” at the Central Surgical Association meeting in March. She was given this prestigious award for her paper on ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast.
  • January 2009, Dr. Charles B. Ross Joins Department of Surgery as Chief of Vascular Surgery.

    Dr. Charles B. Ross

    Dr. Charles B. Ross recently joined the Department of Surgery as Chief of Vascular Surgery. A native of Kentucky, he comes to our Department from Vanderbilt University, where he served as Director of Endovascular Surgery since 2006. Prior to that, Dr. Ross practiced vascular and endovascular surgery as a partner in Vascular Specialists of Surgical Group, P.S.C. and Medical Director of the Lourdes Vascular Center in Paducah, KY.

    Dr. Ross is in charge of continued development of patient care, research and educational missions in vascular and endovascular surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Ross’ clinical and research interests have been centered on endovascular techniques and their evolving role in the treatment of arterial and venous disorders. He has written and lectured extensively on endovascular techniques, and he has provided and participated as faculty in workshops and preceptorships for vascular surgeons throughout the Southeast helping them learn the minimally invasive techniques.

    One of Ross’s primary clinical interests has focused on atherosclerotic carotid disease and its treatment to prevent stroke. Dr. Ross headed quality improvement efforts in carotid endarterectomy in Kentucky and Indiana in the mid-90s as part of the Multi-State Carotid Endarterectomy Project.

    Dr. Ross, working with Dr. William G. Wheeler, introduced carotid artery stenting as an alternative to carotid endarterectomy in high-risk surgical patients in Western Kentucky in 1996. Since that time, Dr. Ross has participated in multiple clinical trials and registries in the field of carotid artery stenting using a wide array of techniques for cerebral protection.

    Dr. Ross noted that carotid artery stenting remains a procedure with very specific and restricted indications that require additional study and refinement.

    He performs carotid endarterectomies on the majority of patients he sees who need carotid revascularization. However, he has been very pleased with the outcomes of patients he has treated using carotid stenting at Vanderbilt and looks forward to continuing this work in Louisville. “Whether we use optimal medical therapy alone, stenting, endarterectomy, or carotid replacement, our focus is to achieve the safest outcome for each individual patient. Studying how to achieve this goal is my passion.”

    Dr. Ross’ collaboration with Drs. Wheeler and Timothy Ranval in Western Kentucky at the Lourdes Vascular Center centered on a systems approach to the provision of comprehensive vascular care for patients. This began with the design and implementation of one of the first dedicated, hybrid endovascular operating rooms in the Southeast (1994), accreditation of the vascular diagnostic laboratory, multispecialty use of the radiology specials unit, support of Dr. Ranval’s efforts in development of the Lourdes Wound Care Center, and collaborative work with the region’s first dedicated, hospital-based Vascular Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kim Chester, R.N.

    These efforts gained state-wide attention when, in 2006, Lourdes gained Five-star rating in carotid surgery and was ranked as one of Kentucky’s leading institutions for the overall provision of vascular care, based upon patient outcomes registered in the early- and mid-2000s.

    Dr. Ross earned his medical degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a fellowship in vascular surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

    Dr. Ross made the transition from clinical faculty to full-time academic faculty in vascular surgery in 2006 to fully devote himself to the training of medical students, surgical reside nts, and fellows in vascular surgery and to increase clinical. To refer a patient to Dr. Ross or to learn more, please call UofL Physicians-Surgery at 502.583.8303 or visit

Research News:
  • Dr. H. Sam Zhou and his research team have been awarded an R01 grant mechanism from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to study "Adenovirus E1B55K Functions Related to Oncolytic Replication." Dr. Zhou has a laboratory with Department of Surgery Chairman Dr. Kelly McMasters. The investigators seek to study oncolytic replication of E1B55K-deleted adenoviruses and the viral protein functions related to cyclin E up-regulation in tumor cells. The long-term goal of this work is to increase the effectiveness of oncolytic cancer gene therapy.
  • Dr. Robert Martin and his research team have been awarded an NIH grant for "Prevention of reflux-induced esophageal adenocarcinoma by dietary berries." This is a two-year R03 NIH grant. They propose to use an animal model of Barrett's esophagus to study the preventive effects of 2 types of dietary berries (blueberries and black raspberries) on the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
  • Dr. Anees Chagpar and her research team have been awarded an NIH grant for "Predicting Non-Sentinel Node Metastasis in Breast Cancer Patients." This is a two-year R21 NIH grant for total amount of $333,000.
  • NIH gives more than $1 million for diabetes research. Continued...
  • An NIH R01 grant was awarded to PI Dr. Brian G. Harbrecht and his team for their research to determine the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of hepatocyte by glucagon and insulin.
  • NIH R01 grant awarded to PI Sufan Chien, M.D. and his team for research in intracellular energy in diabetic wounds.

    A group of surgeons and scientists in the Department of Surgery at University of Louisville has been awarded an RO1 Grant for their research in intracellular energy delivery in diabetic wounds. Drs. Sufan Chien, Gordon Tobin, and Kenneth Litwak started their collaboration more than two years ago to tackle a nagging problem among diabetic patients--chronic foot ulcers. Each year more than 5 million patients in the United States are severely debilitated as the result of chronic wounds.

    A major subset of wound care involves treatment of wounds in diabetic patients. The overall cost of diabetic foot problems, including loss of productivity, could be as high as $20 billion per year. Despite thousands of dressing products developed to treat wounds, and at great expense, none have shown a consistent effect.

    Dr. Chien’s group has discovered a new approach for chronic wounds that no one has ever attempted. “Our central hypothesis is that wound tissue hypoxia results in decreased availability of energy, which is the fundamental reason why some wounds do not heal,” Chien said.

    This energy is called adenosine triphosphate

    We breathe air and eat foods, but the cells do not use these raw materials directly. Foods need to be converted to ATP (with the help of oxygen) for cells to use. In a simplified sense, ATP to a living cell is like gasoline to a car. When the body develops diseases that cause a reduced blood supply, it is called ischemia,” Chien said.

    The direct consequence of ischemia is reduced oxygen and nutrients supply to cells. Almost all diabetic wounds have underlying vascular diseases causing reduced blood supply. Dr. Chien’s result indicates that in diabetic wounds, ATP content is only about 1/20 of normal skin tissue.

    In the past, free ATP was used for wounds and other ischemic conditions such as shock and organ preservation, but no consistent results have been obtained.

    The problem is unless ATP gets inside the cell, the cells cannot use it. However, free ATP is not able to get inside the cell because there is no transport mechanism to move ATP into the cell,” Chien said. The key development in Dr. Chien’s project is to use a special carrier to encapsulate ATP. The composition of this carrier is similar to the cell membrane itself-- it is non-toxic. When the carrier meets with the cell membrane, it fuses with it and delivers its contents into the cytosol. This is called “intercellular delivery of ATP.”

    “Direct intracellular energy supply for wound treatment has never been attempted before, and the relationship between increased energy supply and wound healing process is entirely unknown.” Dr. Chien said.

    Their preliminary results are very encouraging. When they tested this new approach in rabbits, it caused extremely fast granulation--granular tissue started to appear only one day after wounding. Within 4 to 5 days, the granular tissue had already covered the whole wound—a phenomenon never seen before in patients or other land animals with any other drugs.

    “In similar experimental conditions reported in the past, granular tissue was barely observed 7 days after wounding,” Dr. Chien said. “Although we still don’t know all the cellular and molecular mechanisms related to this phenomenon, the fact itself is very promising."

    Dr. Chien presented some of his results in late April 2007 at the 20th Annual Symposium on Advanced Wound Care in Tampa, Florida. The presentation attracted international attention, and some believed that was one of the best presentations at the meeting.

    “Although wounds have existed since prehistoric times, wound healing has been a long-neglected area in medicine. From time to time, renewed interest occurs sporadically, either from new research evidence or new products, but interests never seem to last. In large part, these disappointing results have been due to the development of products that treat the symptoms of wounds, rather than the fundamental cause. The plethora of creams, powders, solutions, and dressings used to promote wound healing indicates the incomplete state of knowledge on this subject. The statement that ’old ulcers in 1830 will be the older ulcer in 1860’ made in one of the first papers describing chronic wound treatment still applies today,” Dr. Chien said. “We never underestimate the complexities and difficulties of chronic wounds. As such, we will proceed very carefully and do not expect a quick fix for this problem.

    “In diabetic wounds, neuropathy, vasculopathy, immune dysfunction, and biochemical abnormalities are all involved. This is the only the first step in our efforts to combat tissue ischemic damage. Because we are continuously improving the delivery technique, we expect to make this delivery more efficient in the future,” he said.

    If successful, the technique may also have important usages in other areas where ischemia is involved, such as severe trauma, shock, stroke, chronic pulmonary diseases, heart attack, spinal cord injury, cardiopulmonary bypass, and organ transplant.”

    The new intracellular ATP delivery technique plus innovative experimental designs make the grant very attractive to the NIH. “When a new technique is developed, it always takes time to get recognized by the NIH and scientific community. We think this to be the very important first step for our program.” Dr. Chien says.

    The other members of this research team also include Michael Tseng, PhD, Professor of Anatomic Science and Neurobiology, and Joseph Banis, MD, a wound care specialist in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Louisville. Dr. Chien also has Dr. Lionel Opie, Professor of Cardiology in Cape Town, South Africa, the world’s most experienced metabolic pathway expert as his consultant in the intracellular energy delivery development for the past 10 years.

    Worldwide, it is estimated that 220 million people suffer from diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimate that approximately 22.8 million Americans (about 7% of the US population) suffer from diabetes mellitus, and almost 1 million new cases of diabetes mellitus are diagnosed each year in people 20 years of age or older. Within the diabetic population in the US approximately 15% to 25% will develop a chronic wound in their lifetime.

  • W.M. Keck Foundation grant awarded to Institute for Cellular Therapeutics for research on bone-marrow transplants.

    The University of Louisville’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics has received a grant to accelerate its research on bone-marrow transplants, a therapy with potential to treat more than 20 diseases that affect millions of people.

    The team will use the $1.75 million award from the W.M. Keck Foundation to buy new technical equipment that will improve its ability to see and analyze individual cells and to better understand cell interaction.

    “The ability to see cells ‘talk’ to each other in real time will profoundly affect our ability to develop new therapies,” said Suzanne Ildstad, institute director.

    Ildstad, who holds UofL’s Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Transplantation Research, received international acclaim in 1994 for discovering a “facilitating” cell that allows bone marrow to be transplanted from one person to another without rejection.

    The facilitating cell tricks the immune system into accepting bone marrow stem cells from an unrelated donor without life-threatening rejection.

    “Because some dysfunction or malfunction of the immune system is at work in so many diseases and medical conditions, the potential for this research is immense,” said Larry Cook, executive vice president for health affairs.

    If scientists can make bone marrow transplants safe and routine, they will be much closer to finding a cure for diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other diseases, Ildstad said.

    Such a step also would mean that organ transplants could be performed without risk of rejection and would eliminate the need for anti-rejection medicine.

    Keck, a private foundation based in Los Angeles, supports pioneering work in science, engineering and medical research. Funding from the organization generally is awarded only to leading researchers, scientific centers and universities.

    “Receiving a gift of this magnitude from the Keck Foundation is a hallmark of scientific excellence,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

    “We are proud of Dr. Ildstad, who was our first ‘Bucks for Brains’ faculty recruit,” he said. “We congratulate her and her team for winning this prestigious grant, and we hope it will lead to new help for millions of patients and their families.”

  • The pCAS pump and other pediatric heart devices under development by U of L's George Pantalos and Colleagues offer hope for thousands of infants born each year with congenital heart defects. Continued...