University of Chicago Medicine has recruited an internationally renowned surgeon to elevate and expand its organ-transplant program.
Dr. John Fung, formerly head of general surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and a 1982 graduate of the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, is returning to his roots in medicine to become director of UC's newly created Transplantation Institute.
Fung, 60, has more than 30 years of experience in kidney, liver, pancreas, islet and intestinal transplantation. He earned a Ph.D. in immunology from UC, was a transplant surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and has published more than 1,000 articles and book chapters.
“I want to build a top-notch program, not only clinically, but research- and teaching-wise, the traditional hallmarks of academic medicine,” Fung said in an interview from New Zealand, where he was celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary. “I see some innovations I could bring from my time in Pittsburgh and my time in Cleveland that could benefit Chicago and the region. It's not a reboot. We're going to add critical mass.”
The transplant programs Fung developed at the Cleveland Clinic are highly regarded, said Dr. Jeffrey Matthews, chairman of UC's department of surgery. “We'd like to see the same, and build on that success at the University of Chicago," he said.
“Transplantation is one of the most important and growing areas in surgery, with many innovations on all sorts of organs,” Matthews said. “We feel it's important to be increasingly at the vanguard.”
In Illinois, UC Medicine is ranks fourth by volume of transplants. Other major transplant centers include Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, Loyola University Medical Center, Evanston Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center, University of Illinois Medical Center, and the Lurie Children's Hospital.