Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

June 28, 2007

Distinguished faculty named

Pitt has named two faculty members from the School of Medicine as distinguished professors. Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg last week named L. Dade Lunsford a Distinguished Professor of Neurological Surgery and Angus W. Thomson a Distinguished Professor of Surgery. The appointments will become effective July 1.

The rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes extraordinary and internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field.

A faculty member in Pitt’s neurological surgery department since 1980, Lunsford has achieved international acclaim as an expert in guided brain (stereotactic) surgery, a minimally invasive brain surgery technique. In 1981 Pitt became the first institution in the United States to have a dedicated intra-operative CT scanner for minimally invasive brain surgery. Since that time, more than 2,500 patients have undergone surgical procedures using this technique.

Through Lunsford, UPMC in 1987 became the first medical center in the United States equipped with the Gamma Knife, a device for performing brain surgery without an incision.

Lunsford directs UPMC’s Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, which houses the Gamma Knife. More than 8,350 patients have undergone Gamma Knife brain surgery at UPMC since 1987.

Lunsford is the Lars Leksell Professor of Neurological Surgery at Pitt. He has written more than 400 published articles and almost 200 book chapters and has served as editor or co-editor of six books. Lunsford also serves as program director for the neurosurgical surgery department’s seven-year neurological residency training program and serves as neurosurgical consultant for Pitt’s athletics teams.

He was president of the UPMC Presbyterian medical staff from 1999 to 2001 and chair of the Medical School Council of Clinical Chairs from 2001 to 2003. Lunsford served as chair of Pitt’s Department of Neurosurgery from 1997 to 2006.

Lunsford holds memberships in several professional organizations, including the Society of Neurological Surgeons; the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; the American Academy of Neurological Surgery; the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (where he served as president), and the International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society, which he co-founded and served as the inaugural president.

Currently, Lunsford chairs the medical advisory board of the International Radiosurgery Association. He also is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Thomson, who came to Pitt in 1990, is the director of transplant immunology and associate director for basic research at Pitt’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. He also is a professor of immunology and molecular genetics and biochemistry at Pitt.

His research focuses on understanding and improving the immune system’s acceptance of transplanted organs, particularly livers.

Thomson specializes in developing means to regulate the response of an individual’s immune system to a transplant. He focuses on understanding the role of particular immune system cells (called dendritic cells) in the body’s acceptance of a transplant with the goal of developing more effective immunosuppressive therapies to improve long-term outcomes for transplant recipients.

Thomson has received numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants. He also has served on the scientific advisory board of the NIH-funded Immune Tolerance Network and on the steering committee of the NIH’s Non-Human Primate Transplantation Tolerance Research Cooperative Study Group since 2002.

Thomson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy of science and letters. He also is a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists.

Thomson served on the board of directors of the American Society of Transplantation from 2000 to 2003. He is founding associate editor of the society’s research publication, the American Journal of Transplantation. In 2000, he received the society’s Basic Science Established Investigator Award, which recognizes full professors who have made significant contributions to the transplantation field. Thomson serves on the basic science and education committees of the Transplantation Society, an international organization promoting research and the advancement and ethical practice of organ transplantation. At Pitt, Thomson sits on the School of Medicine’s executive committee and the selection committee for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, an award he won in 2004.

Thomson has served on and chaired study sections for the NIH, the American Heart Association and the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation. He has published more than 330 peer-reviewed scientific articles and more than 100 reviews and book chapters, and edited or co-edited 12 advanced textbooks, including those on immune cell biology.

Scotland’s University of Aberdeen awarded Thomson a Doctor of Science degree in 1986, and England’s University of Birmingham presented him with a DSc in Medicine in 2004 for his achievements in immunology and transplantation research.

Leave a Reply