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Biological Sciences Division

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Immunotherapy breakthrough

As T cells become the latest heroes in the battle against cancer, UChicago researchers work to extend their superpowers

Dean’s Letter

Dear Colleagues,

T Immunotherapy is revolutionizing the way we treat cancer. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine are building on its promise.

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD The Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs The University of Chicago

his fall, the University of Chicago Medicine became the first institution in the country to offer an FDA-approved cell-based gene therapy for both children and adults with certain types of blood cancers. CAR T-cell therapy is a revolutionary immunotherapy that uses modified versions of a patient’s own blood cells to target and destroy cancer cells. Since the journal Science chose immunotherapy as the “Breakthrough of the Year” just four years ago, the advances have been remarkable. As John Easton writes in our cover story, oncologists are becoming “accustomed to taking care of patients who at first were clearly, unquestionably dying and then suddenly, almost miraculously, were not.” Some of these advances are built on discoveries made at the University of Chicago. Easton, a veteran science writer on UChicago Medicine’s communications team, looks back at the history of immunotherapy research on our campus. And he takes us inside the lab of Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, a prominent leader in immunotherapy, whose team is working to discover why it works for some patients, but not for others. But what if we could prevent people from developing cancer, or asthma, or food allergies? The new Duchossois Family Institute: Harnessing the Microbiome and Immunity for Human Health will support research to further understanding of how the human immune system, the microbiome and genetic factors interact to maintain optimal health. The institute was established by an incredibly generous, $100 million gift from Craig Duchossois, chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group Inc. and a member of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board since 1988; his wife, Janet Duchossois; and The Duchossois Family Foundation. Read about the new institute on page 4. Such philanthropic support is transformative to an institution, and we are indeed in the midst of transformation. This fall, the University of Chicago Medicine introduced a new logo that signals our transformation from an academic medical center in Hyde Park into a health system with multiple care locations. Recently, I assumed the new position of president of the health system and executive vice president for biology and medicine. A search is underway to fill the position of dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritkzer School of Medicine. I will remain as dean until the new dean takes office. These past years have been the most interesting and rewarding of my professional career, and I thank you for your continued support. In this issue of Medicine on the Midway, you will also read about alumni who have made significant contributions to our missions of leadership and education. Elliott Sigal, MD’81, PhD, a retired pharmaceutical executive, recently established UChicago’s first fellowship in cancer immunotherapy. Husain Sattar, AB’93, MD’01, embodies the truth that a sharp intellect combined with a diverse life experience can transform complex concepts into more accessible subject material. His online course on the fundamentals of pathology is popular among medical students throughout the country. I hope you’ll enjoy this issue, and I wish you the best for a happy, healthy holiday season.


Immunotherapy takes center stage MEDICINE MIDWAY UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

on the


Biological Sciences Division

FA LL 201 7

Immunotherapy breakthrough

The recent FDA approval of CAR T-cell therapy intensified the spotlight on immunotherapy, which over the past decade has been changing the outlook for patients with some types of cancer. The cover story looks at high-profile research at the University of Chicago Medicine as scientists work to extend the benefits of immune-based therapies to more patients. C OV E R S T O R Y

As T cells become the latest heroes in the battle against cancer, UChicago researchers work to extend their superpowers

Features 18

Path to Pathoma


How pathologist Husain Sattar, AB’93, MD’01, created the Step 1 review course that made him a household name among medical students throughout the country.

25 First in glide UChicago paleontologists discover two 160 million-year-old fossils showing that early mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees. m APRIL I. NEANDER/UCHICAGO


Act 2 Retired R&D chief Elliott Sigal MD’81, PhD, focuses on helping researchers take cancer immunotherapy to the next level. m



22 Turning 50

A look back at the University of Chicago MSTP, one of the longest running dual-degree programs funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Departments 4 Duchossois family’s $100 million gift establishes institute focused on optimizing health

Midway News 3 Brand refresh, new leadership structure as UChicago Medicine transforms into a health system



on the

Fall 2017 Volume 70, No. 2 A publication of the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Division. Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. Email us at Write us at Editor, Medicine on the Midway The University of Chicago Medicine 950 E. 61st St., WSSC 325 Chicago, IL 60637

BSD News 26 Alumni engage with trainees through myCHOICE 29 Graduate students honored for their commitment to increasing diversity in science


Pritzker News

The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Biological Sciences Executive Leadership Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, the Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor, Dean of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs for the University of Chicago T. Conrad Gilliam, PhD, the Marjorie I. and Bernard A. Mitchell Distinguished Service Professor, Dean for Basic Science, Biological Sciences Division Sharon O’Keefe, President of the University of Chicago Medical Center Holly J. Humphrey, MD  ’83, the Ralph W. Gerard Professor in Medicine, Dean for Medical Education, Pritzker School of Medicine

31 Avid knitter Daniel Lam, MS4, takes his talents into the anatomy lab


Letter from the Dean

Editorial Committee Chair Chris Albanis, AB  ’96, MD  ’00 Lampis Anagnostopoulos, SB  ’57, MD  ’61 Arnold Calica, SM  ’61, MD  ’75 J. Palmer Greene, MS3 Matt Present, MS3 Jerrold Seckler, MD  ’68 Coleman Seskind, AB  ’55, SB  ’56, SM/MD  ’59 Jack Stockert, AB  ’05, MBA  ’10, MD  ’10 University of Chicago Medicine Marketing and Communications William “Skip” Hidlay, Vice President, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Anna Madrzyk, Editor Gretchen Rubin, Associate Editor


33 Pritzker unseats the Law School to win the Phoenix Cup 34 Reunion 2017 36 Reunion class photos 39 Your News 40 In Memoriam

Editorial Contributors David Arndt, PhD Nancy Averett Victoria Bolf, PhD John Easton Ashley Heher Ellen McGrew April I. Neander Matt Present, MS3 Colleen Radzevich Gretchen Rubin Rebecca Silverman Jean A. Williams Matt Wood Lorna Wong Molly Woulfe Claire Zulkey

Photo Contributors Darryl Edwards Rob Hart Todd Joyce, Joyce Photography Robert Kozloff Jean Lachat Ian Martin Photography Bruce Powell Richard Shay Joe Sterbenc Michael Tropea Ben Vigeant Joel Wintermantle Nancy Wong Molly Woulfe Pritzker School of Medicine Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library Design Wilkinson Design


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Midway Midway News

Dean Polonsky assumes new leadership role BY LORNA WONG

UChicago Medicine leaders Sharon O’Keefe and Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, will have new roles following changes in the leadership structure that reflect the growth into a comprehensive academic health system.



enneth S. Polonsky, MD, has been named Executive Vice President of the University for Biology and Medicine, and President of the UChicago Medicine health system. In this new role, Polonsky will be responsible for the oversight, strategic development and integration of the University of Chicago Medicine, the Biological Sciences Division, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the physician practice and network, and community partners in joint health care delivery programs. He will continue to work closely with the University of Chicago’s provost and be responsible to the Medical Center’s board. “I am grateful to the president and provost for supporting the evolution of my role in such a positive direction filled with promise and opportunity,” said Polonsky, the Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor. “The past seven years as the dean have been the most interesting and rewarding of my professional career.

Interacting with outstanding faculty, staff, students and trainees has been the highlight.” As a result of the new leadership structure, two new positions have been created. The dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine will have broad responsibility and fully delegated authority for the academic missions of research and education, and the connectivity of these missions to the rest of the University. The chief physician and dean of clinical affairs will have responsibility for the physician practices connected to the entire health care enterprise. An executive search is underway for both of these positions. “We believe these changes will create a broader and more robust leadership team, and greatly increase the ability of the faculty to work with the dean to build the eminence of our science and education programs as we simultaneously continue to see growth in our health care system,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier in an announcement. Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, will also serve as the chief operating officer of the UChicago Medicine health system. Polonsky will continue to serve as dean until the new dean takes office.


Lectures explore ethics of trauma care


thical Issues in Violence, Trauma and Trauma Surgery” is the theme of the 36th annual MacLean Center Interdisciplinary Lecture Series. The lecture series is co-sponsored by the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and the University of Chicago Medicine Trauma Center. Selwyn O. Rogers Jr., MD, MPH, chief of trauma and acute care surgery and founding director of the Trauma Center, opened the series in October with his talk, “Intentional Violence as a Disease: Bending the Moral Arc toward Justice and Healing.”



The lectures will be held on most Wednesdays when the University is in session from now until May 9. Speakers include local and national experts in trauma surgery, public health, bioethics and law enforcement, as well as community and faith leaders. The lectures are free and held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Billings Auditorium (P-117) on the medical campus. For a schedule or to register, please visit Lectures will be recorded for viewing on the MacLean Center’s YouTube channel.

“ UChicago Medicine is now much more than an academic medical center

New logo signals UChicago Medicine’s transformation into a health system A new, refreshed brand reflects the University

of Chicago Medicine’s transformation into a health system with an expanding geographic reach, offering a continuum of care. Key features of the new brand include: ■■

A larger University of Chicago shield to reflect the academic relationship between the University and the health system;


Abbreviation of “University of Chicago Medicine” to “UChicago Medicine” for a bolder look and placement of the “At the Forefront” tagline in a more prominent position to communicate the brand’s leadership position in medical care, research, education and more;


A more modern typeface.

“We are presenting a new face to Chicago, the nation and the world,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center and chief operating officer of the UChicago Medicine health system.

in Hyde Park, and the time is right for us to show that transformation through our logo and a broadened

The need to develop a new brand came after UChicago Medicine’s merger with Ingalls in October 2016, accelerating the expansion into a health system. As work was underway to integrate administrative and clinical operations, it was also imperative to define a brand that would reflect the combined vision of both organizations — to provide convenient, communitybased services that are connected to world-class specialty care. Under the new architecture, UChicago Medicine is the umbrella master brand and Ingalls is a supporting entity, a branding approach that preserves the 94-year history of the community hospital system in Chicago’s Southland. The branding initiative was shaped by an extensive discovery process that included interviews with 100 stakeholders throughout both organizations, focus groups with consumers and patients, and the results of a brand reputation study.

brand promise of being at the forefront of medicine, science and education.” Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs The University of Chicago

— Lorna Wong


Countdown to adult trauma care DECEMBER 29, 2017 Our new, expanded emergency department is scheduled to open. MAY 1, 2018 Level 1 trauma services are set to begin, pending state approval, providing care for adults with serious injuries from falls, motor vehicle crashes, violent crimes and other emergencies.

Five acclaimed trauma, acute care and critical care surgeons have joined Selwyn O. Rogers Jr., MD, MPH, third from right, founding director of the UChicago Medicine Trauma Center, and Gary An, MD, far left, trauma faculty member. From left, the new surgeons are Kenneth Wilson, MD, former director of pediatric trauma at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan; David Hampton, MD, MEng, from R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland; Priya Prakash, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Cone, MD, MHS, from Los Angeles County Medical Center; and Peter Bendix, MD, MPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.


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Midway Midway News

$100 million gift supports ‘new science of wellness’ The initiative brings together the University of Chicago’s strengths in genetics, immunology, microbiome and big data to study how to harness the body’s natural defenses.


“The goal is for the knowledge we generate here to enable people to foster health and


he Duchossois Family Institute at the University of Chicago Medicine seeks to accelerate research and interventions based on how the human immune system, microbiome and genetics interact to maintain health. The institute was established with a $100 million gift from Craig Duchossois, chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group Inc.; his wife, Janet Duchossois; and The Duchossois Family Foundation. The foundation’s gift was made possible in part by the thoughtfulness of the late Bruce Duchossois. This transformative gift will support development of a “new science of wellness” aimed at preserving health and complementing medicine’s traditional focus on disease treatment. By providing resources and research infrastructure, The Duchossois

Family Institute: Harnessing the Microbiome and Immunity for Human Health will allow faculty and students to focus on preventing disease by optimizing the body’s own defenses and finding new ways to maintain well-being. With the embedded expertise of the University’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, they will work aggressively to bring breakthroughs to market through partnerships with industry, venture capitalists, government agencies, like-minded philanthropists and the public. “The Duchossois Family Institute will draw on the creativity and skill of University researchers across many fields in bringing new perspectives to medical science oriented toward making an impact that greatly benefits human lives,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.

wellness within their own bodies, instead of responding to a diagnosis of illness.

Research and development platforms

Our relationship with the University of Chicago and its

The Duchossois Family Institute will support leading-edge technologies and services, including:

uniquely collaborative approach made it a superb place to make a transformational investment and


A clinical repository to maintain biological samples


Microbial cultivation and analysis tools


Next-generation platform to identify biomarkers that mediate between the microbiome and immune system


Medicinal chemistry to pinpoint biomarkers and develop more effective therapies


High-throughput genetic sequencing for microbial DNA


A data commons for sharing large amounts of microbial, environmental and medical information

continue that partnership.” Ashley Duchossois Joyce, AM’01 President of The Duchossois Family Foundation



“ We are honored and privileged to be the Members of The Duchossois Family Foundation are, from left, standing: Craig J. Duchossois, Janet Duchossois, Ilaria Woodward, Jessica Swoyer Green, Dayle Duchossois Fortino. Seated: Ashley Duchossois Joyce, AM’01, left, Richard L. Duchossois, Kimberly Duchossois.

beneficiary of such enormous generosity and are excited by what the science can accomplish. PHOTO BY RICHARD SHAY

The gift invests in core strengths of UChicago Medicine: our basic science research and our ability to quickly translate that research for the benefit of patients.” Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs The University of Chicago

“We are already seeing the life-changing effects that microbiome research can have on society. The Institute enables us to provide dedicated

“We are grateful for the Duchossois family’s remarkable level of engagement in establishing this innovative alliance between medical experts and entrepreneurs.” The amount is the largest single gift in support of UChicago Medicine and brings the family’s lifetime charitable contributions to the academic medical center to $137 million. That amount includes a $21 million gift in 1994 to establish the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, which is home to outpatient specialty clinics, diagnostic centers and treatment facilities at UChicago Medicine. Until now, much of the research on the microbiome — the community of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms living in the body, primarily the digestive tract — and its relation to human health has focused on its relationship to disease. Recent discoveries, many at UChicago, demonstrate that the genetic material encoded within the microbiome is a critical factor in fine-tuning the immune system and can be powerful in maintaining well-being and preventing disease.

The scientific focus of The Duchossois Family Institute was developed over two years of discussions between faculty, led by T. Conrad Gilliam, PhD, dean for basic science and the Marjorie I. and Bernard A. Mitchell Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Human Genetics, and members of the family. The Institute will bring together investigators across the University of Chicago as well as affiliates at Argonne National Laboratory, the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and eventually many more partners. In addition, the University will embed commercialization specialists from its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to promote participation and support of the business community to further accelerate innovation. “Sustainability and entrepreneurship are critical to the success of this new endeavor,” said Craig Duchossois, a longtime trustee of both the University and the medical center. “The fact that we are able to leverage so many resources at one university means we can aggressively advance the progress of this new science and help society.”

entrepreneurial resources for our scientists to help them advance their early stage discoveries and interventions that have potential for significant positive social and economic impact. That means their research can be quickly developed and deployed into treatments dedicated to improving human health.” John Flavin Associate Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Head of the Polsky Center

Watch a video to learn more about The Duchossois Family Institute and the new science of wellness:


FALL 2017


Immunotherapy’s power and promise Therapies that use the body’s immune system are revolutionizing the way we treat cancer. University of Chicago researchers are helping lead the way.



ick whatever cliché you want, medical oncologist Jason Luke, MD, says. Revolution. Game changer. Sea change. They all apply.

“We are talking about diseases where we used to tell patients during

their first clinic visit that they were going to die from cancer,” said Luke, who specializes in melanoma — including rare forms such as uveal (ocular) and mucosal — and advanced solid tumors. Now he and his colleagues around the country are growing more accustomed to taking care of patients who at first were clearly, unquestionably dying and then suddenly, almost miraculously, were not.



“ We are talking about diseases where we used to meet patients for the first time in clinic and by the end of that visit have to tell them that they were going to die from cancer. Now, more and more often, they find that they are not anywhere near dying. It’s hard for people outside the field to grasp how significant and encouraging that is.” Jason Luke, MD Assistant professor of medicine

This revolution in cancer treatment is driven by immunotherapy: Checkpoint inhibitors. Monoclonal antibodies. Cancer vaccines. And the newest superhero in this crusade against cancer, CAR T-cell therapy. Immunotherapies have emerged to find, test and implement strategies that enhance the immune system, upgrading its ability to get rid of cancer cells while reining in its overzealous efforts. “When it works, it works,” said Luke, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. For most cancers, the response rate is about 20 percent, but the patients who do respond to immunotherapy do really well, he said. “We’re beginning to see patients from early clinical trials — those who started therapy four or five years ago and have been off treatment for a year or more — without a recurrence.” The challenge now is to multiply the benefits and increase the yield. How it works: Checkpoint inhibitors Cancer immunotherapy, like diplomacy, is about opening doors and crossing boundaries. The core problem has been enabling each patient’s internal anti-cancer tools, especially specific sets of T cells, to slip over the border and into the tumor. The immune system should be able to get rid of any aberrant, hyper-proliferative cells without much trouble. But tumors, like a James Bond movie villain, seem to have their own malignant ideas, as well as sophisticated biotechnology. They can lock the doors, limit access, throw up roadblocks. The primary obstacle, known as a “checkpoint,” even has a Bond-like name — programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1). This cell-surface receptor is found on T cells, one of the body’s primary anti-cancer warriors. PD-1 is one part of a two-piece “off switch” that can calm down an overactive or misdirected immune response, preventing autoimmune diseases. It helps keep T cells from attacking other cells in the body. When PD-1 on T cells connects with its frequent partner — programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1),

found on normal as well as cancer cells — the contact, not unlike a handshake, instructs the T cell to back off, leave the other cells alone. Tumors evade the immune system by displaying volumes of PD-L1. One type of immunotherapy uses monoclonal antibodies that target either PD-1 or PD-L1 to block this interaction. This can open the gates for T cells, restoring the desired immune response against cancer cells. These drugs have shown a great deal of promise in treating many types of cancer. PHOTO BY NANCY WONG

In late 2013, Science, the leading U.S. scientific journal, named cancer immunotherapy, specifically checkpoint inhibitors, “Breakthrough of the Year.” “For physicians accustomed to losing every patient with advanced disease, the numbers bring a hope they couldn’t have fathomed a few years ago…. Some cancers will not yield to immunotherapy for many years, if ever,” the author predicted, but even in “the fluid state oncology now finds itself, this much is certain: One book has closed, and a new one has opened.”

Jason Luke, MD, talks with one of his immunotherapy patients, Rev. Reinhard Sternemann, who is being treated for melanoma.


FALL 2017


Today, there are more than 1,000 immunotherapy trials underway in the U.S., and that number keeps growing.

Why don’t more patients respond? It’s not that hard to get tumor control in a mouse, says Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, the AbbVie Foundation Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology. In the clinic, however, where it matters so much more, success has not been so easy. Gajewski, an editor for Cancer, Cancer Discovery, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer; past president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer; recipient of PHOTO BY NANCY WONG

Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, and his team are studying why immunotherapy works for some patients and not others.

an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health — and, according to OncLive, one of the 12 “Giants of Cancer Care” for 2017 — has become a national leader in the effort to unravel the big problem with cancer immunotherapy: Why doesn’t it work more often for humans? In most patients, “we have known for more than 20 years that you can make a tumor cell line from their cancer, derive T cells from their blood, grow them up, mix them together in the lab, and the T cells will kill the cancer cells,” Gajewski said. “But then why didn’t most patients’ immune systems eliminate the tumor on their own?” Gajewski and colleagues showed that a large proportion of human cancers have activated T cells that have entered the tumor, but that inhibitory processes shut them back down. One of these key pathways is the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction, which is broadly involved in

many cancer types, hence the rapid FDA approvals of drugs targeting this pathway across multiple human cancers. Most physicians have been thrilled by the unprecedented success of the new treatments. Gajewski’s team, early adapters, has been frustrated. They are focused on the failures. “Oddly enough,” he said, “that focus — why doesn’t every patient respond — has been really useful for us, to identify new therapeutic strategies to expand efficacy further.” The desirable anti-tumor T cells within the tumor site are held in check not just by PD-1 but by several other mechanisms. Among them are Tregs, short for Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. These peacekeeper cells “suppress unruly immune responses,” said Peter Savage, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathology. “They prevent autoimmune diseases, like arthritis, but they are thought to be a major barrier to immunotherapy.” The difficulty is finding ways to tone down Tregs in the tumor setting without causing autoimmune mayhem somewhere else, a problem that is under active investigation. Checkpoint inhibitors don’t directly treat the disease. They facilitate each patient’s immune response. And no two people have an identical immune system. “In immunotherapy, your immune system is the therapeutic entity,” Gajewski said. “For example, our lab just identified an inherited genetic polymorphism, a variation that seems to make the immune response stronger. If that gene defines a new pathway that can be drugged, then immunotherapy can be improved by targeting the host. The key point is that, in immunotherapy, the drug is not your treatment — your body’s T cells are the treatment.” Gajewski’s team recently identified another key component, the role of the host microbiome. In 2015, he and colleagues were surprised to discover that mice from one supplier tended to have a robust spontaneous immune response to melanoma tumors implanted under the skin. Mice from a different supplier had a much weaker response. When the researchers mixed the mice from both cages together, they found that both sets of mice had a robust response. Gajewski’s team traced the change to a strain of bacteria known as Bifidobacterium. The anti-cancer effects of the bacteria were comparable to treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. A similar human study from his group that relies on stool samples from patients is “quite compelling,” Gajewski said. The continued on page 12



UChicago’s checkpoint connection The series of discoveries that led to today’s checkpoint blockers began almost 30 years ago. In the early 1990s, James Allison, PhD, then at the University of California at Berkeley, recognized that a T cell surface molecule called cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) was an inhibitor of T cell activation. Two University of Chicago researchers played key roles as the clinical significance of Allison’s discovery unfolded. Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, and Craig Thompson, MD, soon realized that this molecule was part of a pair, often likened to a brake and a gas pedal. CTLA-4 was the brake. The other molecule, CD28, was the pedal.

showed that mice genetically engineered to lack CTLA-4 died of aggressive autoimmune-like disorders. Their T cells, pedal to the metal and lacking a functional brake, careened out of control. In 1996, Science published Allison’s three-page paper, “Enhancement of Antitumor Immunity by CTLA-4 Blockade.” It showed that injecting CTLA-4 antibodies into mice could take the brakes off the immune system. This work ultimately led to the clinical development of the first of the new immunotherapy drugs, ipilimumab (Yervoy), which gained FDA approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011.

The success of CTLA-4 blockade certified that the cancer immunotherapy era was on its way. Gajewski’s laboratory was among the first to show that interfering with PD-1 could enable immune-mediated tumor rejection in mice. Soon to follow in the clinic were the PD-1 inhibitors, nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which have been effective for several tumor types, including melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers, and Hodgkin lymphoma. These were followed by the PD-L1 inhibitors, which also have been FDA approved for several cancers. — John Easton

Bluestone, then chair of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Immunology, focused on exploring CTLA-4’s role as a brake on the immune response as a way to improve immunosuppression for organ transplants. “This protein allows us to select out the one small subset of the T cells that is responsible for rejection of transplanted tissue and shut down only those cells,” said Bluestone in a 1992 news release. “This may be a potent way to induce donor-specific tolerance to transplanted tissue in humans.” By 1994, it was becoming clear that CTLA-4 was indeed “an antagonist of T cell function,” Bluestone, Thompson and colleagues wrote in a paper published in Immunity. Its role was to “dampen or down-regulate T cell activation events to control T cell reactivity.” Thompson, on the flip side, focused less on the brake and more on CD28, the gas pedal. Thompson, then director of the Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues showed how CD28 contributes to T cell clonal expansion. Later in 1994, they


FALL 2017


“ To see several million modified

A CAR T dispatch

lymphocytes flow into Scott’s blood was exciting, even amazing. Then, suddenly, it was over. My first thought was, ‘Is that it? Is that all it takes?’” Michael Bishop, MD Director of the hematopoietic cellular therapy program

Truck salesman Scott McIntyre has been in complete remission since receiving CAR T-cell therapy in May 2016. McIntyre was the first patient to receive the breakthrough immunotherapy at the University of Chicago Medicine.




The 10th floor of UChicago Medicine’s Center for Care and Discovery Oncologist Michael Bishop, MD, professor of medicine, and about a dozen members of his team are observing the medical center’s first infusion of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.

“In patients like Scott, whose disease was completely refractory to conventional therapy, these responses were remarkable,” Bishop said. “And they tended to be durable.” On April 12, 2016, the pharmaceutical company Novartis, which had partnered with the University of Pennsylvania, asked the Chicago team to send them McIntyre’s cells. A few weeks later the modified cells came back and the mid-May infusion date was set. PHOTO BY ROBERT KOZLOFF

W E D N E S DAY, M AY 1 8 , 2 0 1 6

Also watching intently is the patient, Scott McIntyre, 53, a truck salesman from South Bend, Indiana, with a refractory lymphoma. Just after 10 a.m., a packet of McIntyre’s genetically engineered T cells arrives in a metal cooler filled with liquid nitrogen. A lab technician gently thaws the cells in warm water and hangs the bag on an IV pole. “To see several million modified lymphocytes flow into Scott’s blood was exciting, even amazing,” Bishop said. “Then, suddenly, it was over. My first thought was, ‘Is that it? Is that all it takes?’” McIntyre was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), stage 3, in November 2013. For the most part, the standard treatment — a chemotherapy regimen that included a monoclonal antibody, three chemotherapy agents, and a steroid — went smoothly. But remission lasted just two months. In early 2015, he underwent a stem cell transplant, which brought another brief remission. Two more clinical trials and some precisely targeted radiation therapy bought only a little more time. By the end of the year, the lymphoma was gaining on McIntyre. A few months later, Bishop, director of UChicago Medicine’s hematopoietic cellular therapy program, received the go-ahead to enroll McIntyre in a CAR T study. In clinical trials, CAR T-cell therapy had proven to be remarkably effective. For patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 70 to 90 percent achieved lasting remission. For patients with McIntyre’s disease, success ranged from 40 to 50 percent.

Michael Bishop, MD, who specializes in the treatment of hematological malignancies, calls the development of CAR T cells “probably the greatest event that I’ve seen in my 25-year career.”

Several days after the infusion, McIntyre experienced cytokine-release syndrome and neurologic events. Steroids reversed these adverse affects and from then on, McIntyre’s course remained relatively uncomplicated. An analysis of the first global Phase II multi-center study (known as Juliet) of patients with relapsed/ refractory DLBCL demonstrated that all patients with a complete response at three months remained stable. More than a year and a half out from treatment, McIntyre has no sign of any remaining cancer. “This is going to change how we treat hematological malignancies,” he said. “This is just the beginning, the infancy, of CAR T-cell therapy. We think variations of cellular therapy could be applied to a broad spectrum of diseases, including other forms of lymphoma, multiple myeloma and maybe, over time, even solid tumors, like colon or pancreatic cancer.” — John Easton


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Most physicians have been thrilled by the unprecedented success of the new treatments. Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, MD’89, PhD’91, and his team —  early adapters — have been frustrated. They focused on the failures. continued from page 8


composition of microbes predicts treatment response. “These results pave the way for the development of probiotics that could boost anti-tumor immunity in patients,” he said.

Melody Swartz, PhD, of UChicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering, led an international team that found a simple blood test may help predict which patients will benefit from treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.


Making cold tumors hot One reason a minority of patients respond to checkpoint blockade is an unfavorable local setting. A cellular neighborhood permeated with cytotoxic (or CD8+) T cells is a promising sign. Gajewski has labeled this the “T cell-inflamed tumor microenvironment.” But more often than not, the tumor settles in a gated community, in which T cells are not allowed to enter. This has become a major focus for laboratory and clinical cancer specialists. High-profile studies from UChicago faculty have pointed to novel ways to extend the benefits of various immune-based therapies to help patients, by promoting better T cell entry. In 2014, teams led by Gajewski and Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology and co-director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research at the University of Chicago, showed, in back-to-back papers in the journal Immunity, how the protein complex known as STING, short for stimulator of interferon genes, might help warm up cold tumors. This complex, first described by Gajewski, reacts to DNA that is damaged or in the wrong place, inside the cell but outside the nucleus. Detection of this cytosolic DNA alerts the immune system to a threat, helps detect cancerous or infected cells, and ultimately sends activated T cells into battle. Injection of STING agonists showed remarkable efficacy in mouse cancer models, and a clinical trial of the first human STING agonist is ongoing at UChicago. The following year, Gajewski’s lab showed how cold tumors shield themselves from T cells by producing high levels of beta-catenin, an intracellular messenger. Tumors that don’t activate beta-catenin allow dendritic


cell entry, leading to an immune response and ultimate tumor cell death. But tumors that activate beta-catenin use it to shield themselves. The study was published in Nature. A 2016 study by Weichselbaum found that the combination of local radiation therapy, anti-cancer vaccines and checkpoint inhibitors could increase response rate for new immunotherapy agents. “By promoting T cell infiltration, radiation therapy improved the efficacy of tumor vaccines and checkpoint inhibitors,” Weichselbaum said. The results, in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, suggest that radiation therapy could “synergize with immunotherapy to convert cancers with an unfavorable cold phenotype to a more favorable hot phenotype. “Radiation’s effects may include release of cell fragments and other signals that stimulate the immune system,” he added, “as well as elimination of some of the immunosuppressive factors.” And earlier this year, in Cancer Cell, Gajewski and colleagues showed that dendritic cells, part of the innate immune system, are responsible for recruiting battle-ready T cells into the tumor microenvironment. The absence of these dendritic cells from the tumor site appears to be a “dominant mechanism of resistance to multiple immunotherapies, including cancer vaccines and adoptive T cell therapy.” Other high-profile studies from UChicago researchers: ■■

Hans Schreiber, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and an authority on tumor-specific antigens, found that adoptively transferred immune T cells could eliminate well-established tumors by destroying tumor blood vessels. His team’s results, published

in 2014, indicate that these transferred T cells can overcome local and system immunosuppression caused by myeloid cells. In 2016, he and colleagues were the first to demonstrate the potential efficacy of mutation-specific T cell receptor gene therapy to eradicate established solid tumors, in mice. ■■

While treatments that mobilize the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer have shown considerable success in many tumor types, prostate cancer rarely responds. Akash Patnaik, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, and colleagues found that cabozantinib, an FDA-approved drug for treatment of certain thyroid and kidney cancers, could, within days, eradicate difficult-to-treat

types of prostate cancer in mice. Patnaik’s lab

found that the drug induced neutrophils — first responders of the innate immune system — to infiltrate the tumor, where they triggered an innate immune response that led to tumor clearance. He has launched two first-in-human clinical trials based on these studies. ■■

Immunotherapy from Coley’s toxins to the Coley Award Prodding the immune system to go after cancer is not a new idea. In 1891, William Coley, MD, a surgical oncologist at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, developed a mixture of virulent bacteria known as “Coley’s toxins.”

And a surprise finding from an international team led by Melody Swartz, PhD, the William B. Ogden Professor in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, found that lymphangiogenesis can determine which patients will benefit from treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.

A simple blood test of vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) levels before starting treatment may predict outcomes. PHOTO BY JEAN LACHAT

He administered the mix to cancer patients on the theory that infected tumor cells would stimulate the immune system to find and kill cancer cells. Over four decades, Coley treated nearly 900 patients. He reported limited success in about 10 percent of patients, but some colleagues questioned the validity of his results. Although Coley’s toxins have not been used for decades, his idea persists. In the 1970s, clinical trials confirmed that the tuberculosis vaccine Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) could prevent recurrence of an invasive form of bladder cancer. BCG, made from a weakened strain of bovine tuberculosis bacillus, has been the standard of care for patients with bladder cancer since 1977. In 1976, the first T cell booster, interleukin 2 (IL-2), was discovered. In the 1980s, researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that large doses of IL-2 could enhance T cell production in patients with certain metastatic cancers. IL-2 produced durable complete remissions in about 5 percent of patients, but the treatment came with multiple side effects. IL-2 gained FDA approval for use in metastatic kidney cancer in 1991 and for metastatic melanoma in 1998.

Swartz’s team thought that blocking lymphangiogenesis would boost immunotherapy by removing factors that suppress T cells. But their studies in mice, supported by human data obtained from two clinical trials for melanoma patients, changed their thinking. “The difference was really striking,” Swartz said. “Almost all of the patients with higher than average VEGF-C levels in their blood responded to immunotherapy. This not only resulted in eradication of the primary tumors, it also encouraged T cell infiltration into metastatic tumors and resulted in long-term protection.” UChicago Medicine clinicians have also probed the current limits of immunotherapy. In a 2015 study, Tanguy Seiwert, MD, assistant professor of medicine and associate program leader for head and neck cancer, showed that treatment with the checkpoint blocker pembrolizumab decreased the size of tumors by 30 percent or more in one out of four patients with

Akash Patnaik, MD, PhD, and his colleagues are studying an immunotherapy drug that holds promise for difficult-to-treat prostate cancer.

The search for new ways to enhance the immune system continues. In 2016, a team led by UChicago onco-immunologist Hans Schreiber, MD, PhD, professor of pathology, showed — in mice — that injection of heat-killed Salmonella typhimurium into a tumor could improve control of long-established tumors. And it brings recognition. In September 2017, the New York-based Cancer Research Institute honored Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, with the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology for his overall body of work, citing his “identification of a connection between the body’s microbiome and antitumor immune responses, the antitumor effects of the STING pathway, and oncogenic pathways implicated in tumor immune escape.” The award celebrates “seminal discoveries” in the field of basic immunology and cancer immunology. — John Easton

continued on page 15


FALL 2017


Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy

1 T cells are collected from the patient’s blood through leukapheresis.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy uses genetically engineered versions of a patient’s own cells to enable the immune system to spot cancer cells and initiate an immune response that kills the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

2 A disarmed virus inserts genetic instructions into the T cells. These genes produce the chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, that appear on the cell’s surface.

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4 Prior to infusion, the patient is usually given a lymphodepleting chemotherapy regimen to reduce the volume of non-functioning white blood cells and make room for the CAR T cells.


❉ ❉❉

3 The modified T cells are expanded in the laboratory into the hundreds of millions.

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5 The engineered cells are infused back into the patient’s blood, where they continue to multiply. With guidance from their engineered receptor, usually CD19, they recognize and kill cancer cells that express a specific antigen on their surfaces. The CAR T cells have become a “living drug.”



❉ ❉❉

recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer. “The efficacy was roughly twice as good as any drug combination in our arsenal,” he said at a press conference at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. “Overall, 57 percent of patients experienced a measurable decrease in the size of their tumors.” Research led by Justin Kline, MD, assistant professor of medicine, showed that injecting STING agonists could provoke a life-extending immune response in mice with acute myeloid leukemia, the most common type of acute leukemia seen in adults. This was the first demonstration that activating the STING pathway could be effective not only in solid, localized tumors, but also in blood cancers. At the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, breast cancer specialist Rita Nanda, MD, associate professor of medicine, presented data from the I-SPY 2 clinical trial that added pembrolizumab to standard therapy. The treatment dramatically improved response rates for patients with invasive triple-negative breast cancer. Sixty percent of the women who received pembrolizumab had a pathological complete response — no evidence of cancer in the breast or lymph nodes — compared to 20 percent of the women who received standard chemotherapy alone. For women with hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative disease, the complete response nearly tripled, from 13 percent to 34 percent. Everett Vokes, MD, the John E. Ultmann Professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology and chair of the Department of Medicine, reported results from the CheckMate 017/057 trial of the immunotherapy nivolumab compared to the chemotherapy drug docetaxel at the ESMO Congress earlier this year in Barcelona. After at least three years of treatment, patients taking nivolumab had an overall survival rate nearly three times as high as those taking docetaxel; 71 of the 427 patients (17 percent) taking nivolumab survived for more than three years. Earlier this year, the FDA gave pembrolizumab a green light for use in any solid tumor that has a specific genomic signature, the first such approval in cancer medicine. CAR T cells: A living drug Immunotherapy for blood cancers initially lagged behind. But in June 2014, a totally new approach, now known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy burst onto the scene. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and Science Translational Medicine (STM) both published studies. NEJM relayed

results from mice; STM published on three human patients. The University of Pennsylvania sent out a news release entitled: “Genetically Modified Serial Killer T Cells Obliterate Tumors in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.” The studies led to 5,000 requests from patients and their families. The National Cancer Institute came up with funding. A year later, the Novartis pharmaceutical company entered the discussion; they now have a production facility in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The term chimera, from Greek mythology, suggests a fearsome, fire-breathing monster cobbled together from a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a dragon’s (or serpent’s) tail. When applied to cellular therapy, the components are simplified and miniaturized. A “recombinant receptor construct,” basically an antibody embedded in a T lymphocyte, serves as the lion. It can recognize a specific cancer-related antigen on a cell’s surface and kill that cell. The goat and the serpent connect the receptor construct to the newly weaponized T cell. The modified T cells search and destroy specific cells. At this time, most CAR T cells are designed to find cells that display a surface protein called CD19, which is found on all B lymphocytes. When these modified T cells detect and connect with these cells, normal or cancerous, they annihilate them. Still, the treatment is not without risks. Once the T cells enter the patient’s body, they multiply rapidly, producing millions of offspring. This rapid expansion of T cells can initiate cytokine-release syndrome. This correlates with both toxicity and efficacy. Patients may develop severe flulike symptoms and neurologic effects such as delirium. Physicians have learned to control the side effects, using corticosteroids and the cytokine antagonist tocilizumab. This fall, UChicago Medicine was certified to offer CAR T-cell therapy for pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and adult patients with certain types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. UChicago Medicine was the first site in the country to offer both FDA-approved therapies for children and adults. “CAR T is the first truly effective immune therapy for a human cancer,” said John Cunningham, MD, the George M. Eisenberg Professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics. “We’ve been looking for a treatment like this for 30 years. Now we’re beginning to see the reality. And I believe more therapies like this will come in the next five to 10 years.”


continued from page 13

Modified lymphocytes flowing into the blood of UChicago Medicine’s first patient to receive CAR T-cell therapy.


FALL 2017



Two disciplines, one goal Retired after a successful career in pharma, Elliott Sigal, MD’81, PhD, wants to help researchers take cancer immunotherapy ‘to the next level’ BY CLAIRE ZULKEY


on’t you work at the hospital?” Elliott Sigal asked the young woman in front of him in the cafeteria line. He had seen Ruth Leff at work and around the University of Chicago’s International House, where they both lived. At the time, he was a medical student and she was studying for her master’s in art history. The introductory line was “pretty non-original,” Sigal admits. “But extremely effective.” The Sigals have been together for 40 years.

Elliott Sigal, MD’81, PhD, and Ruth Leff Sigal, AM’79, at their California home. The couple endowed UChicago’s first fellowship in cancer immunotherapy.


Family has been a major influence in Sigal’s life. His father, who worked at Eli Lilly, always encouraged his son to pursue his interests at the highest level, which is how Sigal came to earn a PhD in industrial engineering at Purdue University. “My mother’s struggle with cancer caused me to reflect on where my career would go next,” he said. He entered the Pritzker School of Medicine determined to pursue interdisciplinary research that might someday be life changing for other families.


Sigal put his training to work in research and development in the pharmaceutical field, ultimately serving as executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 2004 to 2013. Under his leadership, more than 12 new medicines were brought to market. Among these was the first checkpoint inhibitor for cancer immunotherapy. Up until then, combining the science of immunology with cancer drug development was not well accepted. His team developed an industry-leading pipeline of immunotherapies for cancer and helped transform the way cancer drugs are now developed. “Even though it’s profound when it works, immunotherapy works on fewer patients than we would like to see,” said Sigal, whose parents both died from cancer at young ages. “I dedicated my post-Bristol-Myers Squibb career to helping researchers take this to the next level.” To that end, the Sigals endowed UChicago’s first fellowship in cancer immunotherapy this year. The inaugural Elliott Sigal, MD’81, Fellow is Jonathan Trujillo, MD, PhD, whose research seeks to identify tumor-intrinsic oncogene pathways that mediate cancer immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapies. Trujillo is a member of the UChicago laboratory of Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy. The couple also established the Elliott Sigal, MD’81, Immuno-Oncology Lectureship. Sigal’s current focus is on mentoring the next generation of biotechnology innovators. He co-chairs the Amgen Scientific Advisory Board and advises health care investors at New Enterprise Associates. “The University of Chicago is at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy,” Sigal said. “UChicago Medicine has made major contributions to this area in the past and we should expect great things in the future. “I am grateful for my time at the University,” Sigal said. “The willingness to think outside the box and the deep emphasis on working on what is best for patients have always stayed with me.”

Former GI fellows honored with alumni award Two former fellows in the section of gastroenterology,

Robert Palmer, LAB’47, MD, left, David Ransohoff, MD, and David T. Rubin, MD’94, chief of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at UChicago Medicine.


hepatology and nutrition were the inaugural recipients of the UChicago Digestive Diseases Alumni Award. The honor recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of gastroenterology. David Ransohoff, MD, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received the senior award. Ransohoff trained at UChicago from 1977 to 1979. The award is named in honor of Walter L. Palmer, SB’18, SM’19, Rush MD’21, PhD’26, founder of the gastroenterology department at UChicago and one of the original eight faculty members of the medical school. His son, Robert Palmer, LAB’47, MD, who served on the selection committee, did his residency at UChicago and was a member of the medical faculty from 1961 to 1973. The junior award went to Joel Pekow, MD, assistant professor of medicine at UChicago and director of the Digestive Disease Center’s Translational Core. Pekow was a GI fellow at UChicago Medicine from 2007 to 2010. The awards were given during the GI Kirsner alumni reception at the 2017 Digestive Diseases Week in May. Marjorie Merrick, past vice president at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, was also honored for her contributions to the field.

Continuing medical education


Frontiers in Precision Medicine for Inherited Cancers: From Risk Assessment to Targeted Therapies April 20-21, 2018 Gwen Hotel, Chicago

The goal of this activity is to improve detection of cancer syndromes and prevent cancer morbidity and mortality.

The Role of Cardiac MRI in Clinical Cardiology April 28, 2018 University of Chicago Gleacher Center, Chicago

Join us for an interdisciplinary educational forum led by internationally recognized physicians in the field of cardiac imaging.

24th Annual Primary Care Orthopaedics June 6, 2018 Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, Chicago

This course is intended to enhance the attendees’ knowledge base regarding common orthopaedic problems and increase their confidence in managing these issues. For more information or to register, visit


MacLean Center director’s landmark works compiled in new book A new book discusses the pioneering role of Mark PHOTO BY BRUCE POWELL

Mark Siegler, MD’67

Siegler, MD’67, in the field of clinical medical ethics. Clinical Medical Ethics: Landmark Works of Mark Siegler, MD (2017, Springer International Publishing) includes a collection of 46 writings by Siegler, the Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery, founding director of the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, and executive director of the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence. Siegler is internationally known for his work in developing the field of clinical medical ethics. The essays are organized around five themes: restoring and transforming the ethical basis of modern clinical medicine; the doctor-patient relationship; education

and professionalism; end-of-life care; and clinical innovation. The book includes perspectives written by other renowned scholars in the field, including Jordan Cohen, MD, former president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Peter Singer, MD, MPH, an international leader in global health care ethics and former MacLean Center fellow. The book is co-edited by Laura Weiss Roberts, AB’82, AM’83, MD’88, chairman and Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. In the 1980s, Roberts was one of the first graduates of the MacLean Center’s clinical ethics fellowship training program. MEDICINE ON THE MIDWAY

FALL 2017


Medical students around the country

have logged more than 6 million hours

listening to Husain Sattar, MD,

review the fundamentals of pathology.

To many of them, he’s simply


‘Pathoma guy’

“He has a remarkable gift for clarity. He can take the pathophysiology of any organ system and present the information in a way that makes the entire mechanism click in your head.” Palmer Greene, MS3


hen Husain Sattar, AB’93, MD’01, took a leave of absence from medical school to study Arabic and Islamic spirituality in Islamabad, Pakistan, he spent his days in a classroom that had

walls made of clay and would heat up to 120 degrees in the summer. In the

winter, the unheated classrooms were freezing — Islamabad sits at the foothills of the Himalayas — and Sattar, who was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, sat on the floor with the other students shivering and dreaming of summer.



Daily fan mail. Autograph requests. Personalized apparel. An entry on Urban Dictionary.


An MS2’s well-annotated copy of the Pathoma textbook.

In the world of medical education, fame is usually hard to come by. But for Husain Sattar, AB’93, MD’01, whose Pathoma series has touched a nerve with students around the world, it’s all in a day’s work — even if it’s not the one he initially signed up for. “Pathoma, when I put it out, I had no idea what might happen,” Sattar said. “I’m not trying to create a fan base. I’m actually a very private person and I like to avoid the limelight.”

A reluctant celebrity

It was a far cry from the University of Chicago, where he earned his undergraduate and medical degrees and later did his internship, residency and fellowship. Besides the lack of creature comforts, his instructors did not have fancy diplomas from prestigious universities. But there was a Pakistani teacher who made an impression on Sattar — one that planted the seed for Sattar’s wildly successful textbook and video series on pathology known as Pathoma. “This teacher always came to class without notes,” Sattar said, recalling the instructor with the gray beard who smiled often and dressed in the traditional Pakistani garb of loose pants and tunic-like shirt. “He would say, ‘If I can’t tell you about it from the top of my head, then I shouldn’t be telling you about it at all.’ ” The man lectured passionately, as if there were 3,000 people in the room instead of eight, but what the young American medical student found most impressive was his skill distilling colossal amounts of material. “He had this ability to take vast amounts of information and summarize it in the most eloquent, simple, principle-based method,” Sattar said. Fast forward nearly 20 years and that is exactly what thousands of medical students

who use Pathoma say about Sattar. “He has a remarkable gift for clarity,” said Palmer Greene, MS3. “He can take the pathophysiology of any organ system and present the information in a way that makes the entire mechanism click in your head.” Lucy Rubin, a fourth-year at Tufts University School of Medicine, has similar praise: “He has this amazing way of explaining concepts,” she said. “He simplifies things to the most basic elements.”

Seeing the big picture It took years, Sattar says, to get to that point. After two-and-a-half years in the Middle East — he also spent time in Syria — he returned to Chicago to start his fourth year at the Pritzker School of Medicine, worried that he had forgotten what he’d learned while he’d been away. “When I came back, that was the hardest month of my life,” he recalled. “I remembered very little and I was thrown back into that medical school environment, in which there’s not much forgiveness for not knowing things.” Each night he focused on what he needed to know to get through the next day, eventually catching up. At the same time, he started to look at his medical knowledge differently, realizing he

But Sattar’s conversational tone and methodical explanations — blessedly free of rote memorization — have yielded him an international following. When he lectures at Pritzker or visits other medical schools for a review, students line up to have him inscribe their textbooks. And even though email from grateful students streams in every day, he replies to every message he receives. One day last summer, he received a heartfelt message from a student who described how the understanding she’d gained from Pathoma helped her overcome personal tragedy. Occasionally, the adulation verges on the cultish. One student took the time to define Pathoma on Urban Dictionary as “the only way to pass pathology your second year of medical school.” And then there’s the wholly unlicensed “Husain Sattar is my homeboy,” an online store unaffiliated with Pathoma that sells T-shirts, mugs and water bottles emblazoned with Sattar’s faculty picture. Its tagline? “Pathoma is a work of art.” Sattar takes it all in stride, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does. “It’s cute,” he said. “But my mother wants it taken down.”

— Matt Present, MS3

continued on page 20


FALL 2017


From Pritzker to the world

continued from page 19

Scott Stern, AB’80, MD’84, Adam Cifu, MD, and Diane Altkorn, MD’82: Symptom to Diagnosis

had been memorizing details but missing the big picture. “I began to think, ‘Why don’t I rearrange this and reprocess this in this way?’” he said. “I did a tremendous amount of reading so I could see how different people were saying the same thing until I had it organized into different folders in my mind.” For example, he said, understanding the pathology of the different anemias was challenging until he came up with this method: “The way I think about anemia is I go back to biochemistry and focus on hemoglobin. That’s what a red blood cell is. It’s just a ball full of hemoglobin with a membrane around it. So I teach anemia

interaction was minimal, affording him more time for reflection. “I’m someone who needs to digest something before I can feel comfortable with it,” he said. “Pathology sort of lent itself to that.” Sattar completed his residency at the University of Chicago Medicine, eventually joining the faculty as a surgical pathologist specializing in breast pathology. He is associate director of Clinical Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, a second-year course at Pritzker. He has earned a number of teaching honors — including Outstanding Basic Science Teaching and Favorite Faculty awards — and become a top-ranked

based on hemoglobin and talk about different things that can happen to hemoglobin from a biochemistry perspective and how it relates to anemia, and how you can organize much of anemia through this overlying principle of understanding the biochemistry of hemoglobin.”

instructor for Kaplan Medical, where he taught review courses for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that he decided to try out the techniques of his Pakistani mentor combined with his own hard-won pathology knowledge. He asked Dean Holly J. Humphrey, MD’83, if he could teach an elective course for Pritzker students preparing for Step 1. He sent out an email, imagining he might get 30 students to sign up. Instead he got 90. “I was teaching it the way I felt pathology


Just as Sattar’s Pathoma series has entered the canon of preclinical education, so too has Symptom to Diagnosis become an indispensable tool for clinical rotations. The brainchild of professors and internists Scott Stern, MD, Adam Cifu, MD, and Diane Altkorn, MD, Symptom to Diagnosis has bravely filled a gap in medical education with its evidence-based, algorithmic approach to clinical medicine. In doing so it’s achieved rare success, with more than a million views on Access Medicine alone and printed translations into Portuguese, Greek and Turkish, among other languages. The trio of authors believes that the slender textbook’s success starts with an organizational schema that’s focused on approaches, not just memorization. The result is a targeted framework for students who have committed reams of information to memory, but don’t yet know the right questions to ask a patient with a headache or abdominal pain. “I think the mind works better with processes than with myriads of fact,” Stern said. “Patients don’t read the textbook.” — Matt Present, MS3


Writing day and night At the same time Sattar was reorganizing his understanding of medicine, he was also building his career. In his fourth year, he completed a pathology rotation and decided he liked the specialty, in part because patient


I’ll say it loud and clear: Pathoma is the best single patho(physio)logy system out there … It is well-organized, informative, and is as digestible as lactose to a baby.

The guy who made pathoma gets my kidney if he ever needs it.

Pathoma is the best thing i have ever done, i was an avg student that almost failed pathology in med school .. took step1 a month ago and ended up with above avg in path with star on the performance scale.

So why do students love Pathoma? Well, there’s Sattar’s serene speaking style. “He has this air of benevolence, this calming presence in the midst of a year when everyone is stressing out about Step 1,” Greene said. There are his basic, yet effective diagrams — some students joke that a stick figure would be complex for Sattar. “There’s this picture he drew when he was describing everything that was going on in the heart  — a 2 by 2 grid of four boxes — and I never stopped thinking about it that way,” Rubin said. And students appreciate that he doesn’t waste time with extraneous details. “I never felt like he was giving me information I didn’t need to know,” said Courtney Lattimore, a fourth-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “In medical school being taught by so many different professors, you’re often muddling through, trying to figure out what’s important. You know, ‘What do I really need to know?’ But everything in his book was useful and appropriate.” Now that Pathoma is so popular, medical publishers have flocked to Sattar’s office eager to learn what he did. Sattar is proud he was able to illustrate a new way of teaching medical concepts. “I think the fact that it got big so quickly shows there’s a real deep need for something like this. Others are now picking up on that, and that’s great. We need to advance medical education as much as we can.” Meanwhile, he continues to feel grateful for the influence of that Pakistani teacher back in Islamabad at the bottom of the snowcapped Himalayas. “I like to think a few months of sitting there, on that dirt floor, has now affected tens of thousands of medical students.”

From Pritzker to the world

should be taught, just me sitting and chatting with the students, no notes, nothing,” he said. “Just me talking about how I think about different principles of pathology and how I tie different basic science principles in with disease states. It’s about memorizing less and understanding more.” After that, he decided to write the textbook that would become part of the Pathoma course, Fundamentals of Pathology. “I began writing day and night,” he said. “I literally hired someone to drive me back and forth from home to work so I could sleep in the car.” In his basement, with his wife and children upstairs asleep, he recorded the videos, turning off the furnace or air conditioner, depending on the season, so the noise wouldn’t affect the sound quality — he wanted to keep expenses low so that Pathoma would be affordable (it sells for about $100). Nine months later, he published the book and videos — and no one bought them. “I was so sad,” he recalled. “I hired my own editor, my own layout person, my own reviewers, I did everything on my own — to the extent of sampling the paper stock — because I wanted this to be exactly my vision.” After a few months, a student suggested that Sattar give sample lectures from Pathoma at other medical schools. The advice worked. Soon news of Pathoma went viral. Since 2011, more than 6 million hours of video lessons have been viewed online through the portal on And students from all over the country and the world praise it on message boards, blogs and in social media:

Vinay Kumar, MD: Robbins Pathology As a University of Chicago pathologist making a profound impact on medical education around the world, Husain Sattar is following closely in the footsteps of Vinay Kumar, MD, the Alice Hogge and Arthur A. Baer Distinguished Service Professor and department chair from 2000 to 2016. For more than 37 years and through eight editions each, Kumar has served as author/editor of Robbins Basic Pathology and Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, the granddaddy of all pathology textbooks. One of the most widely used medical education resources in history, Robbins and Cotran has been translated into more than a dozen languages, including Indonesian, Croatian and Japanese. Don’t think it’s just something in the department’s coffee, either. Pathologists play an integral role throughout the curriculum at the Pritzker School of Medicine, and they come by their dedication to students honestly. “My personal commitment is that education is a legitimate part of scholarship and is no less important than research and clinical service,” Kumar said. “This vision is shared by the faculty of the Pathology Department.” — Matt Present, MS3


FALL 2017



MSTP celebrates 50 years of training physician-scientists BY MOLLY WOULFE


The first guest set the tone at the 50th Anniversary

Joseph J. Ceithaml, SB’37, PhD’41

Reunion and Retreat for the University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). The MD-PhD buttonholed Pritzker School of Medicine students serving as greeters at the Quadrangle Club breakfast. “He said, ‘What are you studying?’ We went from zero to science in 30 seconds,” said Sarah Laloggia, MSTP training grant and student services coordinator. UChicago MSTP founder Joseph J. Ceithaml, SB’37, PhD’41, would have expected no less. In 1967, Ceithaml — dean of students for Pritzker and the Biological Sciences Division for more than three decades — launched one of the first and what is now one of the longest-running dual degree programs funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Matthew Vander Heiden, PhD’00, MD’02, of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of eight distinguished MSTP alumni who spoke at the 50th Anniversary Alumni Research Symposium.


Alumni and current students of the Medical Scientist Training Program gather in the Gordon Center for Integrative Science for a 50th anniversary celebration.



In five decades, UChicago’s MSTP has graduated 296 physician-researchers. The program has produced five MSTP directors at other institutions, three National Academy of Sciences members, prominent entrepreneurs such as Impossible Foods CEO Patrick O. Brown, AB’76, PhD’80, MD’82, and dozens of distinguished section chiefs, department chairs and directors of research facilities. The June 23-25 anniversary symposium and retreat attracted 45 alumni, arguably the largest MSTP reunion in UChicago history. Eight distinguished alumni gave presentations at the 50th Anniversary Alumni Research Symposium with more than 100 audience members in attendance. “We have never had so many alums back at one time to give such an extensive and outstanding symposium,” said Marcus Clark, MD, professor of medicine, rheumatology section chief and MSTP director. Some alumni also joined current MSTP students for a special mentoring and career-focused version of the annual off-campus retreat. “This went extremely well and was the highlight for many of the students, especially those in the graduate phase,” Clark said. “It gives them perspective and great optimism on how their training could be used, in so many ways, to make meaningful contributions to academic medicine, science and human health.” For a timeline of key dates in MSTP history, visit


Frank Fitch, MD’53, SM’57, PhD’60, holds the trophy — fashioned from a tin measuring cup and an upside-down, wooden egg cup — from the MD-PhD Student Seminar Baking Contest. Fitch hosted the first contest in 1973. He is the Albert D. Lasker Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pathology and the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and was a member of the MSTP admissions committee, as well as an advisor to several MSTP students.

MSTP director Marcus Clark, MD, gives an overview of MSTP history.

THE PRITZKER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE MEDICAL SCIENTIST TRAINING PROGRAM 296 dual degree graduates 68 current students NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Patrick O. Brown, AB’76, PhD’80, MD’82 Arthur Weiss, PhD’78, MD’79 Thomas Wellems, PhD’80, MD’81 PHOTO BY MOLLY WOULFE

ALUMNI WHO ARE CURRENT OR FORMER MSTP DIRECTORS Mark Anderson, PhD’92, MD’94, University of California, San Francisco Mark Krasnow, PhD’83, MD’85, Stanford University Raghavendra Mirmira, AB’86, PhD’91, MD’93, University of Indiana Christopher Walsh, PhD’83, MD’85, Harvard-MIT Arthur Weiss, PhD’78, MD’79, University of California, San Francisco


FALL 2017



Exploring the roots of evolution BY MATT WOOD


The scientist who discovered ‘the world’s oldest child’ Zeray Alemseged, PhD, fills a niche in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy as its resident paleoanthropologist, studying human origins and the environmental context of human evolution.


Alemseged combines high-tech imaging analysis of fossils with traditional geology and fieldwork to explore the milestone events in human evolution since our split from the apes. He returns to his native Ethiopia every year for several months to continue work in the Afar, a paleoanthropological hotspot, collaborating with researchers from across the globe, including at the National Museum of Ethiopia where the fossils are prepared and curated. “You can say that one-half of my lab is back there,” said Alemseged. “What I enjoy the most is the quiet moments that I have in my lab in the process of making the little incremental discoveries that, when combined, will allow me to tackle questions pertaining to those milestone events.”

structure of the human spinal column emerged over 3.3 million years ago, shedding light on one of the hallmarks of human evolution,” Alemseged said. Selam has the distinctive thoracicto-lumbar joint transition found in other fossil human relatives, but the specimen is the first to show that, like modern humans, our earliest ancestors had only 12 thoracic vertebrae and 12 pairs of ribs. That is fewer than in most apes. This configuration marks a transition toward the type of spinal

“The key transitional moments in our evolutionary history that we paleoanthropologists establish will allow us to understand our links to our animal origins.” Zeray Alemseged, PhD

— Matt Wood

Read more about these discoveries at


nalysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of years earlier than previously thought. The fossil, known as Selam, is a nearly complete skeleton of a 2½-year-old girl unearthed in Ethiopia in 2000 by Zeresenay (Zeray) Alemseged, PhD,

The spinal column and vertebrae of Selam, the 3.3 million-year-old fossil of a young girl discovered by Zeray Alemseged, PhD. Selam means “peace.”

now the Donald N. Pritzker Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College and senior author of the new study. It took years of careful preparation and analysis of the skeleton before Alemseged first revealed Selam to the world in a landmark publication in Nature in 2006. At the time, he was a senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, before settling in at the California Academy of Sciences two years later. He joined the University of Chicago faculty in fall 2016. “Continued and painstaking research on Selam shows that the general


column that allows humans to be the efficient, athletic walkers and runners we are today. “We are documenting for the first time in the fossil record the emergence of the number of the vertebrae in our history, when the transition happened from the rib-bearing vertebrae to lower back vertebrae and when we started to extend the waist,” Alemseged said. “This structure and its modification through time is one of the key events in the history of human evolution.” The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Maiopatagium in the forest: a mother with a baby in suspending roosting posture, climbing on a tree trunk and gliding. LIFE RECONSTRUCTION BY APRIL I. NEANDER/UCHICAGO

Winging it in the Jurassic Period



wo 160 million-year-old mammal fossils discovered in China show that the forerunners of mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees. With long limbs, long fingers and wing-like membranes for tree-to-tree gliding, Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomylos are the oldest known gliders in the long history of early mammals. The discoveries suggest that the volant, or flying, way of life evolved among mammalian ancestors 100 million years earlier than the first modern mammal fliers. The fossils are described in two papers published in Nature by an international team of scientists from the University of Chicago and the Beijing Museum of Natural History. “These Jurassic mammals are truly ‘the first in glide,’” said Zhe-Xi Luo, PhD, professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College. “In a way, they got the first wings among all mammals.” The ability to glide in the air is one of many remarkable adaptations in mammals. Most mammals live on land, but volant mammals, including flying squirrels and bats that flap bird-like wings, made an important transition between land and aerial habitats. The ability to glide between trees allowed the ancient animals to find food that was inaccessible to other land animals. The Jurassic Maiopatagium and Vilevolodon are stem mammaliaforms, long-extinct relatives of living mammals. Both fossils show the exquisitely

fossilized, wing-like skin membranes between their front and back limbs. They also show many skeletal features in their shoulder joints and forelimbs that gave the ancient animals the agility to be capable gliders. Evolutionarily, the two fossils, discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation northeast of Beijing, China, represent the earliest examples of gliding behavior among extinct mammal ancestors. “It’s amazing that the aerial adaptions occurred so early in the history of mammals,” said study co-author David Grossnickle, a graduate student in evolutionary biology. “Not only did these fossils show exquisite fossilization of gliding membranes, their limb, hand and foot proportion also suggests a new gliding locomotion and behavior.”

The glider fossils from the dinosaurdominated Jurassic Period, along with numerous other fossils described by Luo and colleagues in the last 10 years, provide strong evidence that ancestral mammals adapted to their wide-ranging environments despite competition from dinosaurs. “Mammals are more diverse in lifestyles than other modern land vertebrates, but we wanted to find out whether early forerunners to mammals had diversified in the same way,” Luo said. “These new fossil gliders are the first winged mammals, and they demonstrate that early mammals did indeed have a wide range of ecological diversity, which means dinosaurs likely did not dominate the Mesozoic landscape as much as previously thought.” MEDICINE ON THE MIDWAY

FALL 2017


BSD News



Program empowers trainees with career options, provides rewarding experiences for alumni


Enrique Beckmann, MD, PhD’84, left, president of Pathology Associates of Chicago, discusses career paths with Ciro Andolfi, MD, a clinical trainee in surgery, during a myCHOICE BSD Alumni Career Forum.

43 percent of entering BSD graduate students say myCHOICE was a factor in their decision to enroll at UChicago.



for some graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Recent surveys suggest that only about one in five PhD graduates in the biological sciences will land positions on the academic tenure-track career path. As worldwide PhD supply continues to outpace demand in academia, many trainees are interested in supplementing their scientific training and learning about the full range of available career options. Meanwhile, alumni — including many who have found success in nonacademic career paths — are eager to connect with trainees to share their knowledge and resources. For the past three years, the University of Chicago’s myCHOICE (CHicago Options in Career Empowerment) program has been bringing hundreds of trainees and alumni together for professional development events and networking. The program was launched in 2014, funded by the National Institutes of Health through a Broadening Experiences in


“So, what’s next?” can be a heavy question

More than 130 alumni

Scientific Training (BEST) grant. UChicago is one of only 17 institutions nationwide to receive a BEST award. While academic teaching and research are important elements of the myCHOICE training program, myCHOICE also highlights eight additional career paths: business and commercialization; data science; government and nonprofit research; health care and medicine; industry research; law, policy

Alumni participate in the panel discussion “What Employers Seek” during the myCHOICE BSD Alumni Career Forum last spring.

have directly contributed to the success of myCHOICE since the program started three years ago.

continued on page 28

Alumni and myCHOICE: ‘It feels good to give back’ Dan Leventhal, SM’13, PhD’16 (Immunology and Cancer Biology)

Jennifer McPartland, PhD’08 (Microbiology/Molecular Biology)

Dan Leventhal is a scientist II at a biotech company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that uses the principles of synthetic biology to genetically reprogram beneficial bacteria to treat patients. He became interested in the entrepreneurial side of science during his training at UChicago and played a significant role in developing myCHOICE. He helped host the recent Biotech and Biopharma Trek in Boston.

As a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., Jennifer McPartland focuses on advancing science, policy and market solutions to protect people and the environment from harmful chemical exposures. Last year, she played a key role in reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, the first time it had been amended since 1976.

“The myCHOICE program allowed me to teach graduate students and postdocs what they need to know to set themselves up for nonacademic jobs,” he said. And alumni like to get involved because it allows their professional networks to grow and “it feels good to give back,” he said.

“My experience in D.C. away from the bench has been completely eye-opening and different,” she said, “yet I could not successfully do my job now if it weren’t for the research experiences and training I received at UChicago.” McPartland has been a myCHOICE seminar speaker and a guest mentor at a networking event for trainees interested in science policy. She also helped coordinate a myCHOICEsponsored field trip to Washington, D.C., where trainees met with other Environmental Defense Fund scientists who now apply their expertise to the nonprofit environmental advocacy group.

Barry Ticho, PhD’87, MD’88 Barry Ticho began his career as a physician at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, later transitioning into lead roles in the biopharmaceutical industry. Today he is head of development for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases for a biotech company in Massachusetts. He serves on the External Advisory Board for myCHOICE. “The myCHOICE program has been a great resource for alumni to showcase career accomplishments in a forum that is nonjudgmental, and it allows alumni to get connected and demonstrate that they have made substantial professional contributions,” Ticho said. “Trainees need to know that they can have highly rewarding and respected positions outside of teaching and research. Often nonacademics can be ignored or taken less seriously due to the stigmas that exist for those who make the transition —  myCHOICE takes away that stigma.”


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and regulation; science communication; and science education and outreach. For each of these areas, myCHOICE features various events, activities, and practices characterized by levels of increasing involvement in career training:

continued from page 27

for a global pharmaceutical company, the chief strategy officer of a life sciences investment bank and several successful serial entrepreneurs,” said postdoctoral researcher John Leonard, PhD. MyCHOICE’s impact isn’t limited to the BSD. More than 25 percent of the minicourse enrollees come from outside the division, suggesting the relevance and utility of these events for alumni and trainees across the greater UChicago community. As student and trainee interest in myCHOICE has grown, so has alumni involvement. The number of alumni speakers grew from 19 in the first year to 23 in year two and an impressive 46 in year three. The program offers a route to positive, impactful and long-lasting relationships between trainees and alumni. “It has been deeply gratifying to help build our myCHOICE program, not only because we are now meeting a long-unmet need of our trainees, but also because we have a new point of connection with the alumni,”


Exposure career seminar series: In just three years, 87 seminars have brought in 167 speakers — more than half of whom are UChicago alumni with STEM PhDs. During the 2016-17 academic year, 1,115 attendees met and learned from UChicago alumni who have found success across the career spectrum.


Education: Programming includes minicourses and workshops that provide in-depth coverage of a subject area or professional development skill. To date, attendees have learned from 54 instructors, including 19 UChicago alumni. Twenty percent of all Biological Sciences Division trainees attended at least one mini-course during the previous academic year.


Experience: Opportunities include internships, short-term externships, mentor relationships and long-distance, multi-day career treks. So far, 58 interns have gained hands-on experience through internships. During the recent Biotech and Biopharma Trek to Boston — developed, coordinated and attended by more than 26 Boston-area alumni — UChicago trainees networked with alumni working in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

said Victoria Prince, PhD, dean for graduate affairs. “Many alums tell us how much they wish a program like this had been in place when they were at UChicago. Now that it does exist they are incredibly generous in helping us to make the program as successful as it can be. There is really no better career mentor for a current trainee than an alum who has had a similar educational and research experience and gone on to forge an exciting and rewarding career path.”

“I was blown away by the opportunities we had to meet with senior level scientists and managers, including the president of research

Postdoctoral fellow David Arndt, PhD, is a myCHOICE science communications intern in the University of Chicago Medicine Department of Marketing and Communications.



Dan Leventhal, SM'13, PhD'16, leads a session during the recent Biotech and Biopharma Trek to Boston. Right, trainees participate in improv games during a workshop on communicating science.

79 percent of current graduate students say myCHOICE is having a positive impact on their training.




Students awarded HHMI Gilliam Fellowships


raduate students Christina Roman and DeQuantarius (DJ) Speed have been awarded 2017 Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study to support their commitment to ensuring diversity in the sciences, especially in academia. Roman is studying biochemistry and molecular biophysics with an emphasis on protein engineering and RNA structure. Speed, a student in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, investigates plant defense responses, specifically how plants mobilize immune signals. The Gilliam Fellowship, a program of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), “facilitates an environment that supports growth of the fellows’ research and professional skills.” The scholars’ shared mission is to remove the obstacles —  through institutional change and cultural reform — that prevent minorities from integrating into STEM.

Roman and Speed have both been active in the newly founded and student-led Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) as well as the UChicago chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/ Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Roman has traveled on behalf of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs to help recruit diverse students to science programs at the University. Speed recently organized a student and faculty-led panel for UChicago undergraduates focused on applying to and attending graduate programs in science. Gilliam Fellows receive an annual award totaling $46,000 for up to three years. In addition, each student’s advisor will participate in a year of mentoring development activities. HHMI awarded 39 Gilliam Fellowships nationwide this year. Roman and Speed were the only two recipients from Chicago.

Christina Roman


SACNAS regional conference Graduate student DeQuantarius Speed, right, moderates a panel discussion, “Grad Student Real Talk,” with Stephanie Baumgart, left, Marites Villarosa Garcia and Cody Hernandez. The University of Chicago chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/ Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) hosted its first SACNAS regional conference in May.


Jabri, MacLean receive teaching excellence awards were honored this year with University of Chicago awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring. Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine, is one of four recipients of the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award, believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching. Jabri’s courses in immunology and immunopathology not only convey fundamental concepts to students but also instill confidence that they can contribute novel ideas to the field. Neurobiologist Jason MacLean, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology and the College, is a recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. MacLean’s commitment to rigorous examination of neuroscience research provides students with essential critical thinking skills as they pursue their careers.

“One thing they learn — and absolutely key for me that they take out of class — is that however young, one can have an outstanding idea.” Bana Jabri, MD, PhD Professor of medicine and pediatrics


Two Biological Sciences Division faculty members


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A-knit-omy* lab


Pritzker News

of the many knitting puns * One you’ll find on Daniel Lam’s blog: PHOTO BY BEN VIGEANT


imaginative blog about knitting and traveling, evolved to include thoughtful essays about his clinical experiences. After several Pritzker classmates — female and male — asked Lam to teach them how to knit, he started the Pritzker Knitzkers student organization. “Most of the members of the group say that knitting de-stresses them,” Lam said. “And it’s nice to work together on something outside of medicine.” But medicine and a desire to help his fellow students continue to inspire Lam’s knitting projects. He’s a peer educator in the anatomy lab again this year and has added two more models — the brachial plexus and the intra-abdominal viscera — to his collection of soft and slightly fuzzy anatomy teaching tools. “You know what they say,” Lam joked in one of his blog posts. “ ‘You can take the knitter out of the anatomy lab…’ ” PHOTO BY BEN VIGEANT


hen Daniel Lam, MS4, studied anatomy in his first year at Pritzker, he found the nerves of the brachial plexus difficult to memorize and the movement of the eye tricky to understand. “Despite Netter’s iconic renditions, I thought at the time how helpful physical models would have been to me,” Lam said. So after volunteering to assist in the course’s lab during his second year, he decided to make a three-dimensional organ as a teaching device. And then he picked up his knitting needles and created an interactive human eye out of yarn, complete with the six working extraocular muscles. “The first-year students, especially those who were as frustrated as I was, really liked it,” he said. “They got a sense of how each muscle moved.” Lam first tried knitting in eighth grade — to impress a girl during a class trip. And he discovered he liked it. Although it wasn’t cool to be seen with knitting needles in high school, he took a class and began making, and designing, scarves, hats, socks and sweaters. “Knitting allowed me to be productive while listening to music or watching TV,” said Lam, a big fan of “The West Wing.” He also finds the hobby relaxing. While in college, Lam created a website — —  to showcase his yarn creations and patterns as well as his love for writing. During medical school, the site, which started as an


FALL 2017



Pritzker News

Giving back by supporting young investigators

W Kate Kinasz, MD’17

“We want to inspire young minds to contribute to science.” Tom Karnezis, MD’88

hile she was a Pritzker School of Medicine student, Kate Kinasz, MD’17, was heavily involved in research on eating disorders. She examined the difference in co-morbidities between boys and girls with eating disorders for a paper published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. She designed a project to assess what medical students know about anorexia and bulimia nervosa. And she was first author on a paper on the neuroscience of eating disorders published in Biological Psychiatry. The University of California, San Francisco, was Kinasz’s top choice for her psychiatric residency because of the opportunities to advance her eating disorders research. Her mentor, Daniel Le Grange, PhD, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, directs the eating disorders program at UCSF. But San Francisco is expensive, and Kinasz already had a mountain of debt from her postbaccalaureate degree and medical school. “I didn’t want to make a decision to the detriment of my career just based on the cost of living,” she said. She is grateful that she didn’t have to make that choice. Kinasz, now a first-year resident at UCSF, is the inaugural winner of the Karnezis Research Award, established by Tom Karnezis, MD’88, and his wife, Susan Karnezis, MD. The award was established as part of the Legacy Challenge.


UPSET! Pritzker outscores five-peat Law School to win the Phoenix Cup


The award encourages students to pursue research activities at Pritzker, while simultaneously reducing their outstanding medical school loans. Recipients must demonstrate an exceptional track record in research and financial need. While he was in medical school, Karnezis did research with the late Leon Goldberg, MD, PhD, UChicago professor and one of the giants of clinical pharmacology. Karnezis was a recipient of the Fentress Research Prize, which for decades has inspired Pritzker students to educate themselves and contribute to medicine through research. In this spirit, the Karnezis Research Award was established to motivate and challenge students. Kinasz had the opportunity to meet Tom and Susan Karnezis for lunch, and the family stayed for Pritzker’s Senior Scientific Session, a showcase for research by fourth-year students. “They are just a wonderful family,” she said. “Really, in the whole process, the highlight was getting to spend the afternoon with the doctors and hear about their belief in the importance of research. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I would continue to do research,” Kinasz said, “but this reaffirmed how important it is — and how excited I am about it.”

As Pritzker classmates, David “Davy”

Hamilton, MD’17, and Christopher “Chris” Mattson, MD’17, anxiously awaited Match Day last March, both had other, perhaps more critical, results on their minds. Could the medical school really amass enough points in the final months of the academic year to become intramural sports champions? “We found ourselves at the helm of what can best be described as a UChicago graduate school intramural sports juggernaut,” said Hamilton, who, with Mattson, led a four-year quest to win the Phoenix Cup and unseat the defending champion Law School. The Phoenix Cup is awarded annually to the graduate program earning the most points — based on participation and place —


— Anna Madrzyk

 in intramural activities during the year. All 12 of the University’s graduate divisions and professional and continuing education schools scored points throughout 2016-17. The medical school not only went on to victory but also set a Phoenix Cup record with 2,820 points, shattering the previous record of 2,195 points set by the Law School in 2012-13. “Pritzker’s convincing wire-to-wire victory did not take me by surprise,” said Brian Bock, director of intramurals, recreation and sport clubs at the University of Chicago. “The intensity and focus exhibited by this past year’s Pritzker students rivaled anything I’ve seen since the Phoenix Cup was created in 2009.” — Gretchen Rubin

Schweitzer Fellows Rachel Stones, MS4, left, Margaret Wang, MS4, Jessica Chen, MS2, and Tyrone Johnson, MS2.



Pritzker students receive AMA leadership awards Hasenin Al-khersan, MD’17, and Phillip Hsu, MSTP, were honored with American

Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Excellence in Medicine Awards during the AMA’s 2017 annual meeting. The award recognizes physicians and students who exemplify the highest values of volunteerism, community engagement, leadership and dedication to the care of underserved populations. Recipients receive leadership development training to further strengthen their efforts in advancing health care in the U.S. As a medical student, Al-khersan was a coordinator at the Washington Park Children’s Free Health Clinic and the co-chair of Sight Savers/Ophthalmology Interest Group, an organization providing free vision screenings to local communities. Hsu co-founded and co-directs the Bridgeport Free Clinic, a University of Chicago-affiliated and student-run clinic providing free health care to the uninsured Asian immigrant population in Chicago’s Bridgeport and Chinatown neighborhoods.

Four students named Schweitzer Fellows


he Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program selected four Pritzker School of Medicine students for its 2017-18 class. The Pritzker students join a cohort of 30 exceptional graduate students who proposed impactful projects to address

the health needs of underserved Chicagoans across the city. The students will develop and implement the following projects:

Jessica Chen, MS2: Cooking classes for

mothers and children in a Back of the Yards domestic violence shelter.

Rachel Stones, MS4: Yoga and sexual health education courses at community health clinics in the city.

Tyrone Johnson, MS2: Holistic wellness

Margaret Wang, MS4: Wellness and health

program for homeless and housing insecure individuals in Uptown.

workshop series at an Uptown agency for immigrants who are survivors of gender violence.

Pritzker’s intramural graduate coed basketball team, Pritzker Protuberances, celebrates its championship.


FALL 2017


Pritzker News

R E U N I O N W E E K E N D M AY 2 0 1 7

Making a reconnection Ian Tong, MD’02, greets a classmate with a big hug during Reunion, left. Below, Douglass B. Given, PhD’79, MD’80, right, is happy to see John Lok, AB’74, MD’78, at the Legacy Challenge Leadership Brunch.

Saul Wasserman, MD'67, enjoyed the campus trolley tour guided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Alanna Nzoma, MD’07, and her family strike a pose in the photo booth, above.

Keme Carter, MD, associate professor of medicine, left, Katherine Given Ligtenberg, AB’08, PhD’13, MBA’16, MD’16, and Douglass B. Given, PhD’79, MD’80, chat before the Admissions Spotlight event.


Celebrating their 50th Reunion, members of the Class of 1967 catch up at the Alumni Awards reception. From left: David Perin, SB’63, MD’67, John Longwell, MD’67, and David Silverstein, MD’67. PHOTOS BY ROB HART, JEAN LACHAT AND NANCY WONG


Classmates Benjamin Siegel, MD’67, left, and David W. Larson, MD’67, enjoy an animated conversation at the alumni social luncheon.

Pritzker School of Medicine alumni returned to campus in May to catch up with classmates and engage with faculty and students. The weekend schedule included the traditional family picnic and campus trolley tours along with new options such as the Women in Science and Medicine Brunch and a presentation on the admissions process.

Arjun Dayal, MD’17, leads alumni on a walking tour of the medical campus, above. Chris Albanis, AB’96, MD’00, left, moderates a discussion during the Women in Science and Medicine Brunch. From left, the panelists are Carina Yang, MD, assistant professor of radiology; Barbara S. Kirschner, MD, professor emerita of pediatrics, and Keme Carter, MD, associate professor of medicine.

Donald Philgreen, MD’67, and his wife, Martha Philgreen, at the Alumni and Student Picnic, far left. Alumni tour the Clinical Performance Center, from left: David Perin, SB’63, MD’67, Donald Cantway, AB’63, MD’67, David Horwitz, MD’67, PhD’68, and spouses Linda Cantway and Judith Wasserman.


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R E U N I O N W E E K E N D M AY 2 0 1 7

Pritzker News

Medical Reunion CLASS OF 1967












Awards honor distinguished alumni, faculty members The Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association

Award recipients, alumni leaders and deans at the 2017 Alumni Awards reception: Front row, from left, Samer Attar, SB’98, MD’02; Ernest Mhoon, MD’73, chair, Alumni Awards committee; Michael H. Silverman, MD’73, immediate past president, Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association; and Stefano Guandalini, MD. Back row, from left, Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, the Richard T. Crane Distinguished Service Professor and Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine; Pui-Yan Kwok, AB’79, SM’81, PHD’85, MD’87; Barbara S. Kirschner, MD; Holly J. Humphrey, MD’83, the Ralph W. Gerard Professor in Medicine and dean for medical education; Robert J. Dempsey, MD’77, and Stephen H. Koslow, PhD’67. Not pictured: Dorothy Hanck, PhD.

(MBSAA) recognizes alumni and faculty who have brought distinction for their outstanding contributions, leadership and service. This year, four alumni were honored with the Distinguished Service Award and three faculty members received a Gold Key Award.


Gold Key Award

Nominate a fellow alumnus for a 2018 Distinguished Service Award The Distinguished Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award for Early Achievement recognize alumni who have shown leadership in their professional lives or through public service. These individuals have brought honor and distinction to the Biological Sciences Division and the University of Chicago through the significant accomplishments they have made to the biological sciences and medicine. Nominate a fellow alumnus for this honor. Submit your nomination online by November 30, 2017:

Stefano Guandalini, MD Professor of Pediatrics Section Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Founder and Medical Director, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center University of Chicago Dorothy Hanck, PhD Professor, Department of Medicine; Committees on Molecular Medicine, Neurobiology, Cell Physiology and Computational Neuroscience; and the College Vice Chair for Appointments and Promotions, Department of Medicine University of Chicago Barbara S. Kirschner, MD Professor Emerita of Pediatrics University of Chicago

Distinguished Service Award Robert J. Dempsey, MD’77 Manucher J. Javid Professor Chairman of Neurological Surgery University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Stephen H. Koslow, PhD’67 President Biomedical Synergy Pui-Yan Kwok, AB’79, SM’81, PhD’85, MD’87 Professor of Dermatology Henry Bachrach Distinguished Professor Investigator, Cardiovascular Research Institute and Institute for Human Genetics Co-Director, Genomic Medicine Initiative, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco

Distinguished Service Award for Early Achievement Samer Attar, SB’98, MD’02 Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Northwestern University

Visit the MBSAA website to learn more:


FALL 2017



‘A noble profession’ He quoted Maya Angelou, Daniel Burnham and Shakespeare as he urged students to cultivate compassion, set ambitious goals, and remember to take care of themselves on their road to becoming a doctor. “I will be honored to call you my colleagues in four years,” Rogers said. With that, the Class of 2021 rose to recite the Hippocratic Oath, then exited the chapel with wide smiles, white coats fluttering behind them. PHOTOS BY GRADIMAGES


n a breezy Sunday in August, members of the Pritzker School of Medicine Class of 2021 began their journey to become physicians at the annual White Coat Ceremony in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Keynote speaker Selwyn O. Rogers Jr., MD, MPH, founding director of the University of Chicago Medicine Trauma Center, called medicine “a noble profession” that combines love of science with service to the community.

C L A S S O F 2 02 1

Selwyn Rogers, MD, MPH, addresses students, families and friends at the White Coat Ceremony.

90 students 49 undergraduate institutions

25 states 20 born outside the U.S.


A time for reflection, celebration

Jay Bradner, MD’99, shared memories of his medical school days during his keynote address to the Pritzker Class of 2017.


raduates of the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division received their academic hoods and guidance for the future at the 2017 Divisional Academic Ceremonies. “Your generation will save science,” speaker James (Jay) Bradner, MD’99, told the new MDs. Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said the knowledge and connectivity technology provides at the bedside have changed medicine for the better — as long as the next generation of physicians remembers the compassionate, humane side of care. “Keep your humanity close at hand, and draw strength from your insecurity,” he said. Robb Krumlauf, PhD, scientific director of the Stowes Institute for Medical Research, encouraged the new PhDs to use their skills as highly trained scientists to pursue their passions and to be ambassadors for science — even outside of academe. And Faculty Marshal Erin Adams, PhD, Joseph Regenstein Professor





PhD graduates Kate Criswell, left, Jenna Christensen, Buxin Chen and Alan Chang at the Divisional Academic Ceremony.

in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, urged graduates to advocate for the importance of scientific inquiry to a public that does not always understand it.

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John Benfield, MD’55, and William McColl, MD’55, toured the USNS Mercy. The ship, a 1,000-bed, state-ofthe-art mobile hospital, had recently returned from a mission to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The classmates met commanding officer Capt. Peter Roberts, a cardiothoracic surgeon who was one of Benfield’s residents.

Paul A. Nausieda, SB’68, MD’72, after 44 years in practice, is now the medical director for St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus in Milwaukee, which serves an inner-city population with intergenerational day care services and medical care. Nausieda still sees a number of patients with Parkinson’s disease, while also spending time with his two grandchildren and honing his culinary skills for his wife, who is still practicing dermatology.


Richard D. Simon, Jr., MD’76, was inducted as a 2016-17 graduate of distinction at Walla Walla High School, Walla Walla, Washington. After graduating from medical school, he returned to Walla Walla and became the founder of the Kathryn Severyns Dement Sleep Disorders Center, named in honor of the mother of his mentor, sleep researcher William Dement, MD, PhD. Simon is a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington and works at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

Executive Committee Paul H. Rockey, MPH, MD   ’70 President Michael H. Silverman, MD   ’73 Immediate Past President Chris Albanis, AB   ’96, MD   ’00 Vice President Ernest Mhoon, MD   ’73 Alumni Awards and National Reunion Chair Douglass B. Given, PhD   ’79, MD   ’80 Chicago Partners Chair Chris Albanis, AB   ’96, MD   ’00 Editorial Committee Chair Dean Rider, MD   ’78 Regional Programs Chair Oluwaseun Adelanke Adetayo, MD   ’06 Andrew Aronson, MD   ’69 Mark R. Aschliman, MD   ’80 Juliana Basko-Plluska, AB   ’04, MD Kenneth Begelman, MD   ’71 Oliver G. Cameron, PhD   ’72, MD   ’74 Amy Derick, MD   ’02 Jeanne Farnan, AB   ’98, MD   ’02 Stanley E. Friedell, MD   ’85 Sanford A. Garfield, PhD   ’74 Susan Glick, MD   ’90 Keith A. Horvath, AB   ’83, MD   ’87 Karyl Kopaskie, AB   ’07, PhD   ’14 Dennis Lee, MD   ’91 Daniel Leventhal, SM   ’13, PhD   ’16 Howard Liang, PhD   ’92, MBA   ’01 Doriane C. Miller, MD   ’83 Christian W. Sikorski, AB   ’94, MD   ’00 Jack Stockert, AB   ’05, MBA   ’10, MD   ’10 Baruch Solomon Ticho, PhD   ’87, MD   ’88 William Weese, MD   ’69 Lifetime Members L.D. Anagnostopoulos, SB   ’57, MD   ’61 Arnold B. Calica, SM   ’61, MD   ’75 Coleman Seskind, AB   ’55, MD   ’59, SM   ’59 Rostik Zajtchuk, SB   ’60, MD   ’63 Student Representatives Olufemi E. Adams, MS3 Ava Ferguson, MS4 Pritzker School of Medicine Ittai Eres Alyssa J. Harker Biological Sciences Divison Resident Representative Noura Choudhury, MD   ’16

Si-hoi Lam, AB’76, MD’80, was named to the American Health Council’s Education Board to lend his expertise in internal medicine. He is an assistant clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, where he trains students and residents and performs duties in primary care and clinical internal medicine.

1980s Jeffrey Rich, MD’81, was appointed chairman of operations and strategy for the Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute. In this role, he will lead the effort to cultivate cardiovascular and cardiac surgery relationships across the country. Previously, Rich led the Center for Medicare Management and served as president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Holly J. Humphrey, MD’83, the Ralph W. Gerard Professor in Medicine and dean for medical education at the Pritzker School of Medicine, was named board chair for the new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, slated to open in Pasadena, California, in 2019. Thomas Gajewski, AB’84, PhD’89, MD’91, was named the first AbbVie Foundation Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy in Pathology at the University of Chicago. Gajewski also was honored as one of OncLive’s 2017 Giants of Cancer Care and

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USNS Mercy Capt. Peter Roberts, William McColl, MD’55, and John Benfield, MD’55 received an outstanding investigator award from the National Institutes of Health for productivity in cancer research. Gajewski and his team focus on ways to improve the immune system to fight tumors. They recently discovered components of gut microbiota that could invigorate the immune system to attack tumor cells.

1990s Anita Blanchard, MD’90, was appointed associate dean for graduate medical education (GME) at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. From 2004 to 2017, she served as residency training program director in obstetrics and gynecology. Blanchard has actively worked in GME, serving on multiple special program review committees and chairing the inaugural Medical Education Resilience Committee. Her appointment is effective January 1, 2018. Annette Marie Medina-Walpole, MD’90, was named the Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester. She will continue her joint appointment as chief of the geriatrics and aging division. Passionate about promoting national excellence in geriatrics, Medina-Walpole started a program that integrates geriatrics for all medical students in the University of Rochester School of Medicine curriculum. She completed her residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the University of Washington. Catherine Odette Stehman-Breen, MD’90, was appointed in April 2017 the chief medical officer for Sarepta Therapeutics. Stehman-Breen completed her residency and a

fellowship at the University of Washington, while also earning a master of science degree in epidemiology. She remained at the University of Washington for six years as a faculty member in the Division of Nephrology. Prior to Sarepta, Stehman-Breen held the position of vice president for clinical development and regulatory affairs at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Monica B. Vela, MD’93, professor of medicine and associate dean for multicultural affairs at the Pritzker School of Medicine, was one of this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award winners. The awards recognize Biological Sciences Division faculty for “their contributions to our collective missions of excellence in education, research, diversity and inclusion, program innovation, service to the community and patient care.” Vela was named a Distinguished Leader in Diversity and Inclusion for her work as director of Pritzker’s Bowman Society and her participation as a member of the steering committee of the BSD’s larger diversity and inclusion team. Ram Subramanian, AB’92, SM’96, MD’98, was appointed scientific advisor at Revive Therapeutics Ltd. He will advise on the research and clinical development of Revive Therapeutics’ cannabinoid-based therapeutics that target liver disease. Subramanian completed a hepatology fellowship at the University of Nebraska, returning to the University of Chicago for his postgraduate training in gastroenterology, pulmonology and intensive care. He is an associate professor of medicine and surgery and the medical director of liver transplantation at Emory Healthcare and Emory University School of Medicine.


FALL 2017


Dana Edelson, MD’01, SM’07, was named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the 110 Women in MedTech to Know for 2017. She is founder and CEO of Quant HC, a medtech company in Chicago that offers predictive analytics. Edelson is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Frances T. Allocco, MD’02, joined Health Quest Medical Practice in New York as a general surgeon in March 2017. She moved her practice from Texas to Rhinebeck, New York, and will have surgical privileges at Northern Dutchess Hospital. Allocco completed her residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland and a fellowship at the Houston Methodist Hospital. Kimberly Ann Bauer, MD’05, joined the KishHealth Physician Group in DeKalb, Illinois, in March 2017. She has been practicing in the suburbs of Chicago since 2012 and specializes in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Bauer is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Chicago Dermatological Society and the American Medical Association. Chynna Steele, MD’05, was interviewed by Rolling Out, a periodical

about celebrities, news, entertainment, business and politics, about her career and her dermatology practice. Steele Dermatology in Alpharetta, Georgia, specializes in skin conditions, skin cancer and the latest cosmetic procedures that enhance skin, body and hair. She completed her training in dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis. Jocelyn Slaughter, MD’08, has opened her first medical office, The Healthy Woman, in Snellville, Ga. The new practice offers compassionate care to women in the Atlanta area. Slaughter, an obstetrician/gynecologist, loves delivering babies, performing minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and helping women of all ages. Visit her website for more information:



Mark your calendar for Reunion June 1-2, 2018 Attention medical alumni who graduated in the following years: 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013.

We want to hear from you Share news about your life and accomplishments: MBSAA-alumni-updates

Reunion website Visit for hotel

room information and a full schedule of events.

We’re looking for memories or photos from each class. Please email or share on our social media channels.

In Memoriam Mildred Husa-Ceithaml Mildred Husa-Ceithaml passed away in July 2017 at the age of 94. She will be remembered by alumni as the wife of the late Joseph J. Ceithaml, SB’37, PhD’41, who served as dean of students for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Biological Sciences Division from 1951 to 1986. She is survived by her son Robert Husa; her stepchildren Lenore and Eric Ceithaml; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She also was preceded in death by her first husband, Jerry Husa, and her son James Husa.

Beloved couple: Mildred HusaCeithaml and Joseph J. Ceithaml, SB’37, PhD’41




Vincent L. Rees, MD’38, died on May 21, 2017. He was 104 years old. Rees was an alumnus of Utah State University, as well as the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan, where he received a master’s degree in surgery. After completing his residency, he became assistant professor in the newly established department of surgery at the University of Utah. In 1949, Rees became one of the original founders of the Salt Lake Clinic, where he served as president and medical director. He also practiced at LDS Hospital, where he established an accredited surgical training program. Over the span of his career, Rees served as president of the Salt Lake County Medical Society and staff president at LDS Hospital, was a member of several surgical societies and published articles on surgery. He was the uncle of University of Chicago professor Lars Peter Hansen, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2013. Rees was preceded in death by his wife, Kay; son, William; son-inlaw, Gary; his brother and sister; and his granddaughter Kelly and grandson Michael. He is survived by his children Carol, Barbara and Debra; 16 grandchildren; and 38 great-grandchildren.

Paul L. Bunce, MD’42, died on March 18, 2017. He was 100 years old. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Bunce graduated from Oberlin College in 1938 with honors. After completing medical school, he began a surgical internship at the University of Chicago before enlisting in the Army Medical Corps. After serving 39 months, he was discharged as a major in 1946 and went to the University of Pennsylvania to conduct medical research and teach physiology and pharmacology. Bunce completed a urological residency at John Hopkins University before becoming a member of its faculty. In 1952, he was recruited by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine to establish a division of urology. There he built his career, serving as the first chief of urology and continuing as a professor, while also consulting at the Veterans Administration hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and at the clinic in Danville, Virginia. Preceded in death by his wife, Anne, Bunce is survived by his daughter, Leslie Anne; his son, Gregory Paul; his brother, William Edward; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.


C. Herbert Fredell, SB’45, MD’47, died on February 6, 2017. Fredell practiced surgery for more than 25 years at Flagstaff Community Hospital in Arizona. For 14 years, he also served as head of the surgical department at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. Fredell is survived by his wife, Elaine; brother, Bill; his two sons, Conradt and Erik; daughter, Karen; stepchildren, Deena, Teena, Jeena and Keith; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

1950s Donna M. Sommer, MD’54, died on July 9, 2017. She was 89. A graduate of Macalester College, Sommer trained in pediatrics before teaching and practicing at the University of Chicago. In 1955, she was part of the team of surgeons who used a new procedure to separate conjoined twins by dividing their common liver. After leaving Chicago for Fremont, California, she spent the rest of her career at the Permanente Medical Group and practicing at Kaiser’s Hayward facility. In 1990, she retired and continued to live in California with her husband, John L. Sommer, PhB’48, SB’50, MD’53. Sommer, preceded in death by her son Andrew, is survived by her husband; son Matthew; two grandchildren; and her sister, Janice.

Ira J. Schneider, MD’57, died on March 8, 2017. Schneider retired in 2011 as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon. At that time, he was chief of vascular surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital and assistant chief of surgery at Southside Hospital in New York. Schneider is survived by his wife, Dory; his son, Dr. Jason Schneider; daughters, Jessica Gosman and Jennifer Decker; stepchildren, Patty Lang, Barbara Cioffi and Sandy Inserra; 12 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Robert D. Zaas, MD’57, passed away in August 2017. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University before starting medical school at the University of Chicago. He completed his residency at Indiana University and served as a medical officer in the United States Navy. Zaas built his career in Cleveland as a prominent orthopaedic surgeon serving at the Mt. Sinai Hospital and Hillcrest Hospital. Zaas is survived by his children, Terence and Wendee. He was the grandfather of Alexandra, Tanner, Scout and the late Isabella. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol, and his sister, Carole Meyerson.

1960s C. George Ray, MD’60, died on January 15, 2017. He was 82 years old. After graduating from medical school, Ray completed an internship and

residency in pediatrics and infectious disease at the University of Washington in Seattle. During the Vietnam War, he served as a surgeon in the Epidemic Intelligence Service. He held a number of academic positions, including professor of laboratory medicine, microbiology, pediatrics and pathobiology, University of Washington; professor and acting head of pathology, University of Arizona; member and director of clinical virology and microbiology laboratories and acting head of the program in infectious disease, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle; professor and chairman of pediatrics, Saint Louis University. He received numerous awards for teaching and in the fields of microbiology and virology, and wrote 300 scientific articles and books. Following his retirement, Ray served as clinical professor of pathology and medicine and emeritus professor of pathology at the University of Arizona. He is survived by his wife, Diane; brother, Dave; son, Ted; daughter, Becky Bishop; and two grandchildren. Robert W. Ridley, MD’62, died on February 12, 2017. After graduating from Colorado College, Ridley moved to Los Angeles with his new wife, Velma, to pursue a degree in optometry. Shortly after, he joined the Army and served in the Korean War as a medic. After concluding his military career and welcoming his first child, Ridley began working at his father’s optometry practice in Alhambra, California. He left the practice three years later to pursue a bachelor’s degree in zoology from California State University, Los Angeles. After medical school at the University of Chicago, he did an internship at the University of Iowa and residency in ophthalmology at the University of Louisville. Ridley and his family eventually settled in Tullahoma, Tennessee, where he built his own practice, joined the Army Reserve, served in the medical unit in Chattanooga and became a rotating staff member of Harton Hospital. After retiring at the age of 81, Ridley earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Leo University. He is survived by his four children and seven grandchildren. Samuel Wagonfeld, MD’62, died on January 24, 2017. In addition to his medical degree from the University of Chicago, he received master’s degrees from Cornell University and the University of Michigan. He completed an internship at the University of Colorado Medical Center. After his psychiatry residency and fellowship at the University of Michigan, Wagonfeld returned to the University of Colorado in 1967 and started a long-standing connection with the Denver Psychoanalytic Institute. Though he left in 1975 to pursue

private practice, he continued to consult and volunteer at the University of Colorado Medical Center and teach courses at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well as at the Denver Psychoanalytic Institute and the Denver Psychoanalytic Society. He was considered an innovator in

child and adolescent psychiatry and psychoanalysis, developing a forensic psychiatry practice later in his career. Wagonfeld is survived by his two sons and his companion of 26 years, Sally V. Allen, and her son and his wife and two children. He was preceded in death by his sons’ mother, Barbara.


Richard Baron, MD

In Memoriam

Keith A. Kelly, MD’56, died on July 25, 2017. Kelly graduated from the University of Illinois before starting medical school at the University of Chicago. From 1958 to 1960, he served in the U.S. Air Force as a medical officer. In 1965, he completed surgical training at the University of Washington before traveling to the University of Amsterdam for a research fellowship. Kelly enjoyed a long career at the Mayo Clinic, serving as professor of surgery at Mayo Medical School, chair of surgery at Mayo Clinic Minnesota and Mayo Clinic Arizona, and conducting research in gastrointestinal physiology and surgery. For his work, he received the Mayo Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award, the Distinguished Educator Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Chicago Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association. Kelly served as a director of the American Board of Surgery, was an honorary member of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, and had an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. He also served on the editorial board for several surgical journals and was co-founder of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. Kelly is survived by his wife, Ann, four children, nine grandchildren and his brother, Robert.


ichard Baron, MD, MBA, a professor and one of the world’s leading authorities on diagnostic imaging of liver disease, died suddenly from an apparent heart attack while playing tennis on May 4, 2017. He was 68 years old. He served as chairman of the Department of Radiology at the University of Chicago from 2002 to 2011 and dean for clinical practice and head of the faculty practice plan from 2011 to 2013. He also served on the board of the Radiological Society of North America from 2008 to 2016 and as president of the board for 2015-16. Baron had a distinguished career in research, PHOTO COURTESY OF education and patient care. He published more RADIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 53 book chapters and review articles, and was co-editor of the textbook Multislice-CT of the Abdomen. He provided quality and safety expertise on national and international levels, serving on the Joint Commission Professional and Technical Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2011 and providing guidance to the International Atomic Energy Commission and the World Health Organization. He was a popular speaker and served as a reviewer for several journals. He earned international honors for his research and teaching, the Gold Medal of the Asian Oceanian Society of Radiology in 2014, the Medal of Honor and honorary membership in the French Radiological Society in 2015, and honorary membership in the European Society of Radiology in 2017.

“The radiology faculty benefited during his chairmanship from his thoughtful guidance and his ability and eagerness to mentor younger colleagues. He was a master educator and a lifelong learner —  a role model for trainees and clinical peers alike.” David Paushter, MD Professor of Radiology and Chair, Department of Radiology

A graduate of Yale University, Baron earned his medical degree and election to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1976. His internship in internal medicine at Yale University was followed by a residency in radiology and an abdominal radiology fellowship at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. Later in his career, faced with increasing administrative duties, he pursued further education in the MBA program at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. Despite the demands of his career, “the man that we knew at home was totally devoted to his family,” said his wife, Shirley Baron. “His focus was never on himself but rather on those he loved. We knew him as warm, loving, patient, generous and always available when needed.” Baron also is survived by the couple’s son, Tim; daughter, Christine Turner; and his brother, John. A memorial service was held May 31 in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.


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Jurassic art A long-extinct gliding mammaliaform of the Jurassic comes to life in a digital painting by scientific illustrator April I. Neander. She is a member of the Luo Mammal Paleontology Lab at the University of Chicago and recipient of the 2016 Lanzendorf National Geographic Digital Modeling and Animation Award. For the life reconstruction, Neander started with a graphite drawing on paper, scanned it and then completed the illustration in Photoshop. For more about Zhe-Xi Luo, PhD, and the discovery of two 160 million-year-old fossils of the oldest known gliders in the history of early mammals, read the story on page 25.


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Medicine on the Midway - Fall 2017  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...

Medicine on the Midway - Fall 2017  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...