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Spring 2020


Spring 2020 Newsletter Cover

A Portal Into Cancer Care

Growing a Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery Program Through New Treatments

In this issue of the Duke Surgery newsletter, we feature our hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgeons and take a closer look at several novel procedures to treat conditions of the liver, biliary system, and pancreas. Over the past two years, the HPB surgical program has significantly grown with the arrival of new faculty and new cutting-edge treatments, such as the hepatic artery infusion pump and robotic liver surgery. These novel therapies give hope to patients with cancer when standard therapies are no longer effective.

Photos: (Above) Dr. Sabino Zani Jr. performing robotic liver surgery. (Right) The Duke hepatopancreatobiliary surgery team. Photos by Ken A. Huth, HuthPhoto.

Patient Care

Dress Blues and Green Scrubs

Navy Surgeons at Duke

Giving Life

Duke Surgeons Perform First Donation After Circulatory Death Heart Transplant in the United States


New Technique Visually Depicts How Cancer Cells Grow and Spread in Colon Tissue

Even Before Cancer Is Detectable, Glow-in-the-Dark Cells Show Mutations Driving Malignancy

Grants and Clinical Trials

Surgery Research Grant Activity and Awarded Clinical Trials


Making Leaders

A Formal Soft Skills Curriculum for the Duke Plastic Surgery Residency Program

2nd Annual Surgeons as Educational Scholars Symposium

General Surgery Residency Program Prepares Residents as Educators in Surgery

Faculty Recognition

New Faculty


Faculty Promotions


Faculty Awards

Message From the Chair

Dr. Allan KirkThe most complex obstacles in patient care require creative solutions and the ability to translate basic science discoveries into practical therapies. Our surgical oncologists are at the forefront of developing and honing novel surgical techniques for the treatment of cancer, and our researchers are designing diagnostic techniques to detect cancer earlier, enabling patients to have the best chance of a full recovery, and to understand the fundamental biology driving malignancy, in general.

In this issue, we feature our hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgeons who recently introduced several novel procedures to treat conditions of the liver, biliary system, and pancreas. The HPB surgical program has significantly grown over the past two years thanks to the arrival of new faculty and new cutting-edge treatments: among them, the hepatic artery infusion pump and robotic liver surgery. These novel therapies provide an option for cancer patients when standard surgical resection is inadequate.

In addition, we focus on our transplant surgeons who are pioneering novel transplant techniques to treat patients with end-stage heart failure. In a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, Duke surgeons performed a donation after circulatory death (DCD) heart transplant in December 2019. This surgical milestone paves the way for future transplants using a new source of organ donors and a novel perfusion method to preserve the heart outside the body, allowing surgeons to transplant more patients faster.

In another story from our cardiothoracic surgery program, we examine a new collaboration with the United States Navy to help active duty cardiothoracic surgeons maintain their readiness. This profile highlights two Navy surgeons who train with us on 3-month rotations to enhance their surgical skillsets by working on highly complex cases at Duke. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Navy.

On the research front, our cancer researchers have devised a novel fluorescence technique that illuminates cancer cells before they become malignant, potentially leading to faster detection and earlier treatment for patients. This “glow in the dark” method is also being evaluated in breast cancer.

Finally, as part of our educational mission, the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency launched a formal soft skills curriculum to give surgical residents the foundations for a successful career in surgery, empowering them to refine their communication and leadership skills. Similarly, the General Surgery Residency launched a program to better prepare residents to assume roles as educators in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment with the help of faculty instructors.

At Duke Surgery, we continually strive to meet unique healthcare problems while preparing tomorrow’s leaders to overcome future hurdles.

Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS
David C. Sabiston Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair Department of Surgery
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University Health System

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