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Three Duke Surgery Faculty Members Receive Distinguished Professorships

Friday, May 3, 2019
Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH, Howard Francis, MD, MBA, Stuart Knechtle, MD

Three faculty members from the Duke Department of Surgery have received distinguished professorships from Duke University. Distinguished professorships are awarded to the most distinguished faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary scholarship in advancing science and improving human health.

Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH


Mary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery

Shelley Hwang, MDDr. Hwang is a professor of surgery and radiology in the School of Medicine. She also serves as vice chair of research and chief of breast surgery in the Department of Surgery and co-leader of women’s cancer in the Duke Cancer Institute. One of the world’s foremost experts in early-stage breast cancers, Hwang is an international leader in research to guide treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), in which abnormal cells are detected in the lining of a milk duct but haven’t spread to other tissues. DCIS is the most common form on non-invasive breast cancer in the U.S., and accounts for about 20 percent of all new breast cancer cases diagnosed from mammogram screenings. Dr. Hwang leads a multicenter research initiative to create a molecular tumor atlas of precancers. In 2016, she was named one of TIME’s most influential people as a pioneer in her field.

Howard Francis, MD, MBA


Richard Hall Chaney, Sr. Professor of Otolaryngology

Dr. Francis is a professor in the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. He is an ear surgeon with expertise in the management of hearing loss and balance and also specializes in infections and tumors that impact the ear and the skull base. As a clinical researcher, he has contributed new insights into the neurosensory mechanisms of hearing loss and repair, and his efforts have led to advances in the efficacy and safety of therapies for treating these disorders. By establishing his own international collaborations while also leading institutional global initiatives, he has endeavored to advance the delivery of care in the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. He has also led an institutional effort to define new standards and methods for the assessment of surgical skills relating to the ear, which are guiding national policy and practice.

Stuart Knechtle, MD


William R. Kenan, Jr. Professorship for Transplant Surgery

Dr. Knechtle previously served as the Mary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery before his appointment as the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the Department of Surgery. He is also a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Dr. Knechtle performs abdominal organ transplants in adults and children, concentrating on liver and kidney transplantation, liver resections, and portal hypertension surgery. During his career as an academic surgeon, he has led or participated in a diverse portfolio of research projects. These projects have centered on the immunology of transplantation, including cellular and antibody-mediated immune responses and how they are influenced by immune cell depletion and costimulation blockade. Dr. Knechtle’s lab is developing improved therapies for a better understanding of the management of immune memory to help overcome immunologic sensitization by a previous transplant.