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Surgeon named director of cancer program

With nearly 30 years of experience in cancer-related care, it comes as no surprise that Dr. F. Charles Brunicardi has been named director of the cancer program in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

This administrative role oversees the coordination of the three key components of the cancer program — clinical, education and research studies in affiliation with ProMedica.

Brunicardi

“I am honored to be here and enjoy working with President [Sharon L.] Gaber, Dean [Christopher] Cooper, and UTMC CEO Dan Barbee,” Brunicardi said. “In this administrative role, I really aim to focus on enhancing relationships between clinical staff, clinical and basic science faculty, as well as the learners, in order to take the cancer program to its next level of excellence. The ultimate goal is to build a precision medicine program for targeted cancer therapy in affiliation with ProMedica.”

A practicing general surgeon specializing in personalized surgery and precision medicine, Brunicardi joined UT in 2016 as chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of academic surgery for ProMedica.

Prior to this, he was a member of the Department of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he served as professor in residence and vice chair of surgery since 2011 and the Moss Foundation Chair in Gastrointestinal and Personalized Surgery since 2012.

“Dr. Brunicardi was an ideal choice for this role because of his vast experience in translational cancer research, surgical oncology and his strong leadership skills,” said Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “This role is critical for the integration of high-quality patient care, state-of-the-art research, and education. Dr. Brunicardi has the skills and experience to accomplish this.”  

In addition to his impressive experience, Brunicardi’s clinical interests include pancreatic cancer neuroendocrine tumors, as well as breast surgery. His research focuses on translation precision medicine and personalized surgery, specifically pertaining to pancreatic cancer. He has published 284 papers, seven books and 38 book chapters, and is the lead editor of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery.

After receiving his medical degree from Rutgers School of Medicine in 1980, he graduated the surgery residency program at State University of New York Downstate, where he also spent three years as a research fellow in pancreatic diseases. He served as an assistant and associate professor at UCLA, then served as professor and chairman of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for 12 years.

He has designed and founded three breast cancer centers and served on boards of three cancer centers. He has served as the first vice president for the Texas Surgical Society, as a member of the board of directors for the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and on the board of trustees at the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center. He is a member of the Committee on Technology and Communications Association for Academic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, and is a charter member of the Cure Focus Research Alliance. He has held several positions within the Association for Academic Surgery; these include president, recorder and historian.

Brunicardi also dedicates time to editorial services for medical publications, including the Journal of Translational Medicine; American Journal of Surgery; Cancer Management and Research; Clinical and Translational Science; Pancreas; and World Journal of Surgery.