New Team is Powerhouse in Surgery and Research; Have Collaborated on Groundbreaking Discoveries to Improve Outcomes of Transplant Patients
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean, E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, and Christine Lau, MD, MBA, The Dr. Robert W. Buxton Chair of Surgery at UMSOM, announced today the hiring of two internationally-renown transplant professionals: a surgeon scientist and a transplant scientist. The unique pair of transplant professionals provides UMSOM with a powerful combination of leadership in both clinical surgery and surgical science.
Following a national search, Daniel G. Maluf, MD, will become Professor of Surgery at UMSOM and has been appointed the new Director of the Program in Transplantation, which is a joint program between the UMSOM and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). He currently serves as Director of Liver Transplantation and Medical Director of the Transplant Research Institute at the University of Tennessee (UT)/Methodist Transplant Institute.
Valeria Raquel Mas, PhD, has been hired as Professor of Surgery and head of the newly created Division of Surgical Sciences. She currently serves as an Endowed Professor of Surgery and the Director and Founder of Transplant Research for the UT/Methodist Transplant Institute.
Dr. Maluf and Dr. Mas held previously similar positions at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University. They have collaborated on more than 100 research publications on transplantation, led several federal and non-federal funded research projects, and are each considered leaders in their respective field.
Dr. Maluf is Leading Transplant Surgeon Scientist
Dr. Maluf served previously as a tenured professor of surgery at the University of Virginia Health System for more than eight years. He was surgical co-director of liver transplantation, director of living donor transplantation, and director of the abdominal transplant fellowship program. He has extensive NIH-funded research focusing in the areas of transplant surgery, liver donor liver transplantation, and robotic minimally invasive surgery, among others. He has published more than 300 papers, abstracts, and book chapters. Dr. Maluf’s research discoveries in the laboratory aim to improve outcomes in the operating room. He is specifically focused on identifying new interventions to expand donor organ pool by using ex vivo organ perfusion approaches during organ preservation and biomarkers that will help provide earlier diagnoses for liver, kidney, and pancreas transplant patients. This would allow treatments to be given sooner when they are more likely to be successful. His goal is to help prevent life-threatening post-transplant conditions and safely expand the available organ donor pool to assist more patients waiting for a transplant. On his new role as Director of Transplant Program, Dr. Maluf will work closely with the Departments of Surgery and Medicine Chairs to facilitate aligning among faculties focused in transplant patient care.
“We are so pleased to welcome this stellar team of transplant science innovators to our faculty who will lead the Department and the Program in Transplantation to even greater heights and advances in the transplant field,” said Dr. Reece, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UMB, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “They will both help us continue the trajectory that is already taking place in our transplant program, which has us positioned to secure national leadership in both multi-organ transplantation and transplant science.”
Alison Brown, MPH, Interim President, University of Maryland Medical Center, added: “We are looking forward to the exemplary contributions this team will bring to our medical center. The further building of collaborative clinical and research relationships between the hospital and faculty of this well-established, internationally recognized team will help strengthen our role in the transplant community, while providing innovative care for our transplant patients,” she said.
UMSOM’s Longstanding Leadership in Transplantation
The addition of Dr. Maluf and Dr. Mas builds on the UMSOM’s longstanding leadership in transplantation, which spans more than 50 years. Transplantation at UMSOM -- including the Transplant Division in the Department of Surgery, as well as the Transplant Sections in Cardiology, Pulmonary, Nephrology, and Hepatology within the Department of Medicine -- has gained an international reputation as one of the largest and most successful multi-organ transplant centers in the country, performing over 500 transplant procedures a year, and including many firsts:
- First in Maryland to perform a single-lung transplant, a combined heart and liver transplant, and a total artificial heart-to-heart transplant
- First in Maryland and only the third in the United States to perform a single-port, natural orifice kidney removal surgery through the umbilicus (navel) for a living kidney donor
- First in U.S. to have performed 1,000 minimally invasive kidney removals from living kidney donors
- Maintain the largest and most successful adult living-donor liver transplant program in Maryland and the second in the nation
- Ranked by CareChex as #1 in patient safety in the liver transplant program (second consecutive year) and #2 for patient safety in the kidney transplant program
- Performed the most comprehensive face transplant to date, based on ten years of research
- First in the U.S. to transplant lungs treated with an experimental repair process before transplantation
- Pioneered the first living organ delivery by airborne drone
Stephen Davis, MBBS, FRCP, FACE, MACP, the Theodore E. Woodward Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology and the General Clinical Research Center at the UMSOM, said, “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Maluf and Dr. Mas. Transplant Medicine is a marquee program in the Department of Medicine. It represents the essential tripartite mission of the School of Medicine: clinical excellence, education, and discovery. It also demonstrates our wonderful partnership with our surgical and pediatric colleagues. We are so proud of our transplant program and are excited to work together to elevate transplant medicine to an even higher level,” added Dr. Davis, who is also Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and Vice President of Clinical Translational Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Dr. Lau, who is also Chief of Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said: “I am thrilled to have Dr. Maluf join our team. He will help us fulfill the mission of our transplant program by expanding live donor liver transplantation and by continuing his groundbreaking transplant research.”
Steven Czinn, MD, the Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, said: “A vibrant adult transplant program is key to supporting pediatric solid organ transplantation. Our signature Programs, which include Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Nephrology, are very excited about the recent additions of Dr. Maluf and Dr. Mas, and we look forward to growing our pediatric heart, liver and kidney transplant program under their leadership,” said Dr. Czinn, who is also Director, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Maluf received his MD degree from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba in Argentina and did his general surgery internship and residency at Catholic University of Cordoba in Argentina. He completed a transplant surgery fellowship and a transplant research fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. He did postgraduate work in advanced robotics in transplantation at the University of Illinois at Chicago and robotic surgery training at Eastern Carolina University. He began his career in transplant surgery as an assistant professor of surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Maluf has received numerous national and international transplant awards, including the International Liver Transplant Society Young Investigators Award in 2017. He is a Fellow in national and international transplant organizations, including the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Society of Transplant, The Transplant Society, The American Association for Studies of Liver Disease, and the International Liver Transplant Society. He has trained multiple fellows, surgical residents, and medical students and mentored young faculties in the transplant field.
Dr. Mas is Innovator in Field of Transplant Research
Dr. Valeria Mas, before founding and establishing the UT/Methodist Transplant Institute in 2018, served as a tenured associate professor of Research Surgery at the University of Virginia, where she directed the Translational Genomics Transplant Laboratory, and previously was co-director of Transplant Research. Dr. Mas is a leader in numerous transplant societies as a chair and member of multiple committees including International Liver Transplant Society Basic Science Committee Chair, The Transplantation Society Education Committee, Chair of American Society of Transplantation Research Network career development grants, among others, and most recently was elected as a councilor for the International Liver Transplant Society.
“Dr. Valeria Mas will play an integral role in our department as a nationally and internationally recognized expert for her research in transplant genomics and proteomics,” said Dr. Lau. “She is the perfect candidate to spearhead our new effort to advance the field of transplant research.”
A fellow of the American Society of Transplantation, Dr. Mas has received numerous national and international awards in the field of liver transplantation and research, including International Liver Transplantation Rising Star Award, University of Virginia School of Medicine Dean’s award for excellence in Research, American Society of Transplantation’ Basic Science Investigator Award, among others. Her research interests include transplant immunology and molecular biology with especial emphasis in epigenetic modifications and gene expression regulation affecting kidney graft and outcomes. She has extensive industry, foundation, and National Institutes of Health research funding. Dr. Mas is a member of Women in Transplantation, the International Liver Transplant Society, the American Society of Nephrology, the Transplantation Society, The American Society of Transplantation and The European Transplant Society, and many other organizations. She is associate editor of the Transplantation Journal, Renal Pharmacology, and the American Journal of Transplantation and has published more than 175 papers and abstracts.
Dr. Mas received a BS in biology at National University of Cordoba in Argentina, as well as master’s degrees in immunology and clinical biochemistry. She was awarded a PhD in biochemistry from National University of San Luis in Argentina.
Integrated Clinical Program (ICP)
The UMSOM has several Integrated Clinical Programs (ICP), including the Program in Oncology, Program in Trauma, and Program in Sports Medicine. The Program in Transplantation is the newest of the ICPs and will involve a highly integrated and multidisciplinary set of clinicians, researchers, and supporting staff from UMMC as well as from UMSOM’s Departments of Surgery and Medicine, but also from the Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and others.
As with the other UMSOM ICPs, research will be a major component of the new Program in Transplantation.
“Our current transplant research covers the waterfront from basic and translational to fully clinical, involving prospective randomized studies with patients as well as drugs, devices, biomarkers, and lab tests,” says Jonathan Bromberg, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery. “We have a lot of translational and clinical research going on, much more than other centers in the area.”
He points out that the new Program’s research initiatives will be highly integrated into clinical care as well as into teaching and training for medical students, residents, fellows, and even junior faculty.
“Having an active research program creates a superior environment for training and education, as our medical community is being exposed to all sorts of new ideas, techniques, and information on a daily basis, resulting in a much broader and deeper educational experience,” he said. “We have become a magnet to attract new trainees—medical students, residents, and fellows—as well as new faculty and staff.”
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu