After an extensive national search, Thomas G. Gleason, MD, has been named chief of Cardiac Surgery and co-executive director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham Health, effective May 1, 2020.
Dr. Gleason is currently the Ronald V. Pellegrini Endowed Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he also serves as the co-director of the Heart and Vascular Institute and director of the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). In these roles, he directs UPMC’s adult cardiac surgery programs for its many Pennsylvania-based hospitals that provide cardiac surgical services and co-directs the cardiovascular disease service line for UPMC.
A graduate of Middlebury College (BS) in Vermont and Rush Medical College (MD) in Chicago, Dr. Gleason completed his general surgical internship and residency at the University of Virginia where he also obtained a Master of Science in Immunology. He completed a cardiothoracic surgery residency and an advanced cardiac and thoracic aortic fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. He has held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University prior to joining UPMC.
Dr. Gleason has extensive clinical experience managing patients with valvular heart disease, thoracic aortic disease, hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation. His clinical research interests are primarily focused on the development and refinement of novel valve therapies, particularly aortic valve repair strategies, and in developing a systematic approach toward the management of aortic dissections. His longstanding basic science research interest has been devoted to the study of the aortopathy associated with congenital bicuspid aortic valves (BAV)—the most common phenotype seen among patients with ascending aortic aneurysmal disease. His multidisciplinary Thoracic Aortic Disease Research Laboratory aims to facilitate translational research of the vascular biology and biomechanics of thoracic aortic diseases. The laboratory maintains a robust thoracic aortic tissue bank that now houses over 1,000 distinct aortic smooth muscle cell lines and 150 aortic endothelial cell lines, many of which have been immortalized, all used as the framework for this translational human cell-based research.
Dr. Gleason is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Surgical Association and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He was a permanent member (2014-2019) of the Bioengineering, Technology, and Surgical Sciences (BTSS) Study Section for the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health, and he currently serves on the editorial board of Circulation. He serves on the National Steering Committee for the STS/ACC TVT Registry and is co-chair of the Research and Publications Committee for the TVT. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Chest Physicians.
“Dr. Gleason will be bringing a wealth of clinical, academic and research leadership to his new Brigham roles,” Gerard Doherty, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery says. “I am confident that he will be highly effective in building on the strong foundation we have in place within our cardiac surgery programs and in partnering with John F. Keaney, Jr., MD, chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, to provide strategic oversight of the Heart and Vascular Center.”
Ravindra Uppaluri, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery and chief of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, received a $4.3 million U01 Cancer Moonshot grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for his project, “Defining Mechanisms of Immunotherapy Resistance in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas.”
An initiative of the NCI, the Cancer Moonshot program seeks to accelerate cancer research, aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.
Uppaluri will serve as principal investigator on this project with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s David Barbie, MD, and Robert Haddad, MD. Co-Investigators include James Lederer, PhD, and Ann Marie Egloff, PhD, MPH, both of the Brigham’s Department of Surgery, and Robert Manguso, PhD, of the Broad Institute. The team seeks to understand why many patients with head and neck cancers display resistance to immunotherapy drugs, with the goal of improving treatment response rates for this patient population.
More broadly in his work at the Brigham, Uppaluri works in a close, multidisciplinary fashion with colleagues in medical and radiation oncology and neurosurgery. His clinical interests focus on head and neck malignancies including using minimally invasive transoral and endoscopic approaches. He also leads the Division of Otolaryngology. His research interests focus on basic and translational approaches to improving outcomes for patients with head and neck cancers.
The NCI is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. The mission of the NIDCR is to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health.