University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archive: Week in Review – January 11, 2010

New Initiatives

Ahmed Afifi, MD, has accepted the position of Assistant Professor (CHS) in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Afifi completed his medical school and surgery training at Cairo University Medical School and Hospitals in Egypt. Since 2005 he has completed fellowships in pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, hand and microsurgery at the University of New Mexico, and aesthetic and breast reconstruction at the Cleveland Clinic. He will join the Department in June 2010.

George Keeler will begin employment as Program Manager of the Simulation Center on Monday, January 11, 2010. George has extensive experience in marketing, strategic planning and sales at several medical device and mechanical equipment corporations. George will work with the leadership team to bring the plans for the simulation center to fruition. This will include developing collaborations with industry and philanthropic partners, finalizing the business plan, defining space and developing program offerings for the center, obtaining grant funding, developing policies and procedures, and developing a budget. In addition, George will manage the day-to-day operations of the center once developed.


Sam Gubbels will initiate his KL2 funded research program on January 1, 2010, six months ahead of schedule. The NIH/NCRR approved the change, which will support 75% of Dr. Gubbels’ base salary.

After a 2 year application process Hans Sollinger received permission (IND) from the FDA to test a new Complement inhibitor (Rhucin). In preclinical and limited clinical (compassionate) use the drug has shown a marked reduction in tissue damage, including cases of severe airway obstruction and cerebral edema. The drug is now obtained from rabbits but in the future will be extracted from the milk of genetically modified cows. A large herd has already been established in Wisconsin. At this time Dr. Sollinger is the only investigator with permission to use the drug, and he will initially test it in organ transplant rejection.


The Association for Academic Surgery (AAS) announced newly elected committee members. Jon Gould and Josh Mezrich were appointed to the Education Committee and Cliff Cho and Heather Neuman were appointed to the Leadership Committee. Congratulations to our faculty members.

More New Research Grants in 2009

Susan Thibeault is a Co-Investigator on an NIH RO1 and the PI of a subcontract. The R01, titled “Influence of Subglottic Anatomy on Voice Production,” was awarded to Brigham Young University.

Melanie Dart, Ph.D., in the Division of Transplant, was a winner of a BD Biosciences Fall 2009 Research Grant. She was selected to receive individual grants of research reagents valued at a total of $10,000 to conduct innovative research for her work titled “Atherosclerosis and Collagen Type V.”

Will Burlingham received a 5 year extension of a subcontract with the ITN to continue the study of tolerant renal transplant recipients as part of the NEWELL STUDY. This is a fixed-price contract paid on a per patient/per visit basis, but is worth up to $810,000 over the next 5 years.