Kane named Kimbrough Chair for Pediatric Dentistry

Alex A. Kane, M.D., has been named the Dr. Joseph B. Kimbrough Chair for Pediatric Dentistry in the Washington University Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery for Use in the Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Deformities Institute for teaching and healing.


Kane is associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery and director of the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, made the announcement.

“Dr. Kimbrough’s generous bequest allows us to continue to help patients with craniofacial conditions,” Wrighton said. “Dr. Kane’s extraordinary work with young patients will help to carry on the name of Dr. Kimbrough and his legacy in the St. Louis area.”

“Dr. Kane’s compassion for children is evident through his painstaking work to repair devastating facial birth defects or injuries,” Shapiro said. “He is an excellent choice to hold this professorship named for Dr. Kimbrough.”

“It is a great honor to receive the Kimbrough chair,” Kane said. “It is privilege enough to be able to help care for children with craniofacial conditions. To be given recognition of this type is both gratifying and humbling. This represents a testimonial to the dedicated team of professionals with whom I work and the strength of the institutions at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which in combination foster a wonderful environment for the care of the families we treat.”

Kane joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 2000. As director of the Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery and of the Craniofacial Imaging Laboratory, he works with a multi-disciplinary group of specialists from otolaryngology, neurosurgery, audiology, speech/language pathology, psychology, dentistry and orthodontics.

He is also director of residency education in Pediatric Plastic Surgery. He practices at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. He has taken volunteer surgical and teaching missions to Cambodia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.

Kane’s research is in using imaging to better understand craniofacial abnormalities and to study outcomes of their surgical repair. He studies craniofacial structure and function, using several different imaging technologies and analytical techniques.

The chair was made possible by a bequest from Joseph B. Kimbrough, D.D.S., an 1894 graduate of the Washington University College of Dental Medicine. Kimbrough enrolled in the Missouri Dental College in 1890; the college was acquired by WUSTL before he completed his degree. After graduation, Kimbrough served on the dental school faculty and maintained a successful private practice.

Kimbrough retired from active practice after 62 years and died in 1963 at age 93. During his lifetime, he made numerous gifts to University alumni funds, and his estate provided two endowed professorships to the School of Medicine.

The School of Dental Medicine graduated its 125th and final class in 1991.