Utmost care

A day in the life of Washington ­University School of Medicine showcases the breadth of ­­ongoing efforts to advance research, education and the best ­medical care possible for patients.

John F. DiPersio speaks with a patient
A medical oncologist and expert in bone-marrow transplantation and leukemia, John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, serves as the deputy director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Above, DiPersio, who also serves as chief of the Division of Oncology and the Virginia E. and Samuel J. ­Golman Endowed Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine, meets with Stephen Brown at the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM). At CAM, more than 750 Washington University physicians and 18 ­collaborative clinical centers give patients access to comprehensive medical care in an outpatient setting. Photo by Matt Miller

At Washington University School of ­Medicine, ­every day is a day of ­discovery. The scope of work that transpires in any 24-hour period to advance human health — in research, training and patient care — is inspiring and consequential. Across disciplines, physician-scientists are looking at genetic clues, working to solve some of medicines toughest puzzles: cancer, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular ­disease and so much more.

The School of Medicine is a place with a long ­tradition in immunology and microbiology, and researchers in those areas are working to develop vaccines for cancer and treatments for emerging infections, ­autoimmune disorders and antibiotic resistance. Further, researchers are working to ­understand malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and other conditions by delving deeply into the microbiome. The ­medical school, with the Mallinckrodt Institute of ­Radiology, also has a long tradition of being a leader in imaging sciences, from the development of the PET scanner to evaluate organ and tissue function in the 1970s to the use of ­high-tech glasses to help spot cancer cells today.

A key contributor to the Human ­Genome ­Project, the school is going beyond describing genes and how they vary to understanding how to develop better diagnostics and therapeutics to ­address disease-generating variations in a personalized way.

Timothy Eberlein
A clinical expert in breast cancer and breast surgery, Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, is the Bixby Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine. ­Eberlein is also the ­Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin ­Distinguished ­Professor. He also serves as surgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and as director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. ­Under his ­leadership, Siteman has established ­internationally recognized programs across the continuum of cancer care. Further, ­Siteman now has ­expanded to six locations around the St. Louis area, which also provide ­underserved adults access to highly trained ­Washington ­University cancer specialists. ­Siteman ­offers access to more than 500 clinical trials, ­innovative cancer ­therapies often not available ­elsewhere in the ­region. Comprising the cancer ­research, ­prevention and treatment programs of ­Barnes-Jewish Hospital and ­Washington ­University School of Medicine, ­Siteman ­currently partners with St. Louis ­Children’s Hospital in the treatment of pediatric patients. Siteman is ­Missouri’s only National Cancer Institute–­designated Comprehensive Cancer ­Center and the region’s only member of the National ­Comprehensive Cancer Network. Photo by Matt Miller

According to David H. Perlmutter, MD, the ­inaugural George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine and the executive vice chancellor for ­medical affairs, over the last two decades, the ­medical school ­actually has been a part of two campaigns: “I am using the word campaign in two different ways,” ­Perlmutter says. “There is an ongoing campaign for ­­determining whether something really is a cause of a disease; the other campaign has been to secure the financial resources necessary to make this important work possible. Thanks to the generosity of those who supported Leading Together, the school has made progress on both fronts.”

Through funding important centers — the ­McDonnell Genome Institute, the Edison Family ­Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology, and the Genome Engineering and iPSC Center, all in the Debra and George W. Couch III Biomedical Research Building; the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for ­Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs; the National Cancer Institute–recognized Alvin J. ­Siteman Cancer Center; and others — Leading Together allows the School of Medicine to support the scientific leaders making progress on these complex medical challenges.

Here, take a glimpse at some of the important work happening on any given day at this busy, vital place.

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