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Greg Lester

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August 19, 2003

Bert W. O'Malley, Jr., MD, Selected to Chair Designate Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Penn School of Medicine

(Philadelphia, PA) - Bert W. O'Malley Jr., MD, an expert surgeon and innovative researcher, has joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as Chair Designate of Penn's Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. O'Malley is an accomplished surgeon, specializing in sinus surgery, removal of head and neck tumors, and skull base surgery. His current research examines the use of a gene transfer technique to make cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation.

"Bert O'Malley exemplifies the physician-scientist spirit for which Penn is known," said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. "By its nature, otorhinolaryngology is a multidisciplinary field, and the department will benefit from the leadership of someone with O'Malley's experience and abilities."

Penn's Department of Otorhinolaryngology is responsible for treatment of a wide variety of ailments affecting the ear, nose, and throat, including cancer and thyroid surgery, sinus disease, hearing loss, and voice and swallowing disorders. As designate chair, O'Malley will seek to enhance the department's capabilities and to further its reputation for excellence in patient care.

"The department embodies Penn's great strengths in collaborative medicine," said O'Malley. "I look forward to working with my new colleagues among the Otorhinolaryngology faculty."

Prior to coming to Penn, O'Malley was a professor of surgery and head of the Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

O'Malley studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Texas and earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. After finishing residencies in Otolaryngology at Baylor College of Medicine, he completed a fellowship in head and neck oncology and cranial base surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. O'Malley also served as Associate Professor and Director of Gene and Molecular Therapy in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is board certified in head and neck surgery by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

Biomedical research has been a large part of O'Malley's career, and he has a particular interest in therapeutic application of the science of cellular biology. With the intent of speeding recovery following injury or surgery, he has studied the involvement of cellular growth factors in the repair and regeneration of muscle and nervous tissue. He has also worked under a NASA grant to study means of regenerating bone and muscle lost during periods of weightlessness associated with space travel. Currently, O'Malley also conducts research in gene and molecular therapy, investigating therapies for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck - a cancer that has been notoriously to defeat.

"In animal models, we've had great success in delivering genes that make tumors more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy," said O'Malley. "By inserting a gene that help halts tumor cell replication and primes the cells for death, it is easier for chemotherapy or radiation to destroy cancer."

O'Malley is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology, and the Maryland Society of Otolaryngology. He is a founding member of the Cell Transplant Society and a fellow in the International College of Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, and the American Head and Neck Society.

O'Malley also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of an international journal, the Jounal for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, national and international presentations, and is the editor of a textbook entitled "Atlas of Skull Base Surgery".

O'Malley has a long history of both NIH and corporate funding for his research program. He strongly believes that his new position at Penn will accelerate the translational potential of his research leading to a positive impact for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

For a printer friendly version of this release, click here.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.2 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation's first integrated academic health system). Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System consists of four hospitals (including its flagship Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation's "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report), a faculty practice plan, a primary-care provider network, three multispecialty satellite facilities, and home health care and hospice.



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