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November 6, 2001

Reed E. Pyeritz, MD, PhD, Named Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medical Genetics

(Philadelphia) - Reed E. Pyeritz, MD, PhD, has accepted the position of Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Penn Medical Center.

Pyeritz has been actively engaged in research on heritable disorders of connective tissue for the past two decades. His particular focus has been Marfan syndrome, the malady often thought to have affected Abraham Lincoln. He is widely regarded as the preeminent scholar and clinician for this relatively common genetic condition; and is the major contributor to the extension of life expectancy in Marfan syndrome -- from 32 years when he first began studying the condition, to a nearly normal life span for patients born today.

He is currently involved in defining the risk factors that predispose those with the syndrome to develop tears in the wall of the aorta, as well as developing MRI approaches to quantifying an individual's risk for this to occur. Pyeritz has also make significant contributions in investigating medical genetic services, as he led the first team to study the economic issues of this new medical specialty.

Pyeritz earned his MA and PhD in biological chemistry from Harvard University, and his MD from Harvard Medical School. He is also the first graduate of the Harvard Medical Scientist Training Program. He took his internship and assistant residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and his senior residency at Johns Hopkins. He then joined the faculty at Hopkins, where he became Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Clinical Director of the Center for Medical Genetics.

In 1993, Pyeritz went to Allegheny General Hospital and became Chair of the Department of Human Genetics and Director of the Institute for Medical Genetics of MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine. He is board certified in both internal medicine and clinical genetics.

Pyeritz is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He helped found the National Marfan Foundation and continues to serve on its Professional Advisory Board. He is medical advisor to the Alliance of Genetic Support Groups, and has also served as chair of the program committee for the American Society of Human Genetics. In 1991, he was one of the founders of the American College of Medical Genetics, and later became its second president. Pyeritz currently serves as the president of the Association of Professors of Human or Medical Genetics.

He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has published nearly 200 articles and is the co-editor of the standard text in the field, Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics, now in its fourth edition.

Pyeritz has also enjoyed a leading role in teaching human and medical genetics, as well as broadening this area's accessibility. At Johns Hopkins, in addition to directing the medical genetics course for second year students, he helped to organize and then served as the first chair of the Medical Ethics Consultation Service.

He also served as associate director of one of the General Clinical Research Centers and co-director of both the clinical skills and human pathophysiology courses. While at MCP Hahnemann, he developed a new course in genetics, along with a new, accredited genetic residency. He also established a new curricular pathway for MD-PhD students. He has organized numerous continuing medical education courses, and is frequently asked to present grand rounds at institutions around the country.

Pyeritz lives with his wife, Jane, and their two daughters in Radnor, Pennsylvania.




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