Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, professor and executive chairman of the UCLA Department of Surgery, has received the American Surgical Association's Medallion for Scientific Achievement, joining a list that includes the nation's most distinguished surgeons.
Busuttil, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in liver transplantation and surgery, received the award April 26 during the association's annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"To receive this award from the most prestigious surgical organization in the world and to consider the accomplishments of the prior recipients gives me a feeling of great humility," he said. "I could never have achieved this great distinction without the incredibly dedicated and talented medical and surgical team at UCLA, with whom I have had the privilege to work for more than 25 years."
Busuttil, who also holds UCLA's William P. Longmire Jr. Chair in Surgery, is founding chief of the division of liver and pancreas transplantation and director of the Pfleger Liver Institute, which includes the Dumont-UCLA Transplant Center and the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center.
"The UCLA Health System is extraordinarily proud of Dr. Ron Busuttil for this recognition by his peers as one of the foremost liver transplant surgeons in the world," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "UCLA values Ron's leadership as executive chairman of the department of surgery, as well as his commitment to research and teaching the next generation of surgeons."
Busuttil graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University in New Orleans and earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Tulane University. He served his surgical residency at UCLA under Dr. William P. Longmire Jr., UCLA's first chairman of surgery, and trained in transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Thomas Starzl, also a Medallion recipient. Busuttil has been on the UCLA surgical faculty since 1978.
In 1984, he established the UCLA Liver Transplant Program, one of the nation's first, which has since grown into one the world's largest liver transplant centers. Busuttil has been the program's director and chief surgeon for more than two decades, and he and his team have performed more than 4,000 liver transplants.
In addition to his pioneering accomplishments in surgery, Busuttil has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to teaching and advancing the field of transplantation and surgery. His laboratory has trained many research fellows, including surgical residents and trainees in basic science disciplines. And his liver transplantation training program, considered one of the world's best, has produced more than 150 American and international transplant surgeons, many of whom now lead their own programs.
His basic science research is focused on ischemia-reperfusion injury of the liver. Studies from his lab on adhesion molecule blockade are now in Phase II clinical trials. Earlier in his career, he made seminal contributions to research in surgical infectious disease, surgery for portal hypertension and the biology of aortic aneurysms.
Busuttil serves as an editorial board member or reviewer for many prestigious journals and is co-editor of "Transplantation of the Liver," the definitive textbook on the subject, now in its second edition. He has written more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, 60 book chapters and 400 abstracts. He is an active member of all the major national and international surgical and transplantation societies and routinely holds key committee positions. He is vice president of the American Surgical Association, a past president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, a member of the council of the Transplantation Society, president-elect of the International Liver Transplantation Society and a former board member of the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Founded in 1880, the American Surgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. Members include prominent surgeons from the nation's leading academic medical institutions, many of whom are chairs of their respective departments of surgery. The association's mission is to be the premier organization for surgical science and scholarship, to provide a national forum for presenting the developing state of the art and science of general and subspecialty surgery, and to elevate the standards of the medical/surgical profession.