November 18, 2005

Abumrad named John L. Sawyers Professor of Surgery

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Naji Abumrad, M.D.

Naji Abumrad, M.D., has been named the John L. Sawyers Professor of Surgery, accompanying his role as chair of the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt.

It's an honor that is well deserved and reflects the contributions Abumrad has made to the department, said the chair's namesake, John Sawyers, M.D., professor of Surgery, emeritus.

"Dr. Abumrad is unique in that he's a good clinical surgeon and he's also a very good basic investigator. You don't always get a combination of the two.

"I'm very honored that he's accepted the chair. I think it's great. Vanderbilt surgery is fortunate to have two outstanding surgeons who are also well trained as investigators — (Daniel) Beauchamp and Abumrad. I think the future looks very bright for Vanderbilt surgery, and for Vanderbilt," Sawyers said.

Beauchamp, M.D., John C. Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences, agrees.

"This is an incredibly high honor, named after one of everybody's favorite surgeons. Dr. Abumrad will be phenomenal in the role. He brings a tremendous amount of experience and leadership in the surgical and research arenas and, following the Sawyer mold, he's a great mentor. He's an excellent listener, thoughtful and innovative."

Beauchamp counts Abumrad as one of his own mentors. The two met in 1987, when Beauchamp visited Vanderbilt as a fellow.

"Now, he's one of my most valuable sounding boards," Beauchamp said.

Abumrad's research focuses on metabolism, and current projects observe metabolic effects of bariatric surgery on patients with type II diabetes.