March 3, 2011

Harvard’s Karp named to direct Transplant Center

Harvard’s Karp named to direct Transplant Center

After 18 years at the helm of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, is stepping away from his role as the center's director.

After a comprehensive national search, Seth J. Karp, M.D., has been named to replace Pinson as head of Tennessee's only comprehensive transplant program, effective July 1. Karp currently serves as assistant professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and as director of the Pancreas Transplant Program and Transplant Fellowship Training Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Seth Karp, M.D.

Seth Karp, M.D.

Karp's appointment marks only the third leadership change since the Transplant Center's founding in 1989. Karp succeeds Pinson and the Center's founding director William Frist, M.D., who served as director from 1989 to 1993.

“It has been a career highlight serving in the leadership role for our Transplant Center,” Pinson said. “As a liver transplant surgeon and administrator, I am keenly aware of the importance of the role Seth will play as he joins our tremendously talented and dedicated team of professionals who, through the miracle of organ donation and transplantation, profoundly impact the lives of so many. We are delighted to have found someone with such passion and vision for this important role.”

Karp graduated from Harvard College, where he earned a Bachelor degree in Physics and Astrophysics and a Master in Astrophysics. He went on to earn his medical degree from the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

He underwent residency training in Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he served as a postdoctoral fellow and chief resident. After completing his residency, Karp served a fellowship in Transplantation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was also an attending surgeon.

“I could not be more pleased that we have successfully recruited Dr. Karp from Harvard to lead the Transplant Center and serve as an associate professor in the Department of Surgery,” said R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., the John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and chair of the Transplant Center director search committee.

“Seth is a rising star in the world of transplant and academic surgery. He is one of a rare group of 'quadruple threat' academic surgeons and has exhibited remarkable talent in clinical transplantation, research, education and administration. With his leadership, we anticipate building on our already-strong transplant programs, and in particular, increasing the impact of our transplantation-related research efforts.”

Other search committee members included: Dai Chung, M.D.; Agnes Fogo, M.D.; Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D.; Roman Perri, M.D.; Douglas Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., and Edward Zvala, MBA. Ex officio committee members were Andre Churchwell, M.D., and Pinson.

“I am very grateful to our search committee and to associate dean for Faculty Affairs, David Raiford, and Sherrie Leach from the Office of Faculty Affairs, for their support during this recruitment. The committee reviewed numerous applicants from all over the country and interviewed eight competitive candidates before selecting Dr. Karp as the finalist,” said Beauchamp.

Karp's clinical contributions at Harvard and Beth Israel include expertise in liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation, vascular access and general surgery.

“Seth's recruitment is especially exciting as he will bring a developmental biology perspective to the Transplant Center,” said Susan R. Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research. “His research is positioned to build in research areas that bridge basic and clinical discovery.”

At Vanderbilt, Karp will not only be directly involved in administrative affairs and the delivery of patient care, but will also continue his clinical and basic science research in transplantation.

“I'm very excited about this opportunity. Vanderbilt, with its existing leadership, has demonstrated a real commitment to long-term success of its research program, having invested significant resources,” said Karp.

“Dean (Jeff) Balser has a visionary commitment to medical research. The systems that have been put in place, including in the areas of information technology and basic science, are uniquely applicable to research in transplantation.

“The combination of a large, outstanding clinical program and university-wide research initiatives is a very powerful combination to make important discoveries to benefit our transplant patients. The quality of the transplant program built by Dr. Pinson, Dr. Shafer, Dr. Wright and colleagues offers great synergy between the maturity of the clinical programs and the promise of basic science.”

Karp will be joined in Nashville by his wife Lauren and their two children, Sarah and Jay.