Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky became President of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center on September 1, 2008. He had previously been the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Chief of Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Chief Academic Officer of Partners HealthCare System. In that capacity, he oversaw the research enterprise and graduate medical education programs of its founding academic medical centers, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Podolsky received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College summa cum laude and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, followed by residency training in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital in 1981; he was appointed Chief of Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1989; and was named the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1998. Under his leadership, the GI Unit became one of the leading programs in the country, highly regarded for its dynamic research and training activities, in addition to its comprehensive program of clinical care in gastroenterology. Dr. Podolsky established an innovative Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 1991, funded through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Digestive Disease Center program, and the Center has been a highly productive multidisciplinary research program, yielding many significant advances.
Dr. Podolsky’s own research interests have focused on the delineation of epithelial cell function. His laboratory has made significant contributions to understanding the mechanisms through which growth factors and cytokines regulate epithelial function and has provided important insights into the mechanisms of epithelial injury and repair. His laboratory has also identified and characterized the functional actions and molecular mechanisms of trefoil peptides, which are central to sustaining mucosal integrity and facilitating repair after injury has occurred. In recent years his laboratory has helped clarify the role of the intestinal epithelium as a component of the innate immune system, through the characterization of innate immune receptors and their functional role in this cell compartment. In conjunction with studies defining basic mechanisms regulating epithelial function, Dr. Podolsky’s laboratory has provided important insights into the role of these processes in intestinal inflammatory diseases, most especially the inflammatory bowel diseases.
Dr. Podolsky is the author of more than 300 original research and review articles. He is the past editor-in-chief of the journal Gastroenterology. He served as President of the American Gastroenterological Association and was the recipient of its Julius Freidenwald Award in 2009. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.