Dr. Julio Pérez Fontán joined UT Southwestern Medical Center on September 1, 2004. He had previously been the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Anesthesiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Pérez Fontán received his undergraduate and graduate degrees (both summa cum laude) from the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, followed by residency training in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. He served in the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics and the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California in San Francisco until 1985, when he was recruited to the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine. In 1992, he was recruited as the founding Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In 2001, he was appointed as the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. Under his leadership, the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine achieved international recognition for the quality of its multidisciplinary programs and its strong emphasis on research.

Before his current appointment as Chair of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Physician-in-Chief at Children’s Health, Dr. Pérez Fontán served as the UT Southwestern Associate Dean for Pediatric Services and Program Development and the Children’s Medical Center Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs, overseeing the coordination of clinical services, program growth and development, research, and medical education for the pediatric programs of both institutions until 2012.

Dr. Pérez Fontán’s own research has been centered on factors that define the biomechanical interdependence between airways and the surrounding lung parenchyma. His laboratory studied the viscoelastic properties of the tissues involved, the manner in which vagal tone influences these properties during development, the complex organization of the neural network that controls vagal tone, and the role of nerve-released tachykinins in the genesis of airway inflammation. His work was funded continuously by NIH and other agencies and resulted in multiple publications and reviews in the medical literature. Dr. Pérez Fontán has served as a member of both the editorial Board of several professional publications and the national leadership panels of professional societies and other organizations.


Medical School
Universidad Desantiago De Comp (1977)

Research Interest

  • Airway smooth muscle
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Neurogenic inflammation


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Plasma proteins in health and disease: a scientific symposium to celebrate the career and accomplishments of Harvey R. Colten, M.D.
Fontan JP, Dowton SB, Perlmutter D, Gitlin J, Cole FS Pediatr. Res. 2006 Aug 60 2 231-2
Can resuscitation jeopardize survival?
Lister G, Pérez Fontán JJ N. Engl. J. Med. 2004 Apr 350 17 1708-9
Bone marrow transplantation reveals an essential synergy between neuronal and hemopoietic cell neurokinin production in pulmonary inflammation.
Chavolla-Calderón M, Bayer MK, Fontán JJ J. Clin. Invest. 2003 Apr 111 7 973-80
On lung nerves and neurogenic injury.
Pérez Fontan JJ Ann. Med. 2002 34 4 226-40
Labeling of vagal motoneurons and central afferents after injection of cholera toxin B into the airway lumen.
Pérez Fontán JJ, Velloff CR Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. 2001 Jan 280 1 L152-64
Bilateral distribution of vagal motor and sensory nerve fibers in the rat's lungs and airways.
Fontán JJ, Diec CT, Velloff CR Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 2000 Aug 279 2 R713-28
Substance P and neurokinin-1 receptor expression by intrinsic airway neurons in the rat.
Fontán JJ, Cortright DN, Krause JE, Velloff CR, Karpitskyi VV, Carver TW, Shapiro SD, Mora BN Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. 2000 Feb 278 2 L344-55
Integration of bronchomotor and ventilatory responses to chemoreceptor stimulation in developing sheep.
Pérez Fontán JJ, Kinloch LP, Donnelly DF Respir Physiol 1998 Jan 111 1 1-13
Increased type I procollagen mRNA in airways and pulmonary vessels after vagal denervation in rats.
Carver TW, Srinathan SK, Velloff CR, Pérez Fontán JJ Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 1997 Dec 17 6 691-701
Neuroanatomic organization of the parasympathetic bronchomotor system in developing sheep.
Pérez Fontán JJ, Velloff CR Am. J. Physiol. 1997 Jul 273 1 Pt 2 R121-33


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • Robert L. Moore Chair in Pediatrics
    UT Southwestern Medical Center (2013)
  • Joel B. Steinberg, M.D. Chair in Pediatrics
    UT Southwestern Medical Center (2005-2012)
  • Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics
    Washington University School of Medicine (2001-2004)
  • Teaching Award
    Yale University School of Medicine (1992)
  • San Nicolas Prize, Royal National Academy of Medicine, Spain
    Scholastic achievement in Medicine (1978)
  • Summa cum Laude, First in 1977 graduating class
    Medical School Graduation (1977)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Pediatric Society (1999)
  • American Physiological Society (1987)
  • American Thoracic Society (1986)
  • Society for Pediatric Research (1989)