UW News

January 23, 2003

Schilling Surgery Lecture: Mayo Clinic expert to talk about gut transplantation

Transplantation of solid-tissue organs has become fairly common, if not routine, and bone marrow transplants are being improved and tried for many different autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer.

But successful transplantation of the gut, or the body’s gastrointestinal system, is still elusive. One of the problems for gut transplantation is the relatively complex system by which the nervous system controls the action of the gastrointestinal system.

Dr. Michael Sarr, professor of surgery at Mayo Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., will present the ninth annual Helen and John Schilling Lecture for the Department of Surgery. He has done extensive research on neural control of upper gastrointestinal motility (movement) and the physiology of the transplanted gut.

Sarr will speak on “Enteric Physiology of the Transplanted Gut” at 3:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31, in Hogness Auditorium of the Health Sciences Center. Everyone is welcome.

Sarr was chair of Mayo’s Division of General and Gastroenterologic Surgery from 1992 through 2002. He has been a faculty member and practicing surgeon at the Mayo Clinic and medical school since 1985.

After graduating from Colgate University, he earned an M.D. degree in 1976 from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and then was a surgical resident in the Halsted Program at Johns Hopkins.

His research work began with studies of high temperature kinetics of gas phase reactions. During his surgical residency, he spent two years at the Mayo Clinic with Dr. Keith Kelly, where Sarr developed his interest in gastrointestinal motility and neural control of the gut’s function. Before he moved to Mayo in 1985, he spent another year at Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow doing research on acute pancreatitis.

His current clinical practice involves pancreatic diseases, motitity disorders of the stomach and small bowel, and bariatric surgery.

Sarr is president of the Society of Clinical Surgery, and has been president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. As a director of the American Board of Surgery, he is involved in many issues of surgical training policy. Among other professional posts, he is co-editor of the journal Surgery.

The lecture is named for the late Dr. John Schilling, who chaired the UW Department of Surgery from 1975 until 1983, and his wife. Helen Schilling established the endowed lectureship in honor of her husband, who died in 1999 at the age of 82.