BOSTON - Jeffrey E. Saffitz, MD, PhD, an internationally renowned pathologist and researcher, with expertise in searching for the causes of sudden cardiac death, has been named chief of pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Mallinckrodt Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).
Saffitz will join BIDMC on July 1 from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he was a staff pathologist since 1983 and director of the division of autopsy pathology since 1987. He replaces Harold Dvorak, MD, who is retiring from the position he has held at BIDMC since 1979.
"Jeffrey Saffitz is an outstanding researcher and educator who will continue the strong traditions of this department," said BIDMC President and CEO Paul Levy. "A strong pathology department is a key to great clinical care and our department already boasts some of the top pathologists in the country."
Saffitz, who received his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, has focused his research on finding the mechanisms of sudden cardiac death with the ultimate goal to develop novel therapies to prevent lethal arrhythmias. The work includes developing models of disease in laboratory mice which can be used to understand sudden death in humans.
"BIDMC has a great department of pathology because it has extraordinary people," said Saffitz. "Moreover, hospital leadership has made a major commitment of resources which will allow us to become one of the greatest pathology departments in the world. I am very honored to be coming to this medical center."
The pathology department provides critical support in a broad range anatomic and clinical areas, including the analysis of patient tissue and cells, and analysis and diagnosis of blood, body fluid, chromosomal abnormalities and microorganisms responsible for infectious disease. The department also supports transfusions of blood components and tissue transplantation.
The cancer biology and angiogenesis division represents the department's research component with more than 12 laboratories engaged in a wide variety of research programs focusing on understanding the molecular pathogenesis of human cancer.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.