Message from the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

Jul 23, 2019

Dr. Michael M. I. Abecassis Appointed Dean of UA College of Medicine – Tucson

Following an extensive national search, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Michael M. I. Abecassis, MD, MBA, as dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson. Dr. Abecassis will come on board in early November, becoming the ninth dean of the college since its founding in 1967.

Dr. Abecassis is the J. Roscoe Miller Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Microbiology-Immunology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He also is chief of the Division of Organ Transplantation and founding director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center.

The many facets of Dr. Abecassis’ leadership and achievement, as well as his commitment to advancing education, research, clinical care and community engagement, will help elevate our academic efforts and the reputation of the College of Medicine – Tucson for many years to come.

In addition to pioneering several innovative surgical procedures and approaches to the care of transplant patients, Dr. Abecassis has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for the past 23 years, serving as principal investigator of research grants that span from studies of the molecular mechanisms of cytomegalovirus latency and reactivation, to translational and clinical studies in pursuit of a molecular biomarker strategy for both kidney and liver transplant recipients.

Dr. Abecassis is a member of many national and international professional societies, including the Society of University Surgeons and the American Surgical Association. He has served and continues to serve on the editorial boards of several major journals, and has been a member of several NIH study sections and special emphasis panels relating to both transplantation and virology.

Dr. Abecassis began his clinical career in 1991 as assistant professor of surgery and director of liver transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery at the University of Iowa. He was recruited to Northwestern University in 1993 as director of a new liver transplant program and performed the first successful liver transplant there that same year. In 2004, he was named chief of the Division of Transplantation. He was appointed dean for clinical affairs at Feinberg in 2008, serving until 2011. He was named founding director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center in 2009.

In addition to announcing Dr. Abecassis’ appointment, I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Irving Kron for the outstanding job he has done as interim dean over the past 10 months. His solid judgment and strong values have enabled the college to continue moving forward in achieving its mission, and Dr. Abecassis will be working closely with Dr. Kron during the transition of duties this fall.

I look forward to the UA Health Sciences community joining me in welcoming Dr. Abecassis when he arrives in November to assume this important leadership position.

Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President, UA Health Sciences