ROBERT GARRETT PROFESSORSHIP IN PEDIATRIC SURGERY
Established in 1964 by the Robert Garrett Fund

Image Credit: Trafford T. Klots ROBERT GARRETT, president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, died in 1896. The Garrett family has been among Hopkins' most generous supporters for several generations. The ROBERT GARRETT FUND was established in 1936 by the will of MARY FRICK GARRETT JACOBS (pictured below) in memory of her first husband and designated for support of the surgical treatment of children. During her lifetime, Mrs. Jacobs established a dispensary on North Caroline Street in Baltimore for area children, a summer hospital for children in Carroll County, and the Robert Garrett Hospital for Children in West Baltimore.

 

Image Credit: Alan M. Chesney Archives, Johns Hopkins Medicine In the 1940s, the Garrett Fund pursued its mission by supporting pioneering physician Alfred Blalock's development of pediatric cardiac surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. The fund expanded its support to other research projects in the 1950s and then joined with the Eudowood and Harriet Lane boards to underwrite construction at Hopkins of the Children's Medical and Surgical Center, completed in 1964. As of December 30, 1999, the value of the Garrett Fund was approximately $35 million. All the income from the fund is devoted to supporting pediatric surgery at Hopkins, including this professorship.

 

David J. Hackam, M.D., Ph.D. is the Garrett Family Professor of Pediatric Surgery at The Johns Hopkins University and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Bloomberg Children’s Center of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Until September 1, 2014, he was the Watson Family Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Associate Dean for Medical Student Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the Department of Surgery as assistant professor in 2002 after completing Pediatric Surgery fellowship training in Pittsburgh and General Surgery training in Toronto, where he completed a Ph.D. with Dr. Sergio Grinstein in cell biology. Dr. Hackam’s laboratory is focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms that underlie several important surgical diseases, including necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and trauma, and seeks to develop novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or reverse these disease processes. To this end, he and his laboratory recently discovered that necrotizing enterocolitis – a disease that leads to severe morbidity and mortality in premature infants – is caused by increased expression and signaling of the innate immune receptor toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) within the newborn intestine. Dr. Hackam has identified a novel class of small molecules that potently inhibit TLR4 activation, and in pre-clinical models these new agents serve both a therapeutic and prophylactic role in NEC as well as other inflammatory disorders. Dr. Hackam’s team have developed techniques of intestinal stem cell isolation and culture and are working with tissue engineers and chemists towards the development of an artificial intestine, which has been tested in large and small pre-clinical models.

Dr. Hackam’s work has led to the filing of several international patents and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as several industry collaborations. Dr. Hackam is passionate about training the next and current generation of clinician-scientists at all levels of training. He is a member of the American Surgical Association, the American Association of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and was recently elected President of the Society of University Surgeons.