Ronald P. DeMatteo has been named chair of the department of surgery in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. DeMatteo is a surgical oncologist who is nationally recognized for his expertise in treating liver, gallbladder and bile duct and pancreatic diseases, and abdominal sarcomas. He will join Penn July 1, where he completed his surgical residency and postdoctoral fellowship, from 20 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he most recently served as the vice chair of the department of surgery and head of the division of general surgical oncology. He is also a professor of surgery and an associate dean at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
He will lead a department which includes 130 faculty across 11 divisions who provide advanced patient care and conduct a robust portfolio of basic science and clinical research.
“We’re excited to have Dr. DeMatteo return to Penn and take the helm of our department of surgery,” said J. Larry Jameson, dean of PSOM and EVP for the Health System. “He is an exceptional choice to lead our team of talented clinicians and researchers as they continue to provide the highest level of care to patients, and forge new ground in the crucial research necessary to develop the next generation of surgical innovations.”
Over the course of his career, Dr. DeMatteo has made significant research advances in the development of therapies to help prevent tumors from returning after surgery. He has served as the principal investigator on three national trials of the adjuvant drug Imatinib following surgery to remove gastrointestinal stromal tumors, leading to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration and a new standard of care for the disease worldwide. His clinical and laboratory research has resulted in a substantial body of scholarly work in high-impact journals including the Lancet,Lancet Oncology, Nature Medicine, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. His research has been supported by $17 million in funding, including several grants from the NIH and generous gifts from patients and philanthropic foundations. A well-respected educator, he was the director of the surgical oncology fellowship program for seven years and has mentored more than 135 clinical and laboratory fellows.
“The department of surgery at Penn Medicine has a storied past, built on the commitment to delivering exceptional patient care, providing pre-eminent training, and uncovering new knowledge,” said Ralph W. Muller, CEO of UPHS. “Dr. DeMatteo’s outstanding track record of leadership and advancements in oncological surgery will ensure an equally bright future as a national patient care leader.”
Dr. DeMatteo earned his undergraduate degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University, and his medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He completed his residency training in general surgery and two postdoctoral fellowships in molecular biology and virology, and immunology and transplantation at HUP before a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. DeMatteo also completed a research fellowship at Memorial Hospital in New York.
The Penn Medicine department of surgery dates back to 1765, when Penn’s medical school was founded. Since then, it has been recognized for extraordinary contributions to surgery and surgical research, including many American surgery “firsts.” Today, the department’s standing and associated faculty operate at 10 sites and see outpatients at nine locations in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. The continuing generosity of Penn’s benefactors has provided the department with one of the largest endowments for research in the country.