Maria B. Majella Doyle, MD, a highly regarded liver transplant surgeon, has been named the Mid-America Transplant/Department of Surgery Distinguished Endowed Chair in Abdominal Transplantation at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Doyle, a professor of surgery, is surgical director of the liver transplant program at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the pediatric liver transplant program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She also directs the Hepatobiliary Fellowship Program. Her focus is adult and pediatric hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery as well as liver and kidney transplant.
Doyle was installed as the inaugural chair by David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine; Angelleen Peters-Lewis, PhD, chief operating officer and chief nurse executive of Barnes-Jewish Hospital; the School of Medicine’s Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, the Bixby Professor of Surgery, head of the Department of Surgery and director of Siteman Cancer Center; and William C. Chapman, MD, the Eugene M. Bricker Chair of Surgery, director of the Division of General Surgery, chief of the transplantation section, and surgical director of the transplant center.
“The partnership between Mid-America Transplant, Washington University’s Department of Surgery and our hospital’s foundation to create this chair embodies the collaboration that has made our program a national leader in solid organ transplant,” said John Lynch, MD, president of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Every day, we work together to provide exceptional care to our patients, along with compassionate support to guide patients and their families through each stage of their journey.”
Lynch added that the establishment of the endowed chair honors an excellent transplant surgeon — but also the heroism of organ and tissue donors. “As a board member of Mid-America Transplant and as a pulmonologist involved with our transplant program for many years, I’m so proud to be part of this,” he said.
From Cork, Ireland, Doyle came to Washington University in 2005 as a clinical fellow. In 2012, she earned her MBA from Washington University while she was an assistant professor of surgery in the Section of Abdominal Transplantation.
“Dr. Doyle is the epitome of what distinguishes our program,” Perlmutter said. “She works in an area of medicine that requires incredible skill and judgment and compassion. She is a master at the blend of science and art, the convergences of technical precision and innovation, and poise under extreme pressure but delivered with tenderness and love. I am very happy to honor a leader in the field who will continue to elevate the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital and our entire transplant program.”
Doyle’s research interests include clinical outcomes, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, and donor management. She also has focused on the value of stand-alone organ recovery facilities, including a study evaluating six years of data from Mid-America Transplant, which recovers donor organs in eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northeast Arkansas and cares for the organs until they are transported to a specific hospital for transplant.
The study findings showed that moving donor management out of hospitals when possible improves efficiency and increases donor organ yield, resulting in more usable organs per donor. Her work also showed that freestanding organ recovery facilities lower costs significantly, take pressure off busy hospitals, and lessen surgeons’ travel.
Diane Brockmeier, president and CEO of Mid-America Transplant, said the organization is grateful for the relationship with Doyle. “Her leadership and inspiring contributions to the transplant community are invaluable,” Brockmeier said. “Her true passion for our shared mission of saving lives will undoubtedly continue to have significant and lasting impact on transplantation and the patients who receive those lifesaving gifts.”
Doyle earned her bachelor of arts degree at Trinity College in Dublin before completing medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She completed her surgical residency in the Irish General Surgical Training Program at the Royal College of Surgeons before undertaking a research fellowship at Cork University in Cork, Ireland. She then completed clinical fellowships in abdominal organ transplant at Washington University, after which she joined the faculty.