Revolutionary Transplant Surgeon Honored
MADISON - The term "ground-breaking" cannot begin to describe the career of Dr. Hans Sollinger, whose 26 years as a transplant surgeon have revolutionized the transplant world and brought national recognition to Wisconsin and UW Hospital and Clinics. The Wisconsin Academy will honor Dr. Sollinger, Chair of the Division of Transplant Surgery at UW Health, with a 2006 Wisconsin Academy Fellowship, a formal recognition presented to men and women of extraordinary lifetime accomplishment in the sciences, arts and letters.
"It is truly an honor to be named a Wisconsin Academy Fellow," Dr. Sollinger said. "This is an award that distinguishes my career and the work I have done."
Discovery, invention, accomplishment
The Wisconsin Academy recognizes individuals who have an unusually high order of discovery, invention and technological accomplishment throughout their careers. Academy Fellows are highly esteemed for their qualities of judgment, perceptiveness and their breadth of knowledge of how sciences, arts and letters relate to the welfare of Wisconsin.
"I've spent my entire career at the UW Hospital and Clinics working to improve the health of people in Wisconsin and around the world," Dr. Sollinger said. "I am very grateful for the opportunities I've been given while working here. It is an honor for that work to be recognized with such a prestigious award."
Dr. Sollinger joined UW Health in 1975, when he began his fellowship in immunobiology research. Throughout his career, Dr. Sollinger has worked to make the transplant department a nationally recognized program with some of the highest success rates in the country. The kidney transplant program, of which he is the director, was recently acclaimed as the program that performed the most kidney and kidney/pancreas transplants in the nation in 2005.
Dr. Sollinger has also revolutionized the entire transplant field through some of his research and studies. In 1982, he developed the "Wisconsin technique" for pancreas transplants. This method more than doubled the survival rate of kidney-pancreas recipients throughout the world.
In 1995, Dr. Sollinger's research again marked a new milestone for transplants. CellCept, a drug developed by Dr. Sollinger, was approved by the FDA. Today, CellCept is one the world's most frequently used immunosuppressant drugs, benefiting more than 300,000 patients world-wide.
"This award really shines light on some of my past work," Dr. Sollinger said, "but it also encourages me to keep going. There is plenty of work to be done and much more ground to break in this field."
Dr. Sollinger's current research interests include the clinical and preclinical testing of new immunosuppressive agents and gene therapy for cell transplantation. These studies work to find more ways to reduce organ rejection and increase the availability of organs for transplantation.
In addition to his Wisconsin Academy Fellowship, Dr. Sollinger received the Special Recognition Award from the State Medical Society of Wisconsin. The American Society of Transplantation honored him with the 2004 Wyeth Clinical Science Established Investigator Award.
Dr. Sollinger currently serves as the president of the International Society of Organ Sharing and is the secretary of the Transplantation Society. He is also the past president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
The Wisconsin Academy will honor Dr. Sollinger and six other new fellows at a ceremony on October 22.
Date Published: 07/26/2007