Appointed this summer

(Left to Right) Skinner, Zevallos, Seybert

Skinner leads Radiation Oncology

Heath Skinner, an MD, PhD, is now chair of Pitt Med’s Department of Radiation Oncology, as of July 1. He succeeds Joel Greenberger, an MD, who served Pitt for almost 30 years.

Greenberger’s contributions to basic science and cancer care can be seen in the more than 500 publications and books he has written from 1973 until today. The National Institutes of Health has continuously funded his lab for 40-plus years; and his team lays claim to 44 patents and counting. Among their breakthroughs: preclinical models of the use of a lead compound to ameliorate irradiation toxicity in patients with head, neck and esophageal cancer.

Skinner most recently served as an associate professor of radiation oncology at Pitt and as an investigator at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Skinner specializes in the study and treatment of head and neck and lung cancers. As a physician-scientist, he maintains an active translational research laboratory focused on identifying novel, clinically targetable biomarkers of resistance to radiation.

Skinner has multiple currently funded NIH grants, has completed several randomized trials as principal investigator and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

In his new role, he’ll focus on further elevating the department’s reputation for excellence in academic radiation oncology and training the next generation of radiation oncologists. Clinically, he will focus on advancing UPMC Hillman’s radiation oncology services nationally and enhancing access to care.

Zevallos new chair of Otolaryngology

José P. Zevallos, an MD, MPH, will be the Eugene N. Myers Professor and chair of otolaryngology, effective August 1.

Zevallos comes to Pitt from Washington University in St. Louis, where he serves as chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology. He’s also the Joseph Kimbrough Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and director of the head and neck surgical oncology and microvascular reconstruction fellowship.

Building on the tradition established by Eugene Myers and Jonas Johnson, Zevallos will continue to invest in clinical and translational research, define new paradigms of clinical care and enhance the department’s already excellent educational and training programs.

The list of Zevallos’ research interests and clinical specialties is too long to cover fully here but includes head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, human papillomavirus head and neck cancers, oropharyngeal cancers, salivary gland tumors and head and neck skin cancer.

Throughout the course of his physician-scientist career, Zevallos has been an investigator on multiple research grants, published widely and remained dedicated to mentoring junior faculty and fellows. He is the founder and chair of the board of an early stage liquid biopsy company focused on early detection of minimal residual disease after cancer surgery.

Zevallos succeeds Johnson, an MD, who led the department for 17 years. Johnson will remain clinically active in the UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Clinic, which he founded in collaboration with nursing colleague Marci Nilsen, a PhD, RN, and considers one of the highlights of his career.

Seybert now dean of Pharmacy

Amy Lynn Seybert, who has served the past 12 years as chair of Pitt’s Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, has been named the dean of its School of Pharmacy.

On July 1, Seybert succeeded Patricia Kroboth, a PhD, who led the school for two decades.

Seybert takes the helm of a school that’s ranked number five in research funding by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

“Dr. Seybert has a long track record of outstanding leadership in pharmacy education and research,” says Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences. “I look forward to working closely with her to advance interprofessional education and transdisciplinary research in the health sciences, and I am deeply grateful to Dr. Kroboth for her service and her leadership over the past two decades.”

Seybert, a PharmD, is recognized as an international leader in simulation education in pharmacy and pioneered the use of human patient simulation to advance pharmacotherapy knowledge, clinical decision-making and medication safety skills in health care professionals. Her research in cardiovascular and critical care pharmacy practice and medication safety has led to substantial advances in patient care.

“The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy has a phenomenal foundation and culture,” says Seybert. “I am excited to build on the strengths of our research, education and clinical practice programs to maximize our impact.”

—Staff reports