New leadership for internal medicine, transplant surgery

Appointees include a Yale nephrologist and a Mayo surgeon

Gary V. Desir, MD

Gary V. Desir, MD, professor of medicine (nephrology), was recently appointed as the interim chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, pending a search for a permanent chair. He fills the vacancy left by Jack A. Elias, MD, who left Yale to become the dean of Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.

Dr. Desir is the department’s associate chair for veterans’ affairs and chief of the medical service at the VA Connecticut Health System (VACHS), a position he has held since 2004. He also chairs the research and development committee at VACHS.

After his undergraduate studies at New York University, he completed his medical degree cum laude from Yale in 1980. He trained as an intern and resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital before completing a fellowship there in nephrology in 1984. After postdoctoral work at the School of Medicine, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor.

Dr. Desir attends on the medical and renal services at VACHS, where he oversees a laboratory research program that has resulted in the identification and validation of a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and diabetes, and the discovery of a novel pathway for catecholamines metabolism. His laboratory identified a novel human kidney protein called renalase that regulates both heart contraction and blood pressure. He is the scientific founder of Ren Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel therapies for cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease.

Dr. Desir also holds a faculty appointment at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he has co-taught a course in sustainable development in post-disaster Haiti. He was a member of a team of clinicians who traveled to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation.

David Mulligan, MD

David Mulligan, MD, a highly accomplished abdominal organ transplant surgeon from the Mayo Clinic and a passionate leader in organ donation, has been appointed chief of the Section of Transplantation and Immunology, director of the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center (YNHTC), and professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Mulligan succeeds Sukru Emre, MD, a renowned adult and pediatric liver transplant surgeon who has served since 2007 in leading Yale’s transplantation center, and who will continue at Yale as a professor. Dr. Emre turned the Yale transplant program into a regional leader in the evaluation and treatment of liver disease, and led the teams that provide liver, kidney, pancreas and heart transplantation to patients from throughout the world. Dr. Emre will remain as a senior member of the transplant faculty, performing surgery and training residents.

Dr. Mulligan, who joined the Yale faculty on September 1, is also a liver transplant specialist with international acclaim for his work in living-donor liver transplantation. He spent 15 years with the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and brings a wealth of experience, including his involvement in the establishment of a solid organ transplant program. He worked with a team that is widely regarded for its work with steroid-sparing immunosuppression, protocol biopsies to study early inflammatory markers that lead to chronic kidney damage, and the use of donor kidneys with acute kidney injury for successful transplantation.

As a researcher, Dr. Mulligan has been a principle investigator in multiple trials, including studies on diabetes mellitus and hepatitis C virus, as well as donor and recipient outcomes in living donor transplantations. He is a devoted champion for organ donations on a national scale. This year he serves as chair of the Liver and Transplant Committee for United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

He received his medical degree from the University of Louisville, where he was an intern and resident in urologic surgery. He was a general surgery resident at Case Western Reserve University and a fellow at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.