Noted microbiologist and Children’s Hospital alumnus Joseph W. St. Geme, III, MD, was recently named CHOP’s Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. St. Geme, who officially started July 1, succeeds long-serving CHOP veteran Alan R. Cohen, MD, who held the post of Physician-in-Chief for 12 years.
After receiving his medical degree from Harvard, Dr. St. Geme served his residency and chief residency at Children’s Hospital from 1984-88. After his time at CHOP, he performed postdoctoral research under Stanley Falkow, PhD, at Stanford, and in 1992 joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. A progression of appointments followed, and in 2005 Dr. St. Geme moved to Duke University, where he served as chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Chief Medical Officer of Duke Children’s Hospital.
Dr. St. Geme studies host-pathogen interactions, and much of his work has been focused on examining the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. Despite its name, H. influenzae does not cause influenza, but is instead associated with invasive infections and localized respiratory tract disease.
More recently, Dr. St. Geme has also been investigating Kingella kingae, an emerging cause of bone and joint infections in young children. Earlier this year he led a study published in the Journal of Bacteriology that examined calcium binding in two K. kingae-associated proteins, PilC1 and PilC2. The study demonstrates “the importance of calcium binding in controlling Kingella pilus-mediated adherence, broadening earlier reports regarding the PilC family of proteins and raising the possibility that the PilC family of proteins may be targets for novel antimicrobials,” Dr. St. Geme said.
Ultimately, Dr. St. Geme said his “great respect” and fondness for CHOP led him to return to the Philadelphia area. He called the opportunity to serve at the site of his medical training “very appealing and ultimately irresistible.”
Saying he was “very pleased” that Dr. St. Geme had agreed to join CHOP, Children’s Hospital’s CEO Steven M. Altschuler, MD, noted he is “a distinguished researcher and member of the Institute of Medicine and is recognized nationally for his outstanding leadership at Duke.”
“In many respects CHOP sets the standard in pediatrics as a leading children’s hospital nationally and internationally, and I’m excited to participate in establishing the standards in pediatric clinical care, education, and research as a member of the CHOP community,” Dr. St. Geme said.