John A. Olson, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed the new Head of the Division of General and Oncologic Surgery within the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Department of Surgery.
Dr. Olson is a nationally respected surgeon-scientist who specializes in endocrine and oncologic surgery with an emphasis on cancer of the parathyroid glands, thyroid, and breast. His NIH-funded laboratory focuses on parathyroid disease, and he recently was awarded a NIH R01 grant to study molecular mechanisms of altered calcium sensing in human parathyroid disease. His clinical research interests include development of biomarkers for breast cancer and the study of aromatase inhibitor therapy to improve surgical outcomes for post-menopausal women with breast cancer.
“Dr. Olson has developed a highly ambitious vision for the growth of the clinical, scientific, and educational programs within general and oncologic surgery, specifically within endocrine surgery,” says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., Peter Angelos Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery. “With Dr. Olson’s leadership we expect to further expand our strong scientific programs and increase collaboration with other surgical specialties across the department.”
In a study on neoadjuvant aromatase inhibitors sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Oncology group (ACOSOG) and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in June 2011, a research team, co-led by Dr. Matthew Ellis at Washington University in St. Louis and by Dr. Olson at Duke University, found that half of the women in the study who were treated for four months with aromatase inhibitors were able to have breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. Dr. Olson will continue to lead progressive research initiatives to address endocrine tumors and breast cancer in his new role at the University of Maryland.
“It’s exciting to join a team of such dedicated researchers and to feel such institutional support for advancing science and translational medicine,” says Olson. “The University of Maryland is a place that clearly strives to advance medicine and improve patient outcomes, and I am eager to help cultivate continued growth in these areas.”
Dr. Olson joins the University of Maryland from Duke University Medical Center where he was Chief of the Section of Endocrine, Breast, and Oncologic Surgery. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from the University of Florida. He received his general surgery training at Washington University in St. Louis and completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.