William S. Pierce lecture set for May 17

April 28, 2004

Dr. Laman A. Gray Jr., professor of surgery and director of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, will speak about "Cardiac Devices - Past, Present and Future" at the eighth annual William S. Pierce Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday, May 17, in the hospital auditorium of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The event is open to the public and additional information is available by calling (717) 531-8330.

Gray joined the faculty and staff of the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital in 1974 and was named chairman of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery the following year. He has been director of the division since 1976, and has served as president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

A Louisville native, Gray received his bachelor of arts degree with distinction in chemistry from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. He received his medical doctorate from Johns Hopkins University and completed his training with an internship and residencies in general and thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan.

Gray is an internationally recognized leader in clinical cardiac surgery and in development of artificial hearts and circulatory support systems. His accomplishments include performing the first heart transplant in Kentucky (1984) and the first successful use of biventricular Thoratecâ assist devices to bridge to heart transplant in the United States (1985). He currently is a co-investigator of the AbioCorâ, the world's first totally self-contained implantable mechanical replacement heart. On July 2, 2001, Gray and his surgical team performed the first human implant of this device, which permitted extended survival.

The William S. Pierce Lecture was established in 1996 to honor the contributions made by Pierce to the medical center and Penn State. Pierce carried full clinical duties from 1970-1996, while directing a research team pursuing the development of mechanical cardiac assist devices and an artificial heart. The success of these collaborations, which included colleagues at University Park, set an early standard for productive research in the College of Medicine. Pierce was awarded Jane A. Fetter and Evan Pugh professorships, and served as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Pierce continues to contribute personally to the research activities of the Division of Artificial Organs and to scholarly activities on a national level.

The clinical mission of the Penn State Cardiovascular Center is to maintain and enhance Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's preeminence in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric and adult patients with cardiac, thoracic and vascular disorders. The measure of this work is quality, cost-effective care using appropriate advanced technologies and research. Other missions include education of students and resident physicians, basic cardiovascular research and community service. Penn State Cardiovascular Center is dedicated to providing the highest levels of service to patients and their referring physicians through the provision of 24-hour, seven-days-per-week response. More information is available by visiting http://www.pennstatehersheyheart.com

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Last Updated March 20, 2009