Surgeon receives prestigious award for groundbreaking clinical research

John Alverdy

Executive Vice Chair of the University of Chicago Medicine Department of Surgery John C. Alverdy, MD, has been named the 2018 recipient of the American Surgical Association’s Flance-Karl Award, an honor bestowed upon one surgeon who has made a groundbreaking contribution to surgical research.

This award is one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions of scientific achievement. Alverdy received the award at the ASA’s 138th Annual Meeting in April. He is the first surgeon-scientist at Chicago Medicine to receive this recognition.

For nearly 25 years, the Sara and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery has been studying the molecular basis of surgical infections, including post-operative sepsis development and complications of healing. Alverdy, an innovative clinician and researcher, is nationally recognized for introducing several new operations into the field and, most recently, for his work connecting the human microbiome to post-surgical leaks and infections.

The Flance-Karl Award recognizes Alverdy for his discovery of the adaptive interaction of the human gastrointestinal microbiome in response to critical illness and surgery. Specifically, he played a pivotal role in identifying the invasive bacteria that lead to surgical anastomotic leakage and failure, which are potentially deadly complications of colorectal surgery. His findings explain why some patients develop deep surgical site infections after major intestinal surgery. And his breakthroughs are leading to new strategies to cleanse and prepare the bowel before operation.

“It is entirely fitting that Dr. John Alverdy received this honor for his insights into surgical infection,” said Jeffrey B. Matthews, MD, Dallas B. Phemister Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery. “Dr. Alverdy embodies the highest scholarly ideals of the University of Chicago Department of Surgery, adding to our extraordinary historical legacy of scientific achievement that includes two surgeon Nobel laureates.” 

Alverdy is among the scientists pioneering the clinical applications of microbiome research. He serves on the steering committee for the University of Chicago’s Microbiome Center and will play an integral role in the creation of UChicago Medicine’s new Duchossois Family Institute, which seeks to accelerate our knowledge of immunity and wellness.

“I am honored and humbled to have received this prestigious award and be the first on its list to represent the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago,"Alverdy said.

The Flance-Karl Award, which has been given annually since 1997, comes with a $40,000 prize.

John Alverdy

John Alverdy, MD

John Alverdy, MD, is the Sara and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at UChicago Medicine. He performs a wide variety of complex minimally invasive and open gastrointestinal surgical procedures, and his research focuses on the molecular basis of surgical infections.

Learn more about Dr. Alverdy