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Inside the School of Medicine

In Memory of Chien Liu, M.D., MACP

March 20, 2018

Chien Liu, M.D., MACPChien Liu
March 6, 1921 - March 11, 2018

Chien Liu, M.D., MACP, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2018. He had just celebrated his 97th birthday a few days earlier with his family. Dr. Liu was a giant in the field of infectious diseases, having started the specialty in Kansas City after he trained at The Johns Hopkins University and then served as a faculty member at Harvard. He was one of the earliest trained physicians in clinical and research virology at Hopkins and brought that specialty to KU. After arriving in Kansas City in 1958, he was appointed director of Children's Mercy Hospital. Later, he joined the KU Medical Center internal medicine faculty to begin the adult infectious diseases service here in 1961.

Dr. Liu was born in mainland China on March 6, 1921, one of 5 children. His older brother was the Chinese delegate who founded the United Nations in 1948 in San Francisco. Dr. Liu received his early education in 1947 in what is now the Peking University. It was in Beijing, China that he first used IV penicillin in 1944.
After serving a rotating internship in Chicago, he moved to Washington D.C., and became a research fellow in medicine (virology) at Hopkins. Following that, he became a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty from 1952 to 1958. After coming to Kansas City, he was associate professor of Pediatrics from 1958 to 1963, followed by professor of Medicine and Pediatrics from 1963-1991. After 1991, he was the professor emeritus of Medicine and Pediatrics from 1991-2018. Dr. Liu continued to see patients in the Infectious Diseases Clinics until 2001.

Early in his career, he was the investigator who proved the etiology of "walking pneumonia." He was the recipient of the NIH Career Research Investigator award for 31 consecutive years. He was also the recipient of most of the honors and awards given to faculty over the years, including the student voice award, outstanding teaching award by the medicine house staff, Chancellor's award for excellence in teaching and the Jayhawker M.D. Award.

Kim, as he asked his colleagues to call him, was a compassionate gentleman and scholar, publishing more than 150 publications, most heavily cited. He never gave up the quest for learning and continued to scour the literature even after his retirement, often sharing articles with his colleagues. He is survived by four devoted children and their families along with 15 grand and great grandchildren.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m., Thursday, April 19, at Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. Memorial service with a reception to follow will be is 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Village Church, 6641 Mission Rd., Prairie Village. 

In Memory of Thomas M. Yankee, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

June 28, 2017

Thomas M. Yankee Photo of Thomas M. Yankee
November 15, 1970 - June 23, 2017

Thomas M. Yankee, Pharm.D., Ph.D., of Overland Park, Kansas passed away following surgery for cancer treatment. He joined KU Medical Center in 2005 and was an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology with a joint appointment in Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology. He was a valued faculty member who touched many lives at KU Medical Center through his research, teaching and service activities. His investigations into T-cell development and anti-cancer immunotherapy were carried out with colleagues at KU Medical Center and Children's Mercy. He taught immunology to medical and graduate students since his arrival at KU Medical Center and was influential in shaping KU's medical school curriculum. He was the scientific director of the Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory and chaired several committees. He is survived by his wife Davia (Christine), his mother Eileen and his brother David.

Visitation is Friday 5 to 8 p.m. with prayers Saturday at 9:15 a.m., at Lawrence Funeral Home 4800 N. Austin Ave., Chicago, followed by mass at 10 a.m. at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment is at All Saints Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to Church of the Holy Cross Memorial Fund or St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic School would be appreciated. For information 773-736-2300 or

Robert Simari, M.D., appointed interim executive vice chancellor for KU Medical Center

June 13, 2017

Robert Simari, M.D., executive dean of the KU School of Medicine, was appointed interim executive vice chancellor for KU Medical Center, effective July 1, 2017. A 1986 alumnus of the KU School of Medicine, Simari has served as the KU School of Medicine's executive dean since March 2014. He currently serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for the School of Medicine and provides oversight and leadership to all three medical school campuses: Kansas City, Wichita and Salina.  Prior to joining KU, Simari served as vice chair for the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and co-principal investigator of the Center for Translational Science Activities at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he also served as a physician scientist, cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.  

Doug Girod, M.D., named 18th chancellor for the University of Kansas

May 25, 2017

The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed Douglas A. Girod, M.D., as the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas, effective July 1, 2017. Girod became executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center on Feb. 1, 2013, where he oversaw the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions. Girod also served as interim executive dean of the KU School of Medicine until March 24, 2014. Prior to those roles, he served as senior associate dean for clinical affairs and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. A surgeon, Dr. Girod joined the University of Kansas Medical Center faculty in 1994 and quickly rose through the academic ranks, becoming chair of the otolaryngology department in 2002. He was named Russell E. Bridwell Endowed Chair in 2008. 

University of Kansas Cancer Center partners with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to offer innovative blood cancer clinical trials

May 24, 2017

The University of Kansas Cancer Center has announced that it will join a consortium with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in collaboration with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), to bring clinical trials testing innovative blood cancer therapies to Kansas City. This groundbreaking Blood Cancer Research Partnership (BCRP) brings clinical trials closer to where patients live and helps to address one of the primary bottlenecks in the development of new cancer therapies: the need for more patients to take part in trials.  Read more

Study finds drug that helps reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease patients

June 13, 2017

Rajesh Pahwa, M.D., director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center at KU Medical Center, is the lead author of a new study on how the drug amantadine can reduce a condition known as levodopa-induced dyskinesia in some Parkinson's patients. The research was just published in JAMA Neurology. LID arises in more than half of Parkinson's patients who have taken levodopa for four to six years and in more than 90 percent of patients who have been on the drug for a decade. The disease itself affects nearly a million people in the United States. Read more.

Director of Center for Reproductive Sciences appointed

May 16, 2017

Warren Nothnick, Ph.D., professor and vice-chair of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, has been appointed director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences (CRS).

Dr. Nothnick is internationally recognized for his work in the field of endometrial physiology and pathophysiology. His laboratory is actively investigating the pathophysiology of endometriosis with emphasis on the identification of novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets. His expertise in this area of research was recognized by his appointment as an ambassador to the World Endometriosis Society in 2012.

Salina doctor named Kansas Humanitarian Award winner

May 5, 2017

Robert Freelove, M.D., a 2000 graduate of the KU School of Medicine, was awarded the Kansas Humanitarian Award from the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. The Salina physician serves as chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Salina Family Healthcare Center and residency program director of Smoky Hill Family Medicine Residency. The award honors "extraordinary and enduring humanitarian efforts and encourages KAFP members, their families and colleagues to assume a sense of global responsibility and to encourage service to others." Read more.


Last modified: Sep 28, 2018
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