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Jose Trevino named chair of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Massey surgeon in chief

Oct 29, 2020


Jose G. Trevino, M.D., FACS, has been appointed chair of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the VCU School of Medicine and surgeon in chief at VCU Massey Cancer Center. He will also hold the Walter Lawrence, Jr., Distinguished Professorship in Oncology and will be an associate professor in the Division. He will join VCU on November 1, 2020.

Trevino comes to VCU from the University of Florida-Gainesville, where he has taught since 2011 as an associate professor of surgery with tenure in the Division of Surgical Oncology and Pancreaticobiliary Surgery. He also comes with Graduate Faculty Status in the Department of Cancer Biology and Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Florida and is an adjunct associate professor of surgery at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

“We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Trevino to Massey. He brings an exceptional level of expertise and surgical skill to this senior-level position,” said Robert Winn, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center and senior associate dean for cancer innovation at the VCU School of Medicine. “In assuming these critically important roles, he will work closely with physician and administrative leaders to help ensure quality surgical oncology care and research.”

In his role as chair, Trevino will lead one of the largest divisions in the Department of Surgery. As surgeon in chief at Massey, he will serve as the lead oncology surgeon and demonstrate significant innovative approaches to cancer surgery.

“VCU Health and Massey are amazing institutions, and I’m looking forward to working with the diverse population of Richmond,” says Trevino. “I’m particularly interested in contributing to Massey’s efforts to decrease cancer disparities, especially among urban and rural communities.”

Trevino’s interest in cancer health disparities and minority health is reflected in his pancreatic research. In addition to caring for patients and teaching, he is an accomplished scientist who currently leads and collaborates on multiple R-level grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and awards from the Florida Department of Health. These grants support his work examining pancreatic cancer biology and tumor microenvironment, cancer cachexia, novel therapeutics and how it relates to pancreatic cancer health equity.

Jose Trevino

Trevino’s most recent groundbreaking study on ethnic subgroups and pancreatic cancer outcomes, published in the journal Cancer Medicine, is one of the first to examine the connection between the disease and ancestral racial diversity among Black and Latinx populations.

“The research that I started in 2012 investigates the biology that makes us different,” said Trevino. “Blacks seem to do worse clinically with pancreatic cancer, and Latinx populations seem to have better clinical outcomes. Is it merely socioeconomic or is there a biological component behind this? We need to further look at sub-classifications within ethnicities. Different ancestries might be more protective than others, and these differences might be a key to developing better targeted therapeutics.”

Trevino also champions the need for increased government support to continue the investigation. “We need more funding for pancreatic cancer research, and I’ve been working with the NIH regularly to prove this point,” said Trevino. “Through continued disparities research, I think our government funding bodies will provide further support toward recognizing pancreatic cancer, which is soon to be the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., as a significant cancer health disparities challenge.”

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Trevino joining us,” said Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., FACS, chair of the Department of Surgery at the VCU School of Medicine. “His skills as a physician, teacher and scientist clearly place him in an elite group, and our institution will benefit immensely from his expertise.”

Trevino received his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also completed his surgery internship and residency. He was a postdoctoral research fellow in cancer biology at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a clinical fellow in surgical oncology and postdoctoral research fellowship in tumor biology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

The recipient of various honors, including the American Association for Cancer Research (AARC) Minority Scholar Award, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and Lester R. Dragstedt Physician-Scientist Award. He serves on several international AACR professional committees as well as many national and regional professional committees for the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS), Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), and American College of Surgeons (ACS). He is also a member of many professional associations, including the Society of University Surgeons (SUS), Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

In addition to serving on the editorial and review boards for numerous prestigious journals such as Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, JNCI Cancer Spectrum, Nature Communications, American Journal of Pathology and Cancer Immunology Immunotherapeutics, Trevino is also the associate editor for the Gastrointestinal Section of the Journal of Surgical Research. He has authored nearly 100 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and a handful of book chapters.

Trevino has regularly presented work in renowned national and international cancer research meetings and has been invited for seminars internationally, proving his significant and impactful contribution to the pancreatic cancer research field.

In recognition of his scientific contributions, leadership in pancreatic cancer translational research and participation as an ad hoc reviewer, Trevino was recently inducted as a chartered member of the NIH Developmental Therapeutics study section, Oncology 2-Translational Clinical Integrated Review Group.

As an active pancreaticobiliary surgeon and surgical oncologist with a significant passion for cancer research, Trevino will be an academic triple threat as an educator, researcher and clinician.


Written by: Melissa Mitchell

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