Browns create Chair to support pathology research

Brown full

From left, Barbara and Mason Brown visit with Dr. Dinesh Rakheja, holder of the Goforth Chair in Pathology, in his laboratory at UT Southwestern Medical Center

By Erin Prather Stafford

With their strong historical ties to UT Southwestern Medical Center, it is no surprise that Mason and Barbara Brown reached a total of $500,000 in their generous giving to create the John Lawrence and Patsy Louise Goforth Chair in Pathology. The endowment, originally established in 1987, honors the major contributions Dr. and Mrs. John Goforth made to the Dallas medical community. Dr. Goforth was Mr. Brown’s uncle, and he became the first full-time pathologist at St. Paul Hospital, which later became part of UT Southwestern. 

“During Dr. Goforth’s early professional years at St. Paul, UT Southwestern was a small wartime medical college,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Now it is a multifaceted institution, making pathbreaking advances in numerous fields, including pathology. We appreciate Mason and Barbara’s commitment to this Chair and their confidence in the research it has and will continue to make possible.” 

Dr. Dinesh Rakheja, Associate Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics at UT Southwestern and Division Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children’s Health, currently holds the Goforth Chair. Focused on the genetics and metabolism of childhood cancer, Dr. Rakheja has received national recognition for his research on Wilms tumors and sarcomas. Wilms tumoris the most common type of kidney cancer in children, while sarcomas occur in the connectivetissues of the body, such as bone, muscle, fat, and fibrous tissue. Specifically, Ewing sarcoma is the second most commonly diagnosed bone cancer in children. 

“Barbara and I have had the opportunity to visit Dr. Rakheja’s lab several times and were very impressed with his efforts and enthusiasm,” said Mr. Brown.

Dr. Rakheja earned his medical degree at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. He completed pathology residencies at Maulana Azad Medical College (Delhi University) and UT Southwestern. He trained in gastrointestinal pathology and neuropathology as a senior resident (fellow equivalent) at GB Pant Hospital (Delhi University) and completed a pediatric pathology fellowship at Children’s Medical Center. 

Before Dr. Rakheja, Dr. Arthur Weinberg, Professor Emeritus of Pathology, held the Goforth Chair in Pathology when it was established as a Professorship. In 2012, he retired after 42 years of service. Dr. Weinberg trained numerous medical students, residents, and fellows in pediatricpathology, including Dr. Rakheja. 

“Dr. Weinberg was an influential mentor to me, and it meant a great deal to accept this title,” Dr. Rakheja said. “I am grateful to Mason and Barbara for making this Chair possible with their generous contributions over the years and for their interest in my work. Because of them, I can pursue my passion to help children and have the resources to continue important progress.”

Dr. Rakheja is also a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant recipient. His research interests focus on Wilms tumors and sarcoma, as well as tumor tissue banking, developing primary pediatric cancer cell lines, and developing laboratory assays for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic targets in pediatric cancers. 

In addition to the Goforth Chair, Mr. and Mrs. Brown have supported the Friends of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, which is now part of the UT Southwestern Circle of Friends

And as a former St. Paul Medical Foundation Board member, Mr. Brown also has served on the Steering Committee for the UT Southwestern Golf Classic (previously known as the St. Paul Foundation Transplant Tee). An annual event, the golf tournament benefits the lifesaving and life-improving heart, lung, vascular, and cerebrovascular programs at UT Southwestern. 

As one example of innovation in lung transplant programs, surgeons at the Medical Center recently performed the first lung transplant in Texas using donated lungs treated with ex-vivo lung perfusion that allows physicians to evaluate and recondition lungs. This new technology makes lungs that would have been unsuitable for transplantation potentially viable and thus increases the numbers of patients who can receive lung transplants. 

“At the UT Southwestern Golf Classic, we have an opportunity to golf with transplant patients,” said Mr. Brown. “It’s a true testament of the Medical Center’s effectiveness to see these folks out there playing. The state-of-the-art research and care at UT Southwestern is truly making adifference in many lives, and we’re proud to be part of that.”

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.