November 18, 2010

Hepatologist Bruce Bacon Honored for Distinguished Service

November 18, 2010
Carrie Bebermeyer

ST. LOUIS - Bruce R. Bacon, M.D., professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Saint Louis University, received the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Distinguished Service Award at the 61st annual meeting of the AASLD. This is an honor given to an individual for his or her ongoing service to those with liver disease.

Bacon holds the James F. King, M.D., endowed chair in gastroenterology at SLU and served as the director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine from June 15, 1990 to June 1, 2010.

"The AASLD's distinguished service award is a fitting honor for Bruce, who has dedicated his life to helping patients," said Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, M.D., chair of internal medicine at SLU. "Through patient care, basic and clinical research and medical and public education, few have done more to advance the field of hepatology."

Bacon received his undergraduate education at the College of Wooster and his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University. He completed his internal medicine residency and training in gastroenterology at Cleveland Metropolitan General hospital and the city hospital of Cleveland before joining the faculty of Case Western.

A leader in the field, Bacon served as an advisor to and grants reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, president of the AASLD, chairman of the gastroenterology board and the transplant hepatology board for the American Board of Internal Medicine and, most recently, a member of the Digestive Diseases Research Council. He has also been an associate editor for major medical journals, including Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Gastroenterology and is a regular reviewer for prestigious medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine.

Bacon was named a National Institutes of Health Research fellow, receiving a postdoctoral research fellowship from the American Liver Foundation and an NIH New Investigator Research Award among other achievements. He also helped to establish the Missouri chapter of the American Liver Foundation and received their Outstanding Chapter Leadership award and was chairman of the Patient and Professional Education Committee for that organization.

Among Bacon's biggest achievements is his contribution to the discovery of the HFE gene, the gene associated with hereditary hemochromatosis, a disorder that interferes with the body's ability to absorb iron. He received the Marcel Simon Award for best research in hemochromatosis by a young investigator for his studies on the mechanism of iron toxicity given by the BioIron Society.

In 1999, he helped to found the Saint Louis University Liver Center, which has earned an international reputation for patient care, basic and clinical research and medical and public education.

His supporters formed an organization to help him and Saint Louis University. Among this group are a few who stand out for their contributions to this worthwhile cause - Joan Lipic, Julia Spears, Sue Barlett, and of course, his patient Naomi Judd who continues to support the Friend's organization with her power as a country star to help the foundation exceed expectations in funding research for the SLU Liver Center. The Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center has now raised about $2 million to support research at SLU.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.


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