PhD, Residency and Fellowship Class Notes

Please note: all class notes submitted prior to March 2020 are indicated with an asterisk (*). Any views expressed are those of the submitter and not of the UW School of Medicine.



Headshot of Andras Lacko, PhD, in his laboratory.*Andras Lacko, Ph.D. ’68 (biochemistry), is currently pursuing a new era of drug delivery via his lipoprotein drug delivery research laboratory. In 1998, Dr. Andras Lacko and his team at the UNT Health Science Center began to pursue ideas around the relationship between HDL cholesterol and cancer (following the lead of earlier research, specifically Dr. Van Berkel), and have since become internationally recognized for their research in this area. They have asked – and are answering — the question of how exploiting the appetite that cancer cells have for HDL cholesterol might be the key to unlocking more effective and less toxic delivery of anti-cancer drug therapies. Dr. Lacko’s Lipoprotein Drug Delivery Research Laboratory has developed strong working relationships with research colleagues at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and with partner pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and Europe to advance and accelerate research into this potentially life-saving drug delivery method.

Dr. Lacko’s lab is exploiting the prevalence of receptors now known to exist on most types of cancer cells that attach and readily absorb HDL cholesterol. His lab is perfecting the creation of reconstituted high density lipoprotein nanoparticles (rHDL NPs) that are sometimes referred to as “Nature’s drug delivery system,” because of their biocompatibility (i.e., easy and safe absorption) and low toxicity (little to no impact on otherwise healthy tissue and cells surrounding cancerous cells). These rHDL NPs are proving to be extremely effective in delivering therapeutic payloads to cancer cells and tumors while sparing most normal tissue.

The beauty of this delivery method is that it is not specific for fighting only one or two cancers, but is being proven effective as a delivery method for a broad range of anti-cancer drugs. Dr. Lacko’s partnership with M.D. Anderson is focused on development of a “circulating HDL” nucleic acid-based nanoparticle, while his lab developed and patented an “artificial” or synthetic HDL, in collaboration with Dr. Alan Remaley at the NIH, that functions well as a delivery vehicle for a broad range of drug “payloads.”
The process is reminiscent of the Trojan Horse strategy of Greek mythology. But instead of embedding an army in the belly of a huge wooden horse, the technology embeds anti-cancer drugs inside nanoparticles that are invited inside (or eaten) by the cancer cells, masquerading as HDL cholesterol. Once inside, the particles break down and deliver the drug directly into the cancer cells – avoiding nearby healthy tissue.

Dr. Lacko and his team are working to take this patented technology into animal trials. The proof of concept results from these studies are anticipated to reinforce the effectiveness of the nanoparticle delivery model and attract partners who can provide the necessary funding to move the technology toward human trials.


Howard Young, Ph.D. ’74 (microbiology) received the inaugural Mentoring Award from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society for his many years in promoting and supporting research in cytokines and interferons throughout the biomedical research community.


Edward Kelly, Ph.D. ’96 (biochemistry), writes, “Since graduating from biochemistry, I completed a post-doc in molecular toxicology in the lab of our graduate-school dean (David Eaton). I then had a brief foray into the Seattle biotech scene (Targeted Genetics) before returning to the UW, where I am now an associate professor of pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy. My research is focused on preclinical biology and drug safety testing, developing ex vivo models as alternatives to animal testing. This includes a project jointly funded by NIH and NASA to send our kidney ‘chip’ to the International Space Station, highlighted at the Northwest Kidney Centers’ annual gala.” See the accompanying video featuring Dr. Kelly.

Residents and Fellows


Family of three standing in front of a city viewRobert A. Gutman, MD, Res. ’66 (internal medicine), Chief Res. ’69, and Larua E. Gutman, MD, MS ’68 (epidemiology), Res. ’69 (pediatrics), write, “Laurie and I met on the first day of internship in the laundry while on “the tour”. She trained in pediatrics and infectious disease and I in internal medicine and nephrology. We recall with love such people as Wedgewood, Dorfman, Scribner. We came to Duke in 1971 and are now retired, healthy, and living in Durham. It has been a really good life, and we attribute much of it to UW. We have been highly regarded as good teachers.”


*John A. Liebert, M.D., Res. ’69, writes, “Just out of the war as a USAF Flight Surgeon, I had a start in military medicine. Circumstances in Seattle at the time engaged me in police psychiatry and then forensic psychiatry. We were trained in community psychiatry, a subspecialty that has pretty much faded with the collapse of public psychiatry, but we received a total of 2 hours of formal training in forensic psychiatry. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was not even considered in our patient population. I hope the books that I have written on forensic psychiatry and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder help advance education in these topics, because the destructive behaviors of murder and suicide are critical topics today. My latest medical textbook, Psychiatric Criminology: A Roadmap for Rapid Assessment is probably the broadest effort I have made to cover what I had to learn by experience in psychiatry and hopefully can expose students to before they hit the streets.”


Ted Rothstein, MD, Res. ’70 (neurology), writes, “For the past 17 years, I have been on faculty at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I am a professor of neurology and the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care and Research Center. I continue to publish articles concerning the role of SSEP [somatosensory evoked potential] in evaluating post-anoxic coma and on grey matter changes in MS.”


*Denis Benjamin, MBB, B.Ch., Res. ’74 (pathology), writes, “Emigrated to Seattle in 1970, completed a residency in pathology and spent the next 30 years at the children’s hospitals in Seattle and 10 years in Fort worth. Retired in 2010. Involved in mycology, publishing two books on the subject (Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas (WH Freeman and Co. NY NY 1995)

Musings of a Mushroom Hunter: A Natural History of Foraging (Tembe Publ. 2010). Most recent book recounts stories from medical school at Wits’s in the 1960s – The Compleat Physician: Reflections from a golden era of clinical medicine. Available on”



Dr. Charney and his wife standing in front of rocksJames Charney, MD, Res ’76 (psychiatry/behavioral sciences), writes, “we loved our time in Seattle and thought that would be our home. But family ties drew us back East and instead we spent close to 40 years in New Haven.

I had an office practice in family and child psychiatry, taught at the Medical School at Yale, and consulted to local public schools and Choate Rosemary Hall, a private high school nearby. For 15 years I taught my Madness at the Movies seminar at Yale College. It used classic films to explore the experience of serious mental illness, a melding of my interest in psychiatry and my love of the movies. It was very popular, with more than 100 students applying each year for the 25 spaces in the class. Cross-listed with the Psychology and Film Studies departments, I loved teaching it.

My wife, Diane, was a devoted teacher of French at Yale and also enjoyed being a Writing Tutor there, a position that gave her a chance to follow students throughout their four years at the College, supporting their writing in all the courses that required it. One of the better programs at Yale.

Since I retired from my psychiatry office practice, Diane and I live half each year at our home in the countryside outside Orvieto, Italy. To keep my hand in (and my mind from turning to mush) for 6 years I was the psychiatric consultant to the St Stephens School in Rome (an English language private high school). I have taught versions of my Yale College course, Madness at the Movies, at the American University in Rome, Arcadia University in Rome, and the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia (where our son, Noah, lives with his family).

Diane keeps busy gardening, I do a lot of cooking, and we harvest our olives each November, enjoying the special pleasure of having our own oil. We visit friends here, explore Italy, eat very well and take advantage of being in Europe with visits to friends in the UK, the Netherlands, and France. Covid has slowed that down but not stopped it. We saw the wonderful Christo wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris this past September, before things locked down, catching up with friends while we were there.

Dr. Charney and grandkids standing on bridge across riverDiane published her first book last March, a literary memoir called Letters to Men of Letters. She writes letters to the authors who have shaped her, mostly French but not all. She also writes to Christo (we are fans), Leonard Cohen, and her father. She doesn’t expect any of them to write back (though Christo and Andre Aciman, another of her authors, did). She also writes a delightful blog called In Love With France, At Home in Italy, about our adventures as expats.

I am at the copy-editing stage of my first book, based on my Yale course, cleverly called Madness at the Movies, too. It will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press this coming Fall. I have loved the writing, encouraged by Noah, who is a professional writer with a specialty in art crime. He has some 18 books to his credit so far, writes occasional columns for The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post, and is frequently a talking head on BBC documentaries. We visit him and his wife, Urska, and their adorable girls, Izabella and Eleonora (ages 7 and 9) as often as we can when we are in Italy. They are a fairly easy 7 hour drive away; a long enough drive to enjoy an audiobook. Middlemarch, which we loved, took a round-trip and a half to finish!

When we are not in Italy we return to New Haven and look forward to the culture Yale provides, seeing friends and family there, and eating the foods we can’t get here—like Thai, Chinese, BBQ, hot-buttered lobster rolls, and more. I do live to eat, and Italy provides awfully good eating. But after a while you crave a different food profile. New Haven is a mecca for different cuisines.

Dr. Charney and family standing against a mountainous backdropWe have been lucky to stay healthy and so far to avoid COVID. Italy has done a very good job with this pandemic, with low case numbers even with the recent surge. Everyone follows the rules, and the vaccine green pass has made vaccination almost universal, since you need it now to eat in a restaurant, go to the theater or a museum, and lately as things got stricter to control omicron, even to get a coffee. We feel quite safe, and very lucky.

Photos: Diane and I are in Agrigento in Sicily, standing in front of a 500 year old olive tree
With our grand-daughters at a favorite trattoria on nearby Lago Bolsena
Noah, Urska, Izabella and Eleonora, Diane and me at Stari Grad Castle above the village of Kamnik in Slovenia”


William L. Oppenheim, M.D., Res. ’74 (Orthopedic Surgery), director of the UCLA / Orthopaedic Institute for Children’s Cerebral Palsy Program, received the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics Distinguished Service Award for orthopedics at their Annual Meeting in November 2018. Dr. Oppenheim is also a former recipient of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a past president of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine as well as the Western Orthopaedic Association’s Los Angeles chapter. He is in his 40th year at UCLA and continues as the Jones Kanaar Professor and Emeritus Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics.


Carlos A. Gutierrez, MD, Res. ’80 (pediatrics), writes, “From the time I was exposed to a true free standing Children’s Hospital in my third year of medical school, and subsequently completing my 3 year Pediatrics Residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital, I knew then that my goal as a Pediatrician would be to lead the effort to build my community of El Paso, Texas its first free standing not for profit Children’s Hospital. I began my fight in 1980 (I was 30 years old at the time). Our own El Paso Children’s Hospital eventually opened its doors on February 14th (Valentine’s Day in the year 2012. We will be celebrating 10 years as a free-standing Children’s Hospital in our community this coming February. I take immense pride every time I walk into our beautiful hospital knowing that I was a major force in helping to make this wonderful dream a reality. The Seattle Children’s Hospital is a major reason that our hospital became a reality. It is at your amazing facility that I picked up many of the ideas that we set in place in establishing our hospital. Your training and support were major reasons of what gave me the fight and energy to pursue my dream for 32 years of my life. Finally, it was the tremendous experience and training at the Seattle Children’s Hospital that allowed me to be known in our community as the “Father of the El Paso Children’s Hospital.” Thank you to the University of Washington Medical School and thank you to the Seattle Children’s Hospital for allowing me to train and learn at your excellent medical center.”


Dr. Southworth and family in front of a lake, daughter in graduation robesMolly B. Southworth, MD, Res ’81 (internal medicine), MPH, writes, “My husband Bret Haering and I recently celebrated med school graduations with two of our three children on Kachemak Bay: Celia (UCSF 2020) and Don (UW/WWAMI 2021). In addition, our older son Russell and his wife Natasha Selvey have added two grandchildren to the family! Since completing >30 years as an internist & endocrinologist Dr. Southworth and family in front of a lake, son in graduation robeswith the Alaska Tribal Health System, I have been focusing on my roles as Regent, American College of Physicians (ACP); Chair, ACP Volunteerism Committee; member, ACP Health and Public Policy committee; UAA/ WWAMI Denali College mentor; and board member for Skiku, an organization promoting ski opportunities in rural AK communities. I hope these activities will contribute to a better health care system and to improved health for all. Am also loving more time for family, reading, and outdoor activities. Come visit Alaska! Molly Southworth, MD, MPH, MACP”


Jeanne-Marie Maher, M.D., Res. ’91 (internal medicine), writes “After 20 years of internal medicine, went back for fellowship training at the National Institutes of Health in Palliative Medicine. Now Medical Director Palliative Medicine at Catholic Medical Center Manchester NH.”


Todd Strumwasser, M.D., Res. ’94 (anesthesiology), became the SVP of Operations for the San Francisco Bay Area for Dignity Health on Feb. 2015. He is now the President of the Northern California Division of CommonSpirit Health. Todd is responsible for both the Bay Area and North State Service Areas. He has responsibility over an assigned portfolio of healthcare assets which includes, acute care, ambulatory outpatient services, philanthropy, physician alignment and employment business models, as well as other alternative healthcare delivery systems. Todd oversees seven hospitals, including St. Mary’s Medical Center, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, Sequoia Hospital, Dominican Hospital, Mercy Medical Center Redding, St Elizabeth Community Hospital and Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta. He leads this Division to ensure optimal strategic positioning and operating performance.


Headshot of Dr. DeeterKristina H. Deeter, MD, Fel. ’09, was named by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) as vice chair of Pediatrics at UNR Med and associate physician-in-chief of Renown Children’s Hospital.

In her new role, Dr. Deeter will collaborate with School of Medicine leadership and the administration of Renown Children’s Hospital to develop and improve pediatric programs and training for UNR Med medical students. As vice chair, she will support the growth of both acute and outpatient pediatric programs, assist with the development of a pediatric residency program, and continue to support highly effective clinical pediatric teams.


Brett G. Toresdahl, M.D., Res. ’13 (Family Medicine), Fel. ’13 (Family Medicine-Sports Medicine), writes, “I traveled to Korea to support Team USA as team physician for the U.S. biathlon at the PeyongChang Winter Olympic Games. I have worked with the team since 2014, when I moved to New York to begin my practice in primary-care sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery.”

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