Matthew D. Neal, MD, FACS, receives 2017 Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award

Matthew D. Neal, MD, FACS, a tenure-track assistant professor of surgery and critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA, received the 13th Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award during the Annual Business Meeting of Members on Wednesday. Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, FRCS(Hon), 2017–2018 President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), presented the award.

Dr. Neal completed his undergraduate work at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and matriculated at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he graduated with honors and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his surgical residency and research post-doctoral fellowship with funding from the ACS Resident Research Award, and a clinical fellowship in trauma and surgical critical care at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Neal joined the faculty at UPMC in July 2015. He is an attending acute care surgeon and surgical intensivist, and his elective clinical practice focuses on complex gastrointestinal surgery, abdominal wall reconstruction, and robotic and minimally invasive hernia surgery.

Dr. Neal’s basic science research focuses on the mechanisms of organ failure and coagulopathy following trauma and hemorrhage. Specifically, his lab is interested in the role of innate immune activation in the regulation of hemostasis and thrombosis, and the lab recently discovered a novel signaling pathway in platelets involving the danger-signaling molecule, HMGB1. This work, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has led to a series of novel observations regarding platelet response following sterile injury and the role of platelets in thrombotic complications such as deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Dr. Neal also runs a clinical research group that is investigating novel resuscitation and hemorrhage control strategies for trauma patients, as well as outcomes following massive transfusion and the management of anticoagulation in trauma patients.

The National Institute for General Medical Science at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently acknowledged the promise of Dr. Neal’s research program by awarding him one of the first R35 Maximizing Investigators Research Awards directed to early-career faculty. He serves as the co-principal investigator on a recently funded Department of Defense (DoD) Prolonged Field Care Award for the study of synthetic platelet mimicry in the treatment of battlefield and prehospital hemorrhage. In addition, Dr. Neal is a co-investigator on several other NIH and DoD awards, was the recipient of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Faculty Research Award, and runs an industry-funded prospective observational trial. He also is a mentor to two surgical residents in his laboratory, as well as a pre-doctoral research fellow and five medical students completing basic or clinical research theses.

Timothy R. Billiar, MD, FACS, the George Vance Foster Professor and Chair, and distinguished professor of surgery, department of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; vice-president and chief academic officer, University of Pittsburgh Physicians; and associate medical director, UPMC international and commercial services division, recently said, “I first encountered Dr. Neal as a medical student when he worked in our labs and on our surgical services. It was evident then, as it is now, that ‘Macky’ was destined to make major contributions to surgical patients through outstanding patient care and innovation. Despite his relatively junior status, Macky has already become internationally known for his work on platelet dysfunction in trauma patients and is leading the way in both clinical and experimental studies to define the mechanisms that lead to coagulopathy after injury. With the support of the Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award, Macky is poised to make advances that improve outcomes in surgical patients. I can think of no one more deserving of this opportunity and recognition.”