Division of Neonatology and Developmental Biology, Magee Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
CLASS OF 1978
When Dr. Gary A. Silverman first visited his advisor at W&J, the meeting did not go well. The ambitious young Silverman had come to ask Dr. Dennis Trelka to be his advisor for an honors project. There was only one catch Silverman was only a freshman and no student at W&J had undertaken an honors project in biology before his or her junior year. The two argued, and Trelka recommended that this brash young man find another advisor. But Silverman did not give up, and, besides, he liked this professor who looked him in the eye and challenged him. One year later, when he completed his honors project at Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel) in his sophomore year, Trelka was there to guide him. The two continue to be close friends today and Silverman remembers W&J as the ultimate school for faculty that really desire to teach.
After W&J, Silverman continued to pursue remarkable challenges, applying to one of the most competitive physician-scientist programs in the country, the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago . His postgraduate medical education included pediatric residency at The Children's Hospital Boston and a neonatal-perinatal fellowship at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine. During his fellowship, Silverman also held a postdoctoral research fellowship position in the laboratory of Stanley Korsmeyer, M.D., where he worked on the forerunner of the human genome project.
A Youngstown native, Silverman returned to Pittsburgh in 2004 as chief of the Division of Neonatology and Developmental Biology for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Magee Women's Hospital. Every day, Silverman experiences the miracle and pain of new life. Obviously, the toughest part is when one of those lives is cut short, he says. In addition to this position, he conducts his own research on a family of proteins called serpins, which protect against infection and could be instrumental in finding a cure for certain cancers. He is one of only a handful of neonatologists nationwide who combine the rigors of clinical practice and ground-breaking research.
There were two primary reasons that Dr. Silverman chose W&J a place on the football team despite his 5"9 frame and the appeal of the school's size. "It was small and intimate," he says. You would not get lost in the crowd. Little chance of that for this remarkable physician.