Pictured are the three most recent Moseley professors: Francis Daniels Moore, MD, 1948-1976 (left), John Mannick, MD, 1976-1994 (right), Michael J. Zinner, MD, 1994-Present (center).
The Moseley Professorship of Surgery, the oldest endowed surgery chair at Harvard Medical School, is held by the chair of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Department of Surgery. It was endowed in 1898 at the bequest of William Oxnard Moseley, MD in honor of his son, also William Oxnard Moseley, MD. Both were graduates of Harvard Medical School.
Each Moseley Professor from 1899 until the present day has made significant contributions to the art and science of surgical practice and extended the boundaries of medicine.
Moseley Professors of Surgery
- J. Collins Warren, 1899-1907
- Maurice Howard Richardson, 1907-1912
- Harvey Cushing, 1912-1932
- Elliot C. Cutler, 1932-1947
- Francis Daniels Moore, 1948-1976
- John Mannick, 1976 - 1994
- Michael J. Zinner, 1994 - Present
J. Collins Warren was a prominent member of Boston’s famous Warren family many of whom have been outstanding medical practitioners since his great-grandfather founded Harvard Medical School and co-founded the Massachusetts Medical Society. His great-great-uncle, Joseph Warren, was a general and surgeon who played a leading role in the American Revolution.
After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Warren was the first to introduce the principles of bacteriology and surgical asepsis to the medical community in Massachusetts and the United State. His focus on educating medical practitioners on the principles of surgical cleanliness made a major contribution to the formulation of surgical care standards.
Dr. Warren's principal area of research and expertise was the surgical treatment of tumors. He published extensively on surgical treatments for breast cancer and was a pioneer in the use of the needle biopsy in evaluating breast disease. He served as First Surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital and President of the American Surgical Association.
As a major figure in medical education, Dr. Warren raised the standards of medical education by increasing the requirements for admission and lengthening the curriculum from one to three years.
Maurice Howard Richardson succeeded Dr. Warren as the Moseley Professor. As Dr. Richardson began in practice, surgery was still “external medicine” as surgery did not extend into the major cavities of the body. It is astounding to us today, but at that time leading hospitals of the day strictly forbade opening the abdominal cavity.
In 1888, Dr. Richardson became the first physician in New England to give up private general practice in order to practice as a full-time surgeon. He was widely acknowledged for his command of the subject of anatomy and for his ability to give lively lectures that he illustrated on the blackboard with both hands simultaneously.
Dr. Richardson focused primarily on gastrointestinal surgery performing Boston’s first transgastric extraction of a foreign object in the distal esophagus. (A teamster had swallowed his false teeth.)
As a surgeon in private practice, he performed surgeries in private homes as well as in the hospital setting as was the custom of the times. As a teacher, Dr. Richardson mentored Harvey Cushing, MD when he was an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Cushing succeeded Dr. Richardson as the next Moseley Professor.
One of America’s most admired surgeons, Harvey Cushing was a neurosurgery pioneer who developed many of the basic techniques and procedures still used in neurosurgery today. Dr. Cushing received many honors in his lifetime including the the Pulitzer Prize (1926) for his biography of the man who had greatly influenced his career, The Life of Sir William Osler.
In the early 1900s, Dr. Cushing worked with Theodor Kocher (1909 Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine for his work in the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid) and Victor Horsley, the founder of British neurosurgery. On returning to the United States he joined the staff at John Hopkins Hospital where he began his neurosurgical studies. In 1912 he was appointed professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and Surgeon-in-Chief at the newly opened Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Dr. Cushing’s World War I experience greatly expanded his surgical knowledge and expertise. He served as director of a U.S. base hospital attached to the British Expeditionary Force in France and as head of a surgical unit in a French military hospital outside of Paris. This service led to his experimentation with the use of electromagnets to extract fragments of metallic missile shrapnel that were lodged severely within the brain. In 1918, he was made senior consultant in neurological surgery for the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. An interesting coincidence happened when he treated Lt. Edward Revere Osler, who was fatally wounded during the third battle of Ypres. Lt. Osler was the son of Sir William Osler.
His teaching and methodology influenced neurosurgical medical education throughout the world for decades. Dr. Cushing’s investigations relating to the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system are legendary. The clinical application of these studies gave birth to the discipline of neurosurgery, first recognized as a distinct specialty by the American College of Surgeons in 1920. Before Cushing, patients routinely bled to death during intracranial surgery, which had a mortality rate approaching 50 percent. Thanks to his introduction of rigid hemostasis, asepsis, electrocoagulation and other procedures, mortality rates decreased to 10 percent. It has been noted that all of neurosurgery consists of two epochs—before Cushing and after Cushing.
In addition, Dr. Cushing was also one of the first endocrinologists in the United States. Dr. Cushing's original research and clinical studies of the pituitary gland established him as the world's authority on this gland, its diseases, and its surgery.
Elliot Cutler succeeded Dr. Cushing as surgeon-in-chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and as Moseley Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Cutler began life as the son of a Bangor, Maine lumber merchant. He graduated from Harvard College and then Harvard Medical School (first in the class of 1913) before entering the army and serving in the medical corps. He would later serve in Europe again during WWII and rise to the rank of Brigadier General.
The world’s first successful heart valve surgery was performed at BWH in 1923 by Dr. Cutler on a 12-year old girl with rheumatic mitral stenosis. This seminal operation, performed with a neurosurgical tenotomy knife demonstrated the validity of employing a surgical technique to restore normal anatomy to a damaged mitral valve. Because Cutler’s valvulotome created too much regurgitation he gave up this technique. However, Dr. Cutler had begun a new era of surgery and extended the boundaries of medicine.
Widely recognized as one the greatest surgeons of the 20th century, Francis Daniels Moore was a creator and forerunner in the development of new surgical methods for operative surgery, organ transplantation, and perioperative care. His leadership as the surgeon-in-chief at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was when he established himself as one of the great clinician-surgeons and surgical scientists of the twentieth century.
A champion of innovation, a myriad of medical advances can be attributed to his active encouragement of collaboration between surgical and medical physicians.
Among his many other achievements, Dr. Moore refined burn-treatment techniques and helped perform the world's first successful solid organ transplant (a kidney) at BWH. As surgeon-in-chief at the Brigham, Dr. Moore defined the field of surgical metabolism and guided the hospital though major advances in organ transplantation and open-heart surgery. Of special note, his work added enormous understanding about the metabolic changes during surgery impacting the survival rate of many thousands of patients. His textbook, The Metabolic Care of the Surgical Patient, published in 1959, was a bible for many generations of surgical residents.
As the youngest chairman of surgery in Harvard’s history, he led his department to attempt some of the most daring medical experiments ever conducted—experiments that established organ transplantation, heart-valve surgery, and the use of hormonal therapy against breast cancer.
He helped establish The New England Organ Bank and, together with Dean Robert Ebert, laid the foundation for the Harvard Medical School Definition of Death Based on Irreversible Loss of Brain Function.
John Mannick, a national and international leader in vascular surgery, surgical research and a dedicated educator, provided seminal contributions in transplantation immunology and in understanding the role of the intrinsic immune system in burns and other forms of acute injury.
Dr. Mannick contributed many successful techniques to the practice of vascular surgery. This includes vein grafts to reconstruct the tibial and peroneal arteries, the reduction of mortality from abdominal aortic aneurysm repair from more than five percent to less than two percent through the use of volume loading and minimal dissection of the aorta and iliac arteries. In addition, the use of axillo-femoral and femoro-femoral grafts to correct aortoiliac occlusive disease in certain high risk patients, and the demonstration that autogenous tissue reconstruction techniques can be applied with very high rates of long term success in over ninety percent of patients with limb-threatening femoropopliteal and infrapopliteal occlusive disease.
Also a skilled administrator, Dr. Mannick made a major contribution to the growth of the Department and the services it could offer during the planning and formation of the new Brigham and Women’s Hospital which opened in 1980.
Michael J. Zinner is the current Moseley Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, the Surgeon-in-Chief at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Clinical Director of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. His clinical focus centers on diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Zinner attended medical school at the University of Florida (Gainesville) and completed his surgical residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1988, he became Chairman of the Department of Surgery at UCLA Medical School and Medical Center and the first William P. Longmire Professor of Surgery at the institution.
Since becoming Chairman of the Department of Surgery at BWH in 1992 and Moseley Professor of Surgery in 1994, Dr. Zinner has overseen many important milestones including the development of the partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he is the clinical director of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
Dr. Zinner is also a local, regional and national leader on issues relating to the impact of changes in the health care delivery system on the practices of surgery and the viability of academic medical centers. He established the first-of-its kind research institution, the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH); a collaboration between the Harvard Medical School (through the Department of Surgery at the Brigham and Women's Hospital) and the Harvard School of Public Health. CSPH is focused on healthcare, quality, safety and effectiveness and global surgical care. The CSPH has mentored many national prominent surgeons into important positions all over the globe.
He is a member of the editorial boards of several surgical journals, including Annals of Surgery, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He is the past and current editor for Maingot’s Abdominal Operations, a worldwide textbook and atlas of gastrointestinal surgery.
Dr. Zinner is past President of the Association for Academic Surgery, past President of the Society of the University Surgeons and past President of the Society of Surgical Chairman. He has previously served as a Director of the American Board of Surgery, a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and a member of the Board of Directors of Collegium Internationale Chirurgiac Digestivae. He was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) from 2008 to 2010 and is now a Regent of the College.
Dr. Zinner is known for his ability to foster a collaborative approach towards dynamic teamwork dedicated to excellence. He is also recognized as a nurturer of talent. These skills have had a significant impact on the hospital and the surgical field. Dr. Zinner’s mentorship of women surgeons is of particular note. Under his leadership the number of women surgeons in the BWH Department of Surgery has increased tremendously. In 2008, he received the National Award for the Advancement of Women in Surgery from the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS).
His current interests include these areas and the national debate on health care reform. He is active in local, regional and national organizations on health care policies and is Vice Chairman of the American College of Surgeons Health Care Policy and Advocacy Committee - representing 75,000 fellows of the ACS. He has also taught courses on health care at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and was recently appointed adjunct professor there. He has been on the boards of several hospitals and health care systems across the country and is a member of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Advisory Committee beginning in 2013.
This page was last modified on 9/18/2015