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DURHAM, N.C. – Joseph St. Geme, III, M.D., professor of pediatrics and molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine, has been named chair of the department of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center.

St. Geme, 47, is a nationally-recognized expert in basic research and clinical treatment for pediatric infectious diseases. He will oversee clinical activities and research in the department of pediatrics, which offers primary care, consultations and comprehensive services for infants, children and adolescents. Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is one of the largest health care providers for children in the Southeast.

St. Geme begins his duties July 1, 2005. His appointment was announced by R. Sanders Williams, M.D., dean of the school of medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Duke University Medical Center.

"Joseph St. Geme is an outstanding clinician with a strong track record of leadership who will build on the strengths of our pediatrics faculty and research," Williams said.

St. Geme has been recognized for his research into the genetic and molecular basis of virulence by Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that causes middle ear infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis. He has been involved in efforts to create a pediatric vaccine to prevent these widespread infections, which are often fatal in developing countries.

"I am thrilled to be joining the esteemed academic community at Duke, and I look forward to contributing to the tradition of excellence in patient care, teaching, and research that have characterized the Duke Department of Pediatrics for a long time," St. Geme said.

St. Geme graduated from Stanford University in 1979 and earned a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1984. He completed residency training in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He served as chief resident in pediatrics at Children's Hospital from 1987 to 1988 and was a postdoctoral fellow in infectious diseases and microbiology at Stanford University from 1988 to 1992. He has been with Washington University since 1992.

St. Geme is president-elect of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. His numerous awards include the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, Infectious Diseases Society of America Squibb Award, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society Young Investigator Award, and the March of Dimes Foundation Basil O'Connor Award. St. Geme was also named Clinical Teacher of the Year three years in a row, from 2001 to 2003, at Washington University School of Medicine.

"Duke is very lucky to have attracted Dr. St. Geme. He brings a rare blend of leadership, honesty, humility, and scientific excellence. Since he is one of the leaders in my field, pediatric infectious diseases, I've known Dr. St. Geme for many years. He's built a superb annual conference that focuses on career development for fellows and junior faculty in pediatric infectious diseases. And best of all, he's a really good person who will be an asset for the department and community," said Ross McKinney, M.D., vice dean of research at Duke University School of Medicine.