Ankit Bharat, MBBS, the Harold L. & Margaret N. Method Research Professor of Surgery, has been named chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, effective March 1.
“I am convinced that Dr. Bharat will be a strong leader as chief of Thoracic Surgery, collaborate with his medical counterparts, and grow the clinical and research activities of his group within Northwestern Medicine,” said Nathaniel Soper, MD, the Loyal and Edith Davis Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery.
Bharat, since joining Northwestern in 2013, has distinguished himself as a skilled thoracic surgeon, scientist and mentor. Beyond his clinical practice, which includes treatment of patients with complex thoracic malignancies, lung transplantation and extracorporeal life support, Bharat leads a multi-R01 funded laboratory focused on airway biology, lung preservation and transplant-tumor immunology. The laboratory aims to translate discoveries into novel therapeutics for patients with advanced lung disease and thoracic malignancies, as well as those undergoing pulmonary transplantation.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the tremendous growth within Thoracic Surgery and Pulmonary Medicine,” Bharat said. “As chief of Thoracic Surgery, I hope to build on our accomplishments and work with our faculty and campus partners to develop an integrated thoracic surgery program that prioritizes patient care and innovation. Our shared goals are to enhance the patient experience within our established mission of ‘Patients First’ and to facilitate the translation of our world-class research programs to the personalized care of our patients, while simultaneously providing the optimal environment to educate our medical students and housestaff.”
Bharat has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in top scientific journals, including Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Immunology and American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. His research, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, has already led to significant advancements in patient care.
Most recently, Bharat was awarded an R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute to examine the mechanisms by which pulmonary intravascular nonclassical monocytes — which his laboratory recently discovered to be retained in donor lungs — recruit neutrophils and cause injury to the transplanted lung and potentially play a role in native lung injury. The findings may lead to novel approaches to the prevention and treatment of post-transplant lung injury and respiratory distress syndromes.
At Northwestern, Bharat also serves as director of the thoracic surgery clerkship and director of the advanced lung disease fellowship program.
“Ankit is a unique and very talented individual. It is unusual for a surgeon to be a true ‘triple threat,’ but Dr. Bharat absolutely qualifies as such,” said Soper, also a professor of Surgery in the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery. “He has developed a strong clinical program in lung failure and lung transplantation. He works with clinical trainees on a daily basis and has been a great mentor to residents in his laboratory. He is also a very talented investigator, both in basic science and translational research.”
Bharat is also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Comprehensive Transplant Center.
Before joining Northwestern, Bharat completed a residency in general surgery and fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his medical degree from Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.
Bharat has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award from the American College of Surgeons. He was recently elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, from which he also received a Young Physician-Scientist Award in 2017.
Bharat currently serves as associate editor for the American Journal of Transplantation, as well as on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and Journal of Surgical Research.
Bharat replaces Patrick McCarthy, MD, the Heller-Sacks Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who has served as interim chief. McCarthy is executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of Cardiac Surgery in the Department of Surgery.