An internationally known researcher and pediatrician, Dr. Giuseppe N. Colasurdo became dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences of The University of Texas Medical School (now McGovern Medical School) Sept. 1, 2007. He was named president and the Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Oct. 22, 2012, and continued to serve as dean until his successor was appointed, Oct. 1, 2015.
Born in Morrone Del Sannio, Italy, Dr. Colasurdo completed his undergraduate education at Liceo Scientifico Galileo Galilei in Pescara, Italy. He earned his medical degree summa cum laude from G. D’Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy. Determined to achieve the best medical training in the world, Colasurdo decided to come to the United States in 1988.
He completed his residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and his fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. In Colorado, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Gary L. Larsen and initiated his studies on the autonomic regulation of the airway smooth muscle, the biology of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, and ontogeny of airway dysfunction and inflammation in childhood asthma.
Colasurdo joined the Medical School’s faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. He became the division head in 1997 and started directing the fellowship training program in pediatric pulmonary medicine in 2001. He was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics in 2005. He was appointed president ad interim of UTHealth April 1, 2011.
Colasurdo specializes in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), pediatric asthma, and other lung disorders in infants and children. Dr. Colasurdo has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
His numerous awards include the Dean’s Excellence Awards, the David W. Smith Trainee Award from the Western Society for Pediatric Research, and the Basic Scientist Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. In 2008, he received Houston’s Executive Communicator of the Year Award from the International Association of Business Communicators; the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB); was elected to faculty membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society-Houston Delta Chapter; received the Facolta di Medicina e Chirurgia Award from the G. D’Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy; and received the Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, presented by the Consul General of Italy.
In addition to publishing more than 120 manuscripts, abstracts, book chapters, and review articles, Colasurdo holds editorial reviewer positions on several scientific journals, including The American Journal of Physiology, The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatric Pulmonology.
A strong proponent of preserving and promoting the best in medical education, Colasurdo brought to our school two fellowship training programs recognized by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education: pediatric pulmonology and pediatric critical care. He has trained numerous fellows and junior faculty currently holding positions in academic centers. He created a Division of Medical Education in the Department of Pediatrics dedicated to focusing on new strategies and technologies for resident learning.
As dean, Colasurdo created a structure to promote health care quality and safety throughout the clinical, research, and educational missions of the Medical School. He also promulgated a Scholarly Concentrations Program aimed at helping medical students enrich their academic pathways into medical specialties. Under his leadership, the UT Physicians clinical practice of the Medical School has expanded beyond the confines of the Texas Medical Center and into the neighborhoods of Houston and surrounding areas.
Licensed to practice medicine in Italy, Texas, and Colorado, Colasurdo remains an active clinical pulmonologist and has hospital privileges at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the CEO and president of UT Physicians, the medical practice of McGovern Medical School.