Roger K. Giesecke Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery
The Roger K. Giesecke Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery was first established as a professorship in 2011 by Mary Pigott to honor her late husband, Roger Kent Giesecke. In 2013, with additional generous support from Ms. Pigott, this endowment was elevated to a chair. Preceding the creation of this endowed chair in transplantation, Ms. Pigott established the Roger K. Giesecke Endowment for Hospital Caregivers in Critical and Acute Care in gratitude for the exemplary treatment her husband received.
Roger Giesecke was born in Wichita, Kansas, on Sept. 24, 1952. A kind and gentle soul, his life was characterized by a robust curiosity, a lively intellect, an easygoing nature, an iconoclastic sense of humor and a loyal and steadfast love. Mr. Giesecke explored many interests in his lifetime. He studied photojournalism at Wichita State University and later owned and operated Snappy Print in Bellevue, Wash. After retiring from the printing business, Mr. Giesecke studied urban horticulture at Lake Washington Technical College and delighted in working part time at Squak Mt. Greenhouses and Nursery in Issaquah, Wash. Mr. Giesecke also enjoyed training with University of Washington Medical Center’s Team Transplant, a program that promotes fitness and organ donation awareness.
Throughout the last five years of her husband’s life, Ms. Pigott felt that “every day was a gift.” Her commitment to honoring him through the Roger K. Giesecke Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery has “created a foundation which provides additional resources to deepen learning in ways that will impact patients broadly during their entire transplant experience — before, during and after transplantation.”
During the first years of the position’s existence, UW Medicine made significant progress in advancing transplant techniques. Ms. Pigott’s generosity supported research into an innovative ice for cooling and preserving organs, as well as a new field known as transplantomics. The hope is that this new ice will increase the number of organs available for transplantation and will provide patients with an excellently preserved organ, thus improving outcomes. Just as promising is transplantomics, a field that investigates — at the level of cells and proteins — how the body’s immune system reacts to organs and infections after transplant. UW Medicine’s program is one of the few in the world dedicated to translational research in transplantomics.
Ms. Pigott’s goal is to provide our transplant faculty with the resources they need to do their best, most comprehensive work, while also allowing the university to retain and attract the finest faculty for the Division of Transplant Surgery. Reflecting upon the advancements made in transplant techniques since her husband was a patient, Ms. Pigott is delighted that UW Medicine employs such a visionary leader as Jorge Reyes, M.D., an innovative thinker who constantly evaluates the “standard” practice of medicine. Ms. Pigott has witnessed firsthand the power of such transformative thinking. For example, in less than a decade, the time it takes to perform an organ transplant has decreased immensely — the average surgery time has been reduced from 12 hours to six.
For Ms. Pigott, such progress epitomizes why she has invested in the creation of the Roger K. Giesecke Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery.
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