Panella to Chair UT Graduate School of Medicine

Knoxville oncologist Dr. Timothy J. Panella has been named the new chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine.

Panella, who has served as medical director for Thompson Cancer Survival Center, will oversee graduate academic programs and clinical services at UT medical center.

He says one of his goals is to encourage collaboration between clinicians from different fields.

“In oncology, and not just at UT — you get a group of people together who all have something to do with the patient’s illness,” Panella says. “You have a pathologist, a radiologist, usually a surgeon that does the surgery, and if all those people act independently you don-t get a good team approach and a good plan for some of these tumors that require a lot of interaction. “

Panella says UT’s Heart Lung Vascular Institute is an example of the type of medical collaborations he will encourage.

“As we have more of these high-tech, highly specialized procedures being done, we’re going to need more and more different teams getting together to treat different diseases. The next big jump here is our Heart Lung Vascular Institute so people with heart and lung disease can have the surgeon, medical oncologist, and others working as a team to treat those disease.”

Panella says he plans to broaden the UT teaching programs to increase residents’ clinical experience and continue his research on genetic tests for inherited cancers.

“As chairman of the department of medicine I will be doing some research and that is going to combine some with my clinical time working to improve and do more with the genetics program in oncology.

“That will include inherited cancers, such as inherited forms of breast cancer. Now we can actually do the genetic testing on, new test now for inherited forms of colon cancer, this fall a new test for inherited forms of prostate cancer.”

Panella holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Carson-Newman College and a medical degree from the University of Tennessee-Memphis. He completed an internship and residency at Memorial Hospital in Worchester, Mass., and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Duke University Medical Center, later serving on the faculty. He plans to complete his master’s degree in medical management from Tulane University in New Orleans later this month.

He has served as medical director, chief of oncology and medical oncologist for Thompson Cancer Survival Center.

Panella replaces Dr. Warren Thompson, who left UT for a position with the Mayo Clinic.