University of Pittsburgh
April 25, 2014

A Glimpse Into the Life and Career of a Transplant Pioneer

Pitt’s University Library System helps develop Web site that serves as gateway to information about historic medical career of Thomas E. Starzl
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—A Web site—rich in information, documents, old photographs, videos, and archival materials—has been developed by the University of Pittsburgh Library System as the official Web site of Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, the pioneering transplant surgeon who has been a part of the University since 1981. The site,, serves as the definitive destination for those interested in Starzl’s life, his work, his legacy, and the lives he has touched.

University Library System staff have been working closely with Starzl over the course of the past three years to share his achievements online. The site is in part bolstered by the inclusion of material taken from Starzl’s personal records, which he has donated to the University Library System. These photographs, letters, speeches, and more help tell the story of not just one man’s career but the development of the entire field of organ transplantation.

“We're very excited that the story of Dr. Thomas Starzl and his groundbreaking work is now accessible to a global audience,” said Rush Miller, Hillman University Librarian and director of the University Library System. “The site will grow more robust as we continue to add content from Dr. Starzl’s amazing collection.”

The site contains four main sections. The “About” section provides a brief overview of Starzl’s life and research, as well as a historically compelling look at his family lineage, compiled by the doctor himself over the past decade. Readers can learn about Starzl’s long search for information about his Austrian grandfather, his journalist father, and his schoolteacher-turned-nurse mother, whose deep respect for her doctors treating her for breast cancer inspired her son to pursue a career in medicine.

The “Impact” section focuses on the impact of Starzl’s work on the medical profession. This portion of the site, put together by examining bibliometric data—that is, the number of citations of Starzl’s nearly 2,300 articles written over the course of his career. This statistic numerically demonstrates the long reach of Starzl’s work on the generations of transplant surgeons and immunologists who followed. In light of the impact of his written works, the University Library System has also digitized and made publically available the entirety of Starzl’s publication list via its D-Scholarship service.

The “Themes” section examines seven main areas of Starzl’s works, including his early ventures into neuroscience, transplantation immunology, and the surgical innovations regarding the transplanted organs themselves. Starzl authored this portion of the site, giving the reader a glimpse into what he considers to be the highlights of his professional career.

Finally, the “People” section focuses on individuals whom Starzl has personally identified as having a significant impact on his career. The people covered in this section range from patients to colleagues. Each profile is accompanied by documents chosen from his records that illustrate his connection to the individual in question, including correspondence, photographs, and other documents.

The Official Dr. Thomas E. Starzl Website is continually updated with links to news articles on this medical pioneer’s continuing work. For more information on the website, please contact Jeff Wisniewski at 412-624-4050 or

The University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh is the 22nd largest academic library system in North America. Under the administration of the Hillman University Librarian and Director, it includes 15 libraries and holds more than 6.4 million volumes, world-specialized collections, and major foreign language materials from around the world. The University Library System offers state-of-the-art facilities and services, including innovative digital library collections and services and a robust Open Access publishing program. Visit for more information.