Dr. Selwyn Vickers, MD, FACS

Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, FACS, is Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, one of the 10 largest public academic medical centers and the third largest public hospital in the U.S. He is a world-renowned surgeon and pancreatic cancer researcher, and he is a pioneer in health disparities research. Dr. Vickers is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine), the premiere society in academic medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. He has served on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Board of Trustees and Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees. In addition, he has served as President of these various organizations: Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, Southern Surgical Association, Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and the Surgical Oncology Board of the American Board of Surgery.

As Dean of the University of Alabama School of Medicine since October 2013, Dr. Vickers leads the medical school’s main campus in Birmingham as well as its regional campuses in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. He serves as Chair of UAB Medicine’s Joint Operating Leadership Committee (JOLC) as well as Chair of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation Board (UAHSF).

Dr. Vickers earned his bachelor’s degree and medical doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed his surgical training and chief residency. He completed two summer post-graduate research fellowships with the National Institutes of Health and trained at John Radcliffe Hospital of Oxford University in England. He was an instructor of surgery at Hopkins for one year. In 1994, he joined the UAB faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. From 1995 to 1999, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Research Fellow. From 2000 to 2006, he directed the section of gastrointestinal surgery. During his first tenure at UAB, Dr. Vickers received numerous honors, including the Argus Society for Excellence in Teaching Award numerous times, the Best Clinical Professor award, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2000, he became the first member of the UAB faculty chosen by students as a commencement speaker. In 2006, Dr. Vickers became the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School and served in that role until his return to UAB in 2013, where he led the transformation of one of the premier academic departments of surgery in the country.

While at Minnesota, Dr. Vickers’ and Dr. Saluja’s lab was instrumental in defining the role of HSP70 in pancreatic cancer and developing and licensing a novel targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer and GI tumors. Minnelide, an oral and injectable cancer drug, entered Phase 1 Testing in September 2013 and completed Phase 1 Trials April 2015. Dr. Vickers has a financial interest in the pharmaceutical company licensed to develop the drug, Minneamrita Therapeutics LLC.

Dr. Vickers continues to see patients and conduct research. He has had continuous NIH extramural funding for the past 25 years. His major research interests include gene therapy as an application in the treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors, the role of growth factors and receptors in the oncogenesis of pancreatic cancer, the implications of FAS expressions and Tamoxifen in the growth and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, assessment of clinical outcomes in the surgical treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors, and the role of death receptors in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Vickers was born in Demopolis, Alabama, and grew up in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. He and his wife, Janice Vickers, who also is from Alabama, have been married since 1988. They have four children: Lauren, Adrienne, Lydia, and Benjamin.