Dr. Gary Desir appointed chair and chief of internal medicine
Dr. Gary V. Desir has been selected as the next chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and chief of Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Desir is professor of medicine in the Section of Nephrology, and holds a secondary appointment at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He has been serving as interim chair of the Department of Internal Medicine since September of 2013, and is currently the board chair for the Yale Medical Group.
Desir was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and after high school, he immigrated to the United States to attend New York University, from which he graduated magna cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. At NYU he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received New York University’s Founders Day award for outstanding scholarship. He then attended Yale School of Medicine where he graduated cum laude and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. Desir did his training in internal medicine and nephrology at Yale New Haven Hospital, and then joined the YSM faculty, serving as chief of nephrology and then chief of medicine at the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Health System.
Desir is a physician-scientist whose major contributions to science include the discovery of a specific voltage-gated potassium channel that regulates body weight and insulin sensitivity, and the identification of a new growth factor, which he named renalase. This newly discovered protein protects cells against toxic and ischemic injury. Dysregulated renalase signaling can facilitate the development of certain cancers. Desir is a named inventor on several patents related to the discovery and therapeutic use of renalase in organ injury, and the development of drugs that modulate renalase signaling in cancer. He is the scientific founder of two biotechnology companies focused on developing renalase-based therapies.
A champion of diversity and social justice, Desir is the co-founder of the Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion, a faculty group at YSM focused on increasing faculty diversity through mentoring programs and developing resilient social networks.