Kenneth Ataga, MD, has been named director of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's new Center for Sickle Cell Disease in the College of Medicine. He will begin his new role July 1.
In addition, Dr. Ataga will serve as a professor of internal medicine, director of the section of Non Malignant Hematology in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, and the director of the Memphis Consortium for Sickle Cell Disease and Non Malignant Hematology Research. He also is the Methodist Endowed Chair in Sickle Cell Anemia.
The UTHSC Center for Sickle Cell Disease is a collaborative effort among UTHSC, West Cancer Center, UT-Methodist University Hospital and Regional One Health
Dr. Ataga comes to UTHSC from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Medicine, where he was a professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and director of the UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program. Dr. Ataga received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of Benin School of Medicine in Benin City, Nigeria. He completed his residency in internal medicine at State University of New York Health Science Center, now Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, New York, followed by fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
His research focuses on the development of new treatments for sickle cell disease and its complications. Dr Ataga's team is also interested in understanding the pathophysiology of chronic kidney disease and pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease. In addition, Dr. Ataga and his colleagues are evaluating the contribution of coagulation and platelet activation to the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease.
Dr. Ataga's interest in sickle cell disease began in Nigeria, where the disease is prevalent.