Duke Surgery Appoints New Chief of Surgical Oncology

March 28, 2018
By: Duke University School of Medicine

Peter J. Allen, MDThe Duke Department of Surgery is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter J. Allen, MD, as the new Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery and Chief of Surgery for the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI).

Allen comes to Duke from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he served as the Murray F. Brennan Chair in Surgery and Vice Chair of Surgical Services. His other roles have included Associate Director for Clinical Programs at the David Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research and Professor of Surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

“Dr. Allen brings outstanding leadership capabilities, superb surgical skills, and impressive research productivity,” says Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Surgery. “He is the perfect addition to an already strong surgical oncology program.”

“In assuming the critically important roles of Chief of Surgery for the DCI and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Dr. Allen will work closely with physician and administrative leaders throughout Duke Health, the DCI, and numerous clinical departments to help ensure delivery of quality surgical care and research for all Duke patients,” says Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, Executive Director of the DCI.

Allen graduated from Harvard University in 1989 and received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School in 1993. He went on to complete his surgical residency at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1999. He finished a research fellowship in the hepatic oncology laboratory at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 1997, followed by a clinical fellowship in surgical oncology in 2003. Prior to his return to Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2005, Allen served as a surgical oncologist at Walter Reed and was deployed to Iraq for one year as a member of the 2nd ACR forward surgical team.

Allen is board certified in surgery and specializes in treating cancerous and precancerous conditions of the pancreas, liver, bile duct, and stomach. His research focuses on developing nonsurgical methods for diagnosing pancreatic cancer, including the identification of novel biomarkers and imaging modalities for patients with precancerous conditions of the pancreas.  He has led multiple prospective trials, and his research has been funded by the NIH since 2009.

He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Surgical Association among many other professional memberships. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards for the Annals of Surgery, the Annals of Surgical Oncology, the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, and HPB.

On August 20, Allen will take over the reins as Division Chief from Theodore Pappas, MD. Says Kirk, “Dr. Pappas has built a renowned surgical oncology program as demonstrated by the recruitment of such a luminary candidate as Dr. Allen.”

“It is an honor to join the Department of Surgery at Duke University,” says Allen. “The reputation of the Department is surpassed by none, and the surgeons within the Division of Surgical Oncology are clearly talented. I believe over the next five years we can capitalize on the Division’s momentum and become national leaders in the three areas of clinical care, research, and education.”

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Allen to the Department of Surgery. His arrival coincides with the launch of a new division title, which will change from "Advanced Oncologic and Gastrointestinal Surgery" to "Surgical Oncology."