Our storied history
The Hume-Lee Transplant Center is named for two internationally recognized visionaries in transplantation: founding chairman David M. Hume, M.D., and his mentee, Hyung Mo Lee, M.D., who succeeded him and directed the center for two decades. The VCU Health System Board of Directors designated the transplant center the Hume-Lee Transplant Center in 2002.
David M. Hume, M.D.
David M. Hume was born in Muskegan, Michigan in 1917. After graduating with a B.S. from Harvard University and M.D. from the University of Chicago, he trained at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and served two tours of duty with the U.S. Navy.
Hume served on the faculty at Harvard and Peter Brent Brigham before coming to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., in 1956 at the age of 39 to become the chairman of the Department of Surgery. It is believed that he was recruited to Virginia to modernize the surgery department and model it after the Boston style, with strong teaching and research components as well as clinical performance.
Hume performed the first identical twin kidney transplant at MCV in 1957, and initiated the current transplant program in 1962. Under his leadership, MCV developed a surgical research laboratory that became one of the world's foremost research centers for kidney transplants. Hume also investigated the transplantation of other vital organs, and in 1968 he and a VCU colleague performed the world's sixteenth heart transplant.
Hume had many notable accomplishments throughout his career. He was a member of the team that performed the first successful kidney transplant at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and published the landmark paper in renal transplantation, describing the clinical course of unmodified recipients. He was well-known for his neuroendocrinology research and was instrumental in mapping the hypothalamus. A pioneer in both vascular surgery and endocrine surgery, Hume also had special interests in diseases of the parathyroid and adrenal glands.
Hume published more than 100 scientific papers, most of them related to kidney transplants or the body's defense system, and coauthored "Principles of Surgery" (1969).
His honors include the Francis Amory Award of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1962, the Valentine Award of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1970, the University of Chicago's Distinguished Service Medal in 1971 and the Distinguished Achievement Award from Modem Medicine in 1972.
Hume met his untimely death while piloting a plane that flew into a mountain on May 19, 1973. The transplant library at the United Network for Organ Sharing is named Hume-Kauffman Transplantation Library and Archives in honor of Hume and H. Myron Kauffman Jr., M.D., FACS, Hume's first transplantation research fellow at MCV.
Hyung Mo Lee, M.D.
H.M. Lee was born on Oct. 17, 1926, in Korea. He received his B.S. at Keijo Imperial University in 1945, and his M.D. at Seoul National University Medical School in 1949. Lee completed his residency at the Medical College of Virginia and became an instructor of surgery in 1963. Working closely with Hume, he acceded to the positions of assistant professor, associate professor and professor.
In 1973, following Hume's death, Lee became director of the Clinical Transplant Program, professor and head of the Division of Vascular and Transplant Surgery and director of the Clinical Transplant Fellowship Program at VCU.
Under Lee's 20-year leadership, the VCU Medical Center added liver, pancreas and liver cell transplantation to its capabilities, sustaining its reputation as an internationally renowned center for transplantation. He mentored countless medical students, residents and fellows just as Hume had mentored him.
In 1984, Lee was president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons where he pushed for the signing into federal law of the National Organ Transplant Act, which outlawed the sale of human organs and established the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to maintain a national registry for organ matching, allocation and distribution.
His term as ASTS president established rigorous ethical standards for transplant candidate listing and prioritization, transplantation of "foreign nationals" and transplant surgeons' minimum qualifications.
Lee retired from MCV Hospitals in 1997 and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Richmond at the age of 74. The H. M. Lee Professorship was established in his name to honor Lee's service to the VCU Department of Surgery. He died March 24, 2013 at the age of 87.