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Physician Assistant Faculty and Staff

Courtney M. Townsend, Jr. MD

PAS Faculty and Staff Bio

Courtney M. Townsend, Jr. is the Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery in the Department of Surgery, and Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. A distinguished surgical investigator, Dr. Townsend’s research in gastrointestinal endocrinology and cancer has been supported through grants from the NIH and the American Cancer Society. He has authored or coauthored 416 articles in peer-reviewed publications, 123 articles in other publications, and 364 abstracts. He became an ACS Fellow in 1981.

Dr. Townsend earned his bachelor’s degree in history and English from the University of Texas, Austin. He then earned his medical degree and completed his internship and general surgery training at UTMB. Dr. Townsend completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), and was a McLaughlin Fellow twice, a Jeane B. Kempner Fellow, an American Cancer Society Clinical fellow, and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Townsend’s first teaching position was as an adjunct assistant professor of surgery, division of oncology, department of surgery, at UCLA from 1974 to 1976. He then served in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1978 as a staff surgeon and surgical director in the intensive care unit at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. In 1978, Dr. Townsend returned to UTMB as an associate professor in the department of surgery. In 1981, he was promoted to Robertson-Poth Associate Professor of Surgery, and the next year he became director of the surgical research laboratory at UTMB. From 1983 to 1995, Dr. Townsend was the Robertson-Poth Professor of Surgery, and from 1987 to 1995 he served as interim director of the UTMB Cancer Center. He assumed his current roles as professor of physician assistant studies in 1989, as graduate faculty in the cell biology program in 2001, and as Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery in 2009. Dr. Townsend also served as John Woods Harris Distinguished Chairman from 1995 to 2013.