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Conflict, competition, and collaboration: Thomas Starzl’s team of colleague-allies and colleague-adversaries in transplantation science

Tayade, Sophie (2021) Conflict, competition, and collaboration: Thomas Starzl’s team of colleague-allies and colleague-adversaries in transplantation science. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Surgeon and biomedical scientist Thomas Starzl’s (1926-2017) contributions to modern medicine, especially the field of transplantation, are vast and include innovation to the transplant technique and the first successful liver transplant in 1964. The Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, M.D. Papers, a recently opened archive in the University of Pittsburgh’s Archives & Special Collections, documents these ground-breaking contributions and includes letters, publication drafts, and memos from his personal and professional life. This paper investigates how Starzl strategized scientific team building and collaboration to encourage multidisciplinary sharing and network building. It reveals how he built a cooperative international community of collaborators in tandem with his own research team, and how he personally approached interaction with interprofessional colleagues with whom he strongly disagreed or closely competed. Evident in Starzl’s archival materials as well as his autobiographical account of transplantation history, The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon, is his ability to unite skilled and often competitively minded rival colleagues to address key issues like organ rejection and allocation in the early years of the field (~ 1960-1980). Theories from feminist epistemology and history of philosophy and science, combined with two high profile historical cases reflecting different leadership styles, aid in the analysis of key events and relationships from Starzl’s career. New language (the terms colleague-competitor, colleague-ally, and colleague-adversary) is introduced to describe the potential of colleagues to collaborate and compete and to help characterize Starzl’s approach to team building. In the face of competition to be the first to transplant various organs or innovate a particular process, Starzl invited a diverse array of colleagues into conversation and collaboration. Anyone, but especially aspiring health science professionals, can learn a lot from how Starzl strategized scientific team building to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. Understanding the strengths of Starzl’s approach to interacting with colleagues with whom he strongly disagreed or closely competed is fruitful to those interested in constructing a professional network in tandem with their support system.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tayade, Sophiesot15@pitt.edusot150000-0003-3750-2402
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorKelly, M.
Committee MemberParker, Lisa
Committee MemberHerrington,
Committee MemberKeranen, Lisa
Date: 13 December 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 December 2021
Approval Date: 13 December 2021
Submission Date: 10 December 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 78
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Thomas Starzl, John Fung, Andreas Tzakis, Henry Bahnson, Roy Calne, Joseph Murray, Satoru Todo, Paul Terasaki, Lysenko, Lincoln, Team, Network, Colleague-Ally, Colleague-Adversary, Colleague-Competitor, Transplantation, Science
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2021 13:31
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2021 13:31


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