Tranmer Invested as Inaugural Donaghy Professor of Neurosurgery

December 6, 2022 by Jennifer Nachbur

Larner College of Medicine Professor of Surgery Bruce Tranmer, M.D., was invested as the inaugural Raymond M. P. Donaghy Professor of Neurosurgery in a formal ceremony held December 5, 2022.

(Left to right) Mitchell Norotsky, M.D.; philanthropist Angelo Pizzagalli; Bruce Tranmer, M.D. (Photo: David Seaver)

In a formal ceremony held December 5, 2022, at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, Professor of Surgery Bruce Tranmer, M.D., was invested as the inaugural Raymond M. P. Donaghy Professor of Neurosurgery. Tranmer is also chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at UVM and the UVM Medical Center.

Made possible through a fund created by the Pizzagalli Foundation, this endowed professorship honors the life and accomplishments of the late Raymond M. P. “Pete” Donaghy, M.D., a UVM professor emeritus of neurosurgery and former director of neurosurgical research. The aim of the fund is to support the continuation of Donaghy’s legacy of excellence in training of neurosurgeons and outstanding patient care.

With members of the Pizzagalli and Donaghy families attending both in person and virtually, UVM Provost and Senior Vice President Patty Prelock, Ph.D., hosted and led the event in the Larner College of Medicine’s Hoehl Gallery. UVM President Suresh Garimella, UVM Medical Center President and COO Stephen Leffler, M.D., UVM Health Network President and CEO Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, M.D., M.B.A., Stanley S. Fieber ’48 Chair of Surgery Mitchell Norotsky, M.D., and Chief Development Officer for Academic Health Sciences Ginger Lubkowitz joined her.

Born in Quebec, Canada, in 1910, Donaghy moved to Vermont in 1922 and completed both his bachelor’s and medical degrees at UVM. Considered one of the true pioneers of modern neurosurgery, his restless dedication, innovation, and desire to share his knowledge facilitated the advancement of the field of microvascular neurosurgery. His work revolutionized the treatment of cerebrovascular disease and led to the development of the operating microscope still used in neurosurgical procedures today. Donaghy trained in neurology and neurosurgery at Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Montreal Neurological Institute, and completed a fellowship in neurosurgery at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, and further training at the Massachusetts General Hospital. A highly-decorated captain and combat surgeon with the United States Army in Europe during World War II, he treated many types of brain injuries, using methods of microsurgery that he developed further after the war. He founded UVM’s Division of Neurosurgery in 1946, and in 1958, established the Donaghy Skull Base Laboratory at the College of Medicine, which continues to be a training resource for not only Vermont surgeons, but also neurosurgeons from around the world seeking education about the latest technical advances in skull base surgery. Donaghy retired from UVM in 1977.

Tranmer, who previously held the Cordell E. Gross M.D. Green and Gold Professorship in Neurosurgery, joined the UVM faculty as chief of the Division of Neurosurgery in 1999, and served in that position through 2011. He assumed the role again in 2020. Tranmer received his medical degree from Queen's University School of Medicine in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and completed surgical and neurosurgery residencies at Kingston General Hospital and the University of Toronto, respectively. After his residency, Tranmer joined the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado, later moving to the University of Calgary and then to Albany Medical College, where he also served as chief of neurosurgery. A specialist in neuro-oncology, cerebrovascular surgery, brain and spine surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, and pediatric neurosurgery, Tranmer also directs the neurosurgery residency program. He has mentored more than two dozen neurosurgery research fellows and 10 medical students and has authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles, contributed more than two dozen book chapters, and delivered nearly 50 invited presentations. He is an active member and former president of the New England Neurosurgical Society.

Read more about endowed professors and chairs at UVM’s Larner College of Medicine.