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Randall W. Burt, MD, ‘74, Recipient of 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award

After attending the University of Utah Medical School Dr. Burt completed three years of residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and a two-year fellowship in gastroenterology at the U of U under Dr. James Freston. His work with Eldon Gardner, PhD, who described “Gardner syndrome” and with Mark Skolnick, PhD, who assembled the Utah Population Data Base, enabled him to make original observations concerning the upper gastrointestinal track of Gardner syndrome and to determine that colonic adenomatous polyps segregated with colon cancer in families with an inherited predisposition to colon cancer.

This work also indicated that perhaps up to one-third of all colon cancer cases had inherited predisposition as part of their etiology. His ongoing work with Ray White, PhD, involved the discovery of the APC gene, which is responsible for Gardner syndrome and its parent condition, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). This gene was later found to be the first gene mutated in over 80% of all colon cancers. Descendants with this mutation could possibly account for up to 1% of all colon cancers in the US.

Dr. Burt continues to work in gene discovery and clinical characteristics of common and rare inherited colon cancer, as well as in the chemoprevention of colon polyps and cancer in the inherited setting. He has also held the following administrative appointments: chief of medicine at the Salt Lake VA Hospital, GI division chief at the University of Utah, senior director of prevention and outreach at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HC), interim director at HCI, and he is now the interim director of Clinical Affairs at HCI.