UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics News

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics recognizes alum fighting cancer

By Jon Strunk : October 19th, 2011

In 1990, Dr. Joel Mayerson left UT as the Outstanding Graduate in Biology with high honors from The University of Toledo Department of Biology. In the two decades since, Mayerson has become a leading physician in the field of musculoskeletal oncology whose procedures have transformed the lives of his patients.



Mayerson, chief of the Division of Musculoskeletal Oncology at the Arthur James Cancer Hospital of Ohio State University and co-director of the Bone Tumor Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, has been selected to receive the 2011 College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Distinguished Alumni Award.

This is the first time the newly created college has selected a recipient, and Dean Karen Bjorkman said the college wanted to honor someone who has made a major impact in his or her field and has had a significant impact on others.

“We wanted to honor someone who has earned national and international renown for his or her work, and the extent of Dr. Mayerson’s accomplishments is very impressive,” Bjorkman said. “UT’s mission is to improve the human condition, and Dr. Mayerson has done so much in terms of teaching residents and other physicians as well as improving the quality of life of his patients.”

In August, Mayerson’s work was in the news following a reconstructive surgery called rotationplasty he performed on a young boy who had part of his leg amputated due to a bone tumor. In a rotationplasty, the end of the thighbone and top of the shinbone around the knee along with all of the muscles are surgically removed to eradicate a cancerous bone tumor, and the lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and reattached to the remaining thighbone.

Dr. Joel Mayerson demonstrated how a cast is put on and removed on his son, Drew. The photo was taken in Drew’s first grade class in 2005.

“In effect, the ankle serves as a new knee and having that joint dramatically decreases the amount of energy needed to walk and run,” Mayerson said, adding that it takes 70 percent more energy to run with an amputation with no functional knee joint, and only 30 percent more energy to run with a prosthesis with the joint.

Mayerson said he received a great education at UT, one that enabled him to earn a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, one of the premier medical schools in the nation.

“I received a presidential scholarship and as a result, I would meet regularly with President McComas to review my academic progress,” Mayerson said. He also was able to take advantage of UT’s study abroad opportunities and spent his junior year studying at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.

Mayerson said his return for the week’s Homecoming celebration will be the first since 2000, and he’s excited to see the many changes from the past decade.

He will be recognized with distinguished alumni from each of UT’s colleges at the Alumni Gala and Awards Ceremony Friday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium. Tickets are $30 per person. Members of the Student Alumni Association may use their free event benefit to attend.

For more information or to make reservations, call the Alumni Relations Office at 419.530.ALUM (2586).

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