President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS came to the Medical University in 1994 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of General Surgery. He quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to Professor in 2002. At the same time, Dr. Cole assumed the positions of Vice Chairman for the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of General Surgery. In 2003 Dr. Cole was named the A. McKoy Rose, Jr., M.D. Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology and was selected as Chairman for the Department of Surgery in September of 2007. From 2011 to 2013 Dr. Cole served as Secretary for MUSC Physicians (known at the time as University Medical Associates) and was elected President of MUSC Physicians in 2013. He held these esteemed titles until becoming President of MUSC on July 1, 2014.
Dr. Cole is board certified through the American Board of Surgery with primary clinical fields of interest in breast cancer and gastro-intestinal malignancies. Dr Cole has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading surgeons over the past decade.
In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Cole brings a strong research background with more than 17 years of continuous funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He recently stepped down after seven years as the Medical Director for the Center for Cellular Therapy in order to concentrate on the needs surrounding his newest role. His research at the Center focused on novel cancer vaccine development and molecular diagnostics. As a thought-leader and innovator, Dr. Cole served as principal investigator for numerous clinical trials through the years and has secured multiple patents. He served on numerous National Cancer Institute (NCI) review panels and study sections, and authored more than 110 peer-reviewed publications and chapters.
As a member of numerous professional and scientific societies including the American Association for Cancer Research, American Surgical Society, Southern Surgical Association, AAMC Council of Academic Societies, Society of University Surgeons, Halsted Society, and International Society of Surgery, Dr. Cole held many leadership positions including his current role as president for the Southeastern Surgical Congress, the largest regional organization for general surgeons in the United States.
A New Mexico native, Dr. Cole received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces where he graduated with highest honors and was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He interned and completed his residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals in Atlanta and his fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the NIH/NCI Surgery Branch in Bethesda.