The Austen Name

Austen BioInnovation is named in honor of the philanthropic efforts of both Dr. W. Gerald Austen and his wife Patricia R. Austen.  As chairman of the Knight Foundation, Dr. Austen played a key role in creating the partnership between the foundation and the BioInnovation Institute.

More About Dr. W. Gerald Austen

An internationally recognized heart surgeon, Dr. Austen retired as the Chief of Surgical Services at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital in 1997, after serving 29 years in that role.  He continues as the Edward D. Churchill Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He has authored or co-authored over 400 original articles, 51 chapters and four textbooks.

Dr. Austen is a life member of the Corporation (board of trustees) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the North Shore Medical Center and Dana Farber Partners Cancer Care.  He is an honorary trustee of Massachusetts General Hospital. He has served on a number of government committees including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Surgery Training Committee, the NIH Heart and Lung Program Project Grant Committee, the NIH Surgery Study Section Committee and the NIH Ad Hoc Policy Advisory Board on Coronary Artery Surgery.  He has also been president of a host of major national medical societies including the Association for Academic Surgery, the Society of University Surgeons, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Austen is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Akron; the University of Massachusetts; the University of Athens, Greece; and the Northeast Ohio University College of Medicine. Other honors include the Gold Heart Award of the American Heart Association and the Paul Dudley White Heart Award of the Massachusetts Heart Association, as well as an honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

A graduate of MIT and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Austen was born in Akron, Ohio. He was elected chairman of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 1996, and was elected vice chairman in 1991. He has been a foundation trustee since 1987, and is chair of the Nominating Committee. Dr. Austen also serves in an ex officio capacity on the Audit, Governance, Investment and Program committees.