With unassuming brilliance, Segev, Gentry share passions, save lives

Couple devises formula that could transform nation's transplant distribution system

The forthcoming issue of Sun Magazine includes a profile of super-couple Dorry Segev and Sommer Gentry—champion swing dancers, avid water skiers, and researchers who are "poised to influence the nation's public health policy—and for the second time in seven years."

"Segev, 41, is a transplant surgeon at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a pianist who studied at Juilliard and a former computer prodigy," writes Mary Carole McCauley. "Gentry, 35, an assistant mathematics professor at the Naval Academy, was a doctoral student when she caught the public's attention by designing a dancing robot."

The couple has devised a formula that would give patients in need of a liver transplant equal access to donated organs, regardless of where they live. Presently, there is considerable geographic inconsistency in the availability of organs, Segev says, meaning one patient in need of a transplant might wait six months while another waits 10 years.

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By the fall of 2013, the Organ Transplantation Procurement Network—the governing body for the nation's transplant distribution system—is expected to decide whether to adopt Segev and Gentry's formula nationwide.

Experts say the liver algorithm has the potential to be as significant as the couple's 2005 breakthrough, when they devised a mathematical equation that exponentially increased the number of donors who can be matched with patients awaiting kidney transplants. In the past seven years, that discovery has either saved or dramatically improved thousands of lives throughout the U.S.

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