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Simmons jon 2021

Jon D. Simmons, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Trauma/Emergency General SurgeonTrauma Medical Director; Chief of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery; Professor of SurgerySpecialty: Trauma, Surgery

Conditions Treated

  • Emergency General Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery

About Jon Simmons, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Jon D. Simmons is a professor within the Department of Surgery. He has served as the trauma medical director and chief of the Division of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery at USA Health University Hospital – the region’s only level 1 trauma center - since 2017.

Dr. Simmons previously served as the program director for the General Surgery Residency from 2012-2018. He currently serves as the Councilor for Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society at the University of South Alabama since 2016. Dr. Simmons completed his general surgery residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2009. During residency, he garnered many awards, including Teacher of the Year, Arnold P. Gold Humanism Award, and Resident of the Year, which was chosen from over 500 residents. Following residency, Dr. Simmons completed a Multidisciplinary Critical Care Fellowship at Johns Hopkins where he was also named Teacher of the Year.

Since his arrival at the University of South Alabama in 2011, Dr. Simmons has impacted the Department of Surgery in many ways. Under his leadership, the General Surgery Residency has thrived. For these efforts, he was named Faculty Teacher of the Year in 2012 and awarded the Scarlet Sash Award seven consecutive years for outstanding mentorship to the medical students.

Dr. Simmons has also excelled as a scientist. He has collaborated with Mark Gillespie, chair of Pharmacology, and others from the Center for Lung Biology to create a strong multi-disciplinary team to conduct translational research in critically injured patients. Dr. Simmons has funding from several external sources, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Heart Association, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), and the American College of Surgeons. He was also awarded the 2014-2019 Clowes Memorial Research Career Development Award.

His current research interests include blood banking practices, massive transfusions, transfusion-related ARDS, hemorrhagic shock, platelet failure, mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, and the inflammatory nature of cell-free mitochondrial DNA.

Dr. Simmons has taken multiple trips to Africa over the past ten years to provide surgical care to rural regions that have no access to a surgeon. Since his arrival to the University of South Alabama, he has been instrumental in establishing a yearly trip for surgical residents and medical students to Rwanda in association with the Christian Medical Ministry for South Alabama.


  • Teacher of the Year
    • USA Department of Surgery (2012 & 2019)
    • Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary Critical Care Fellowship (2011)
    • UMMC General Surgery Residency (2006)
    • Research
      • AAST Canizaro Award (2016)
      • American College of Surgeons Clowes Award (2014)
      • AAST Research and Education Foundation Award (2014)
      • American Heart Association Mentored Clinical & Population Research Award (2014)
      • James D. Hardy Research Award (2009)
    • Humanism & Leadership
      • Councilor, Alpha Omega Alpha (2015-present) 
      • Ombudsman, USA School of Medicine (2015-present) 
      • Scarlet Sash Award (2012-2019)
      • Top 40 under 40. Mobile, Alabama (2014)
      • Arnold P. Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award (2009)
    • Clinical
      • UMMC Resident of the Year (2007) 
      • UMMC All-Star Resident Award (2006)
      • 3rd Place in National Laparoscopic Top Gun Competition (2007 & 2008)


      • Medical School: Ross University | Dominica, West Indies
      • Residency: University of Mississippi Medical Center | Jackson, MS
      • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University | Baltimore, MD

      State / National Committees

      • Committee on Trauma (COT) – Vice Chair, State of Alabama. 2016-present
      • Publications Committee – Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST). 2016-2019
      • Alabama Statewide Trauma & Health Systems Advisory Council (STAC). 2018-present
      • Alabama State Emergency Medical Control Committee (SMECC). 2015-2022

      Society Memberships

      • Southern Surgical Association
      • American College of Surgeons
      • American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST)
      • Society of University Surgeons
      • Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST)
      • Southeastern Surgical Congress
      • Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association


      • English

      External Research Funding

      1. NIH GMS K08. $945,000 (2016 – 2020). Mitochondrial DNA DAMPs – a pharmacological target in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
      2. NIH CCTS Partner Network Multidisciplinary Pilot Grant. $40,000 (2018-2019). Effect of mtDNA DAMPs and microparticals on trauma-induced coagulopathy.
      3. Clowes Memorial Career Development Award. $225,000 (2014-2019). The recipient of the Clowes Award is selected by the American College of Surgeons each year and is directed at a surgeon which shows promising development as a surgeon-scientist.
      4. AHA Mentored Clinical Research Award. $154,000 (2014-2015). Mitochondrial DNA DAMPs as a new key effector molecule in the pathogenesis of TRALI.
      5. AAST Research and Education Foundation Award. $50,000 (2014-2015). The role of mtDNA DAMPs in the pathogenicity of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia.
      6. NIH Loan Repayment Grant (2014-2020).

      Selected Publications

      1. Tan YB, Rieske RR, Audia JP, Pastukh VM, Capley GC, Gillespie MN, Smith AA, Tatum DM, Duchesne JC, Kutcher ME, Kerby JD, Simmons JD. Plasma Transfusion Products Are Contaminated with Cellular and Associated Pro-Inflammatory Debris. J Am Coll Surg. 2019 Sep;229(3):252-258.
      2. Tan YB, Pastukh VM, Gorodnya OM, Mulekar MS, Simmons JD, Machuca TN, Beaver TM, Wilson GL, Gillespie MN. Enhanced Mitochondrial DNA Repair Resuscitates Transplantable Lungs Donated After Circulatory Death. J Surg Res. 2019 Aug 14;245:273-280.
      3. Simmons JD, Vickers AL, Crockett ES, Whitehead JD, Krecker AK, Lee YL, Patterson SB, Kahn SA, Richards WO, and Wagner WW. Early Assessment of Burn Severity with Far Infrared Time-lapse Thermography. J Am Coll Surg. 2018 Apr;226(4):687-693.
      4. Simmons JD, Lee YL, Pastukh VM, Capley G, Muscat CA, Muscat DC, Marshall ML, Brevard SB, Gillespie MN. Potential contribution of mitochondrial (mt) DNA Damage Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs) in transfusion products to the development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) after multiple transfusions. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2017 Jun;82(6):1023-1029.
      5. Lee YL, Obiako B, Gorodnya OM, Ruchko MV, Kuck JL, Pastukh VM, Wilson GL, Simmons JD, Gillespie MN. Mitochondrial DNA Damage Initiates Acute Lung Injury and Multi-Organ System Failure Evoked in Rats by Intra-Tracheal Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. Shock. 2017 Jul;48(1):54-60.
      6. Simmons JD, Freno DR, Muscat CA, Obiako B, Lee YL, Pastukh VM, Brevard SB, Gillespie MN. Mitochondrial DNA DAMPs in Ventilator Associated Pneumonia: Prevention and reversal by intratracheal DNase I. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2017 Jan;82(1):120-125.
      7. Simmons JD, Gillespie MN. Plasma nuclear and mitochondrial DNA levels in acute myocardial infarction patients. Coron Artery Dis. 2015 Jun;26(4):286-288.
      8. Kuck JL, Obiako BO, Gorodnya OM, Pastukh VM, Kua J, Simmons JD, Gillespie MN. Mitochondrial DNA damage-associated molecular patterns mediate a feed-forward cycle of bacteria-induced vascular injury in perfused rat lungs. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015 May 15;308(10):L1078-85.
      9. Lee YL, King MB, Gonzalez RP, Brevard SB, Frotan MA, Gillespie MN, Simmons JD. Blood transfusion products contain mitochondrial DNA damage-associated molecular patterns: a potential effector of transfusion-related acute lung injury. J Surg Res. 2014 Oct;191(2):286-9.
      10. Simmons JD, Lee YL, Mulekar S, Kuck JL, Brevard SB, Gonzalez RP, Gillespie MN, Richards WO. Elevated levels of plasma mitochondrial DNA DAMPs are linked to clinical outcome in severely injured human subjects. Ann Surg. 2013 Oct;258(4):591-6; discussion 596-8.

      See Dr. Simmons' full bibliography here.

      Board Certifications

      • American Board of Surgical Critical Care
      • American Board of Surgery
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