K.C. Balaji, MD, has joined the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville as the new chair of urology. He comes from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he served as a professor of urology and cancer biology.
Balaji takes over for Joseph Costa, DO, who had been serving as interim chair of urology, which recently transitioned from a division in the department of surgery to a stand-alone department at UF COMJ.
“I am excited and honored to join UF Health at a time of immense growth,” Balaji said. “I look forward to collaborative and productive relationships with my new colleagues in the areas of patient care, research and education. I also intend to foster collaborations outside our institution to advance medicine, while working closely with all stakeholders to accomplish the institutional vision of being the region’s most valued heath care asset.”
Balaji is a urological oncologist who has conducted extensive research on prostate cancer and is a pioneer in the field of robotic cancer surgery. He’s particularly interested in the study of cell signaling and the role stem cells play in prostate cancer development and progression.
His seminal work in prostate cancer has generated a novel biomarker panel that can be used in cancer research tied to health disparities and heterogeneity. He has developed novel transgenic prostate cancer mouse models and remains active in genitourinary oncologic clinical trials.
Balaji had also served as chief of urology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center affiliated with Wake Forest, in nearby Salisbury, North Carolina. Before joining the Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2010, Balaji served as chief of urology at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. Prior to that, he held appointments at the VA Medical Center and University of Nebraska Medical Center, both in Omaha, Nebraska; and at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.
Balaji earned his medical degree from Madras Medical College at the University of Madras in India. He completed a residency in urology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a fellowship in urological oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
“We are delighted to now have Dr. Balaji as part of the UF Health family. Join me in welcoming him to our campus,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of UF COMJ and CEO of UF Health Jacksonville. “Dr. Balaji brings novel expertise and outstanding leadership experience, which will be vital as he guides our relatively new department of urology. In the same breath, I want to thank Dr. Costa for his remarkable service as interim chair. We are excited about what lies ahead for the department.”