Alumni Profile

Dr. Brian Tullius ’03 MA ’04

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Alumni Profile

Dr. Brian Tullius ’03 MA ’04

As a doctor, Brian Tullius helps care for kids who have cancer.

Winter 2024 | Judy Roberts

In This Article

Dr. Brian Tullius knew he wanted to be a doctor when he arrived at Franciscan University, but he loved his philosophy classes so much that he decided to major in both biology and philosophy.

Although studying philosophy was not the usual path to a career in medicine, Brian believes it made him the doctor he is today.

“What makes me unique as a physician is that I bring that philosophy of the human person, a Catholic sensibility of the humanities, into the way I practice medicine.”

In his office, pictures of St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta remind him daily not to be satisfied with mediocrity in patient care and that every person he encounters is Jesus.

“It’s what flavors my work as a scientist, too.”

Brian is research medical director for Pediatric Cellular Therapy at AdventHealth for Children in Orlando, Florida. While completing fellowships in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapies at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, he did research in the lab of renowned natural killer cell specialist Dean Lee and continues research on these cells’ use in treating childhood cancers.

He became interested in pediatrics while attending medical school at the University of Nebraska under the U.S. Navy’s medical scholarship program, and after graduation, he began a pediatric internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego. When offered the option of continuing his residency in pediatrics or training as a flight surgeon, he chose the latter, deploying twice on an aircraft carrier after getting his wings.

“I loved that job. Getting to take care of pilots was a total dream.”

By the end of two tours, Brian had met and married his wife, Brianna, and they had the first of their four children before he left the Navy and resumed his pediatric training. Brian says his Catholic faith sustains him as he confronts pediatric cancer.

“Dealing with extremely sick children, you sometimes watch children you have cared about and loved die of their disease. Everything you could give was not enough. The only way to bear something like that is knowing they’re with Our Lord and are now at peace.”

Dr. Brian Tullius received the 2023 Father Dan Egan Award in recognition of his success and leadership in the area of health care.


Judy Roberts writes from Graytown, Ohio.

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