20 Physicians who are associated with DIRECT Study
Carlos H. Chan, MD, PhD, FACS, FRCSC, FSSO
Dr. Chan is a board-certified Surgical Oncologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He is currently appointed as an Assistant Professor of Surgery Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery; Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology; and Director of the Biospecimen Procurement and Molecular Epidemiology Resource (BioMER) at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Chan received his medical degree as well as a PhD in Biochemistry from McGill University. He completed his surgical residency at McGill University Health Center and his fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
Some of Dr. Chan’s research interests include the study of tumor immune microenvironment in the peritoneal cavity, approaches of regional therapy for peritoneal metastasis of pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers and cancer biomarker discovery and detection.
David A. Iannitti, MD
Dr. David Iannitti is the Chief of HPB Surgery at Carolinas Medical Center. He specializes in the care of patients with diseases of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts. His surgical interests include minimally invasive liver and pancreas surgery, vascular resections and IRE for advanced pancreas cancer, vena cava tumor removal, and microwave and IRE for liver tumors. Dr. Iannitti attended Dartmouth-Brown medical school, completed his residency at Brown University, and completed his fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Iannitti has been the Program Director for the HPB Fellowship program, including the research and clinical components, for the past 13 years. He also serves as program director for multiple physician training courses in microwave and radiofrequency ablation as well as a regional/national annual liver course. He has authored more than 80 journal articles and book chapters and more than 150 meeting presentations.
Edward J. Kruse, DO, FACS
Dr. Edward Kruse is the Chief of Surgical Oncology at Augusta University. He also serves as the Chairman of the Cancer Committee and is the Co-Lead of the Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Cancer Team.
He received his medical degree from Des Moines University, completed his surgical residency at Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and completed his fellowship at Medical College of Virginia.
Dr. Kruse’s military background includes serving as the Interim Commander and Clinical Director of Preventative Medicine and Community Health Services at the U.S. Army Health Clinic in Schweinfurt, Germany from 1995-1998. In 1997, he also was the Base Camp Field Surgeon for the Operation Joint Guard, SFOR, Base Camp Colt in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Dr. Kruse’s clinical interests include benign and malignant tumors of the pancreas and liver, GIST tumors, cancer of the stomach, colon, breast as well as melanoma.
Robert C.G. Martin, MD, PhD
Dr. Robert C.G. Martin, MD, PhD, Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary and Surgical Oncology at the University of Louisville
Dr. Robert C. G. Martin has been a pioneer in IRE clinical use and outcomes. He performed the first case of IRE in the pancreas in 2009 and has performed over 325 cases since then, He has published over 20 peer review manuscripts in IRE of the pancreas and liver. He is Director of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Martin has been a leader in multidisciplinary cancer patient care and is responsible for many advances at the University of Louisville. His areas of interest include liver tumors (ablations, laparoscopic and open resections), pancreatic, gastric and colon cancers Dr. Robert C.G. Martin, MD, PhD, Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary and Surgical Oncology at the University of Louisville(laparoscopic and open surgery), esophageal cancer (laparoscopic, open and endoscopic stenting and ablation), bile duct tumors, sarcoma and melanoma. Dr. Martin received his M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and his surgical oncology training and hepatopancreatic-biliary training from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and his PhD from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
John A. Stauffer, MD
Dr. John Stauffer is an associate professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He is a minimally invasive and HPB surgeon specializing in diseases of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and duodenum.
He received his medical degree from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed the general surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL as well as a fellowship in minimally invasive, HPB, and advanced gastrointestinal surgery at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Stauffer performs high volume pancreas and liver operations within a highly specialized multidisciplinary group at Mayo Clinic. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed publications, over ten book chapters, and has authored numerous abstracts and given presentations/lectures throughout the world.
Rebekah R. White, MD, FACS
Rebekah White, MD, is a general surgeon and surgical oncologist who specializes in treating tumors of the pancreas, liver, bile duct, and upper gastrointestinal tract. Among the procedures she performs are irreversible electroporation (IRE) for pancreatic cancer; Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy); laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy and enucleation; pancreas-preserving ampullary and duodenal tumor resection; minimally invasive liver resection; drainage / debridement for chronic pancreatitis; and gallbladder and bile duct tumor resection.
As a surgical oncologist at an academic medical center, Dr. White instructs medical students, residents and fellows at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Her research focuses on novel tests and therapies for earlier detection and improved treatment of pancreatic cancer. Dr. White has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and also frequently speaks at national medical conferences.
Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Dr. White was an associate professor in the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. She completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a residency in general surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, where she also earned her medical degree.
Malcolm M. Bilimoria, MD
Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria, MD is a pancreas and hepatobiliary surgeon practicing in Arlington Heights, IL and has been practicing in this capacity for 22 years. He completed his surgical training at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL and his surgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Currently he is the Director of The Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Disease, which specializes in treating the pancreas, liver and bile duct cancers. Dr. Bilimoria has performed more than 2500 complex pancreas and liver surgeries.
Sean Cleary, MD
Sean P. Cleary, M.D., is the Division Chair of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery, Vice Chair of Education and a consultant in the Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Cleary holds the academic rank of Associate Professor of Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.
Dr. Cleary earned his B.Sc. with honors at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and his M.D. at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He completed a residency in general surgery at the University of Toronto, where he also completed the Clinical Investigator Program earning his Master of Science degree. He continued his training at the University of Toronto, completing a fellowship in hepatobiliary oncology and transplantation surgery and earning his Master of Public Health in community health and epidemiology.
Dr. Cleary served on the staff of University Health Network at the University of Toronto prior to joining Mayo Clinic in March 2017. His clinical interests include the surgical treatment of pancreatic, hepatic and biliary malignancies with a specific focus on minimally invasive approaches to these cancers. His research interests include the genetic epidemiology of pancreatic and hepatocellular cancers. He is frequently invited to give presentations on his work to both national and international audiences and has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and other written publications.
In addition to his clinical and research activities, Dr. Cleary is active in education and has provided mentorship to many residents and fellows, among others. He is a recipient of the Frank Milles Teaching Award and Nicolas Colapinto Teaching Award, conferred by the University of Toronto.
Dr. Cleary is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was recently elected to the Board of Governors as the Surgical Specialty Society Governor from the Canadian Association of General Surgeons. He is a member of professional organizations, including the American Surgical Association, American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, Canadian Association for General Surgeons, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, where he has served on many committees and in leadership roles.
Steven Curley, MD
Dr. Curley is the Oncology Institute Director and Chief of Surgical Oncology at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, TX. He was previously a Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas as well as a Professor in Nano- Materials Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He received his M.D. from University of Texas Medical School, completed his Surgical Oncology training at The University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and completed his surgical residency at University of New Mexico Hospitals, Albuquerque, NM.
Dr. Curley’s clinical duties involve providing surgical care for patients with hepatobiliary and gastrointestinal malignancies. When Dr. Curley is not operating on patients, consulting or seeing patients for follow up visits, he spends his time on clinical and laboratory research. His research involves design, bench testing, preclinical testing, and then clinical testing of several new medical devices, including radio frequency ablation of liver tumors. The laboratory combines physics, chemistry, molecular biology, and bioengineering to produce a state-of-the-art approach to novel cancer treatment.
Darius Desai, MD, FACS
Dr. Desai currently serves as the Section Chief of Surgical Oncology for St. Luke’s University Health Network. He is also the cancer liaison for the physician program at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
He provides surgical care to patients with complex oncologic needs including patients with pancreatic tumors, gastrointestinal tumors, colorectal cancer, soft tissue tumors/ sarcomas and peritoneal surface malignancies, head and neck tumors, and breast cancer. Dr. Desai’s clinical interests include: complex surgical oncology; sarcoma; GIST; colorectal cancer; colon; GI, thyroid; adrenal; HIPEC chemotherapy; endocrine; melanoma; breast; robotic surgery.
Dr. Desai received his medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and completed his fellowship at the Arthur G. James Cancer Center at The Ohio State University.
Chet Hammill, MD, MCR, FACS
Chet Hammill, MD, MCR, FACS, is a board-certified physician and surgeon specializing in Liver, Bile Duct and Pancreas Surgery. He is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Hammill attended college and medical school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 2002 and completing medical school in 2004. He completed his general surgery training at the University of Hawaii in 2009, and subsequently completed a two-year Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery Fellowship at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Hammill also holds a Master of Clinical Research degree from Oregon Health & Science University.
Dr. Hammill actively participates in research and has multiple peer-reviewed publications. His current areas of research include: minimally-invasive and robotic surgery, image-guided surgery, ablation therapies and immunotherapy in liver and pancreas cancer.
Robert E. Heithaus, MD
Dr Heithaus is a dual board certified Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at the University of Florida where he serves as the associate chief of the IR division and director of IR research. Dr. Heithaus specializes in multiple disorders of the liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, spine, and blood vessels. Dr. Heithaus is passionate about oncology and currently performs minimally invasive treatment of cancers with internal radiation therapy (Y90) as well as ablation therapies including Nanoknife (IRE) ablation.
Dr. Heithaus received his medical school training at the University of South Florida where he was a graduate of the research and scholarly concentration program. He completed his diagnostic radiology training at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas Texas where he served as chief resident. He received his subspecialty fellowship training at the University of Florida at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.
Dr. Heithaus also served for 8 years in the United States Army, and he proudly cares for active military and veterans. He looks forward to finding minimally invasive alternatives to help his patients.
Peter Hosein, MBBS
Dr. Hosein is a clinical researcher focused on Gastrointestinal Cancers at the University of Miami Hospital, FL. He has been the principal investigator for multiple phase I and II clinical trials for patients with liver and pancreatic cancers conducted at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has also participated as a co-investigator in national phase III clinical trials in pancreatic and colorectal cancers. His primary research interest is in neoadjuvant therapy for patients with localized pancreatic cancer, and novel therapies for metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Hosein received his medical degree from University of the West Indies in Trinidad, completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and his fellowship at UM-JMH Division of Hematology/Oncology. He sees patients with cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, bile ducts, pancreas, small bowel, colon, rectum and anal canal, as well and gastrointestinal neuroendocrine cancers. Dr. Hosein works closely with surgical oncologists, colorectal surgeons, radiation oncologists and interventional radiologists at Sylvester to coordinate multidisciplinary care for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.
Jonathan Kessler, MD
Dr. Kessler is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in colon, liver, kidney cancers. He is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.
Dr. Kessler received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Alexander Y. Kim, MD
Alexander Kim, MD, is the division chief of Interventional Radiology and an associate professor of Radiology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Kim received his medical degree from Drexel College of Medicine in 2003 and completed his residency and fellowship in diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He also completed a research fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. He joined the division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology in 2012 and currently serves as the program director for the residency program.
Dr. Kim’s primary clinical focus is minimally invasive therapies for various cancers. His practice scope includes treatment of primary and secondary liver cancers using a wide variety of therapies, including transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), transarterial radioembolization (TARE), and percutaneous ablation. He also treats primary pancreatic cancer with a novel therapy called irreversible electroporation (IRE). He is involved in a number of clinical trials for primary and secondary liver cancers as well as in minimally invasive treatments of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Michael D. Kluger, MD, MPH
Dr. Michael Kluger is the Medical Director of Surgical Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is board-certified in general surgery and specialty trained in liver and pancreas surgery. He focuses on the operative management of pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder disease and metastases to the liver and abdominal peritoneum. Dr. Kluger employs a multidisciplinary approach to determine the best available treatment options that maximize survival and quality of life.
Dr. Kluger graduated from the New York University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. There he was selected to be the Administrative Chief Resident and won the Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award. He received advanced training in liver transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery at Hospital Henri Mondor in France under the world-renowned surgeon Professor Daniel Cherqui. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of several prestigious professional organizations, including the Society of Surgical Oncology and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.
Govindarajan Narayanan, MD
Renowned Interventional radiologist Govindarajan Narayanan, M.D., is a part of two of Baptist Health South Florida’s premiere service lines – Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, the area’s largest and most comprehensive cardiovascular facility, and Miami Cancer Institute, a next-generation cancer center and Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, where he serves as the Chief of Interventional Oncology. He is a Professor of Radiology at the Florida International University, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Dr. Narayanan has a wealth of academic, clinical and research expertise. He was the founding chair of the Department of Interventional Radiology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and held the titles of Professor of Interventional Radiology and Professor of Urology. A member of numerous professional and honorary organizations, he is also a pioneer in his field, developing the technique of percutaneous irreversible electroporation (IRE) of the pancreas.
Dr. Narayanan is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and holds a Certificate of Added Qualification in interventional radiology. He is widely published in prestigious medical journals such as Cancer, Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology and Cardiovascular & Interventional Radiology and serves as a reviewer and editor for several scientific publications. His published work on Percutaneous IRE of the pancreas was honored as a distinguished study of the year at the 2018 Society of Interventional Radiology Annual meeting. He also is an invited faculty member and speaker at several national and international scientific meetings.
Dr. Narayanan’s primary clinical and research interests include pancreatic, liver and colon cancer.
Patricio Polanco, MD
Dr. Polanco is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He focuses on treating complex gastrointestinal malignancies including liver cancer, pancreas cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and neuroendocrine tumors.
A native of Peru, Dr. Polanco graduated as valedictorian of Universidad de San Martin de Porres Medical School. After completing his surgical training in Lima, Peru, he moved to the United States, where he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship and a general surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh. He later pursued a Complex Surgical Oncology Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with emphasis in liver/pancreas tumors and minimally invasive robotic surgery techniques.
His research involves clinical trials and the analysis of large national databases to answer relevant clinical questions that may help improve cancer therapies and optimize the care of cancer patients. His research has been presented in national and international oncology meetings and published in several surgical journals.
Ponnandai Somasundar, MD
Dr. Somasundar is Vice Chairman of Surgery, Associate Chief of Surgical Oncology and Director of Geriatric Oncology at Roger Williams Medical Center. He received his Fellowship training at Roger Williams Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine. After graduating from Madras Medical College, Dr. Somasundar completed residencies at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York,and West Virginia University. Dr.
Somasundar’s clinical expertise is in the areas of liver surgery, pancreas surgery, thyroid cancer, colorectal surgery and HIPEC.
Vic Velanovich, MD
Dr. Velanovich is currently the Director of General Surgery at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. He also chairs the Vivian Clark Reeves/Joy McCann Culverhouse for Digestive Disorders and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Velanovich received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1987 and completed his surgical residency at Letterman Army Medical Center in California as well as Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington. From 1987 to 1996,he served his country on active duty as a major in the United States Army, Medical Corps., where he received numerous awards. His research interests focus on benign and malignant diseases of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and minimally invasive surgery, with emphasis on quality of life and outcomes.