Research Faculty

Chair

Cardiac Surgery

Abbas Ardehali, MD

Abbas Ardehali, MD

Specialty: Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Ardehali’s research activities focus on chronic rejection or cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV), the leading cause of late death among heart transplant recipients. His group has shown that chemokine-chemokine receptor interactions may be important in T-lymphocyte recruitment in experimental CAV. His long-term objective is to provide a basis for future clinical studies of chemokine receptor blockade and regulatory T-cells in prevention/control of CAV.

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Sepideh Hagvall, PhD

Specialty: Cardiothoracic Surgery

Murray H. Kwon, MD

Murray H. Kwon, MD

Specialty: Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Kwon is working the field of long-term right ventricular assist devices. Specifically, he is investigating the role of HLA antibody specificity and titer, Class I and Class II subtypes, isotype switching, complement fixation, and presence of non-HLA antibodies in patients undergoing VAD implantation. He hopes to develop desensitization protocols with donor specific HLA antibodies to reduce primary graft dysfunction in the sensitized VAD patients.

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Hillel Laks, MD

Specialty: Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Laks’ clinical and research interests include anomalous pulmonary venous return, aortic aneurysm, valve surgery, assist devices, CABG, heart and lung transplantation, the Maze procedure, pediatric cardiac surgery, and ventricular aneurysms repair.

General Surgery

Francis Brunicardi, MD

Francis Brunicardi, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Brunicardi is a Department Vice Chairman and has a proven track record of quality investigations regarding human pancreatic cancer, islet physiology and islet transplantation. His work is focused on the role of PDX in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors. He is also a practicing general surgeon and educator with his primary interest in disorders of the pancreas, with specific attention to diabetes, hypoglycemia, and cancer.

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Grace Chang, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

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Fromosa Chen, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Yijun Chen, MD

Yijun Chen, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Martin Culjat, MD

Martin Culjat, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Culjat specializes in ultrasound transducers and systems, where he is involved in a number of active research efforts focusing on transurethral ultrasound catheters, dental ultrasound systems, flexible ultrasound transducers, robotically-controlled ultrasound systems, and focused ultrasound neuromodulation. He has developed various research projects related to haptic sensing for surgical robotics, lower-limb amputees, and balance disorders.

 

 

Erik P. Dutson, MD

Erik P. Dutson, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Dutson's research in CASIT (Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology) is to define and advance the state-of-the-art of surgical and interventional technology and to change the paradigm of surgical education and training. The goals of the research are to enable the development of performance improvement for minimally invasive procedures and to deliver novel surgical and interventional therapies to patients.

Guido Eibl, MD

Guido Eibl, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Eibl studies the mechanisms of diet-induced obesity on pancreatic cancer development. In particular, he studies the role of inflammation using in vitro cell culture and genetically engineered animal models. In addition, Dr. Eibl is investigating the potential preventive effect of fish oil on pancreatic carcinogenesis.

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Melinda Gibbons, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Gibbons’ research interests are studying and improving the quality of care for surgical disorders. She has conducted projects developing quality indicators and appropriateness measures (bariatric surgery, elderly patients, and carpal tunnel syndrome) that involved expert panels utilizing RAND/UCLA appropriateness method.

Avital Harari, MD

Avital Harari, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Harari’s clinical and research interests include the multidisciplinary management of benign and malignant tumors of the adrenal, thyroid, and parathyroid glands as well as the neuroendocrine pancreas. Specifically, she has been focusing on the translational development of biomarkers for endocrine cancers utilizing nanotechnology to perform “liquid biopsies” detecting circulating tumor cells.

O. Joe Hines, MD

O. Joe Hines, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Hines is focused on pancreatic carcinogenesis and investigates the role of angiogenesis and inflammation in this process. Specifically he has investigated the potential of targeting CXC chemokines in order to alter pancreatic cancer growth. In addition, he is investigating the impact of phytochemicals on pancreatic cancer derived angiogenesis utilizing human xenograft models and the prevention of precancerous lesions transgenic mouse models.

Darryl T. Hiyama, MD

Darryl T. Hiyama, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Hiyama’s research interests are minimally invasive surgery, clinical research in improving patient outcomes, and resident education. Dr. Hiyama is also focused on the implementation of electronic medical records to improve patient care.

Kevork K. Kazanjian, MD

Kevork K. Kazanjian, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Jonathan C. King, MD

Jonathan C. King, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

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Clifford Ko, MD, MSHS

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Ko directs the UCLA Center for Surgical Outcomes and Quality (CSOQ). The mission of the Center is to study surgical care and outcomes within the broader scope of health care. By integrating the clinical strengths of the UCLA Department with methodological experts, a scientific basis will be provided for the improvement of surgical quality at the patient as well as at the population level.

Anne Y. Lin, MD

Anne Y. Lin, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Lin’s research interests involve patients with inherited colon cancer syndromes including familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (Lynch Syndrome), as well as patients with early-onset colorectal cancer. She is actively involved with the Inherited Colorectal Cancer Registry at UCLA.

Marcia McGory Russell, MD

Marcia McGory Russell, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Russell’s research interests include evaluating the quality of surgical care and clinical outcomes after colon and rectal surgery. With respect to quality of care, she has developed quality indicators in elderly (funded by the National Institute on Aging) as well as colorectal cancer surgery patients.

Howard Reber, MD

Howard Reber, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Reber serves as the Director of the Center for Pancreatic Disease which brings together a large group of basic scientist and clinician experts in the field of pancreatic disease in order to execute translational science, specifically in pancreatic cancer. As the Director of the Hirshberg Laboratories, he oversees investigators working on a number of factors that influence pancreatic cancer tumor growth, metastasis, and survival at a cellular and molecular level.

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Marc Sawicki, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Sawicki’s laboratory studies the role of the Men1 gene protein product called menin in endocrine tumorigenesis. This tumor suppressor protein is mutated in Men1 families and sporadic endocrine tumors. He is specifically interested in how cell-signaling pathways, such as the Wnt pathway, lead to endocrine tumor growth through gene expression affected by menin-dependent histone methylation. His goal is to identify drugable targets for treatment of these tumors.

Eri Srivatsan, MD

Eri Srivatsan, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Matthias Stelzner, MD

Matthias Stelzner, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Stelzner’s research interests include: Transplantation of mucosal stem cells; Intestinal gene therapy; and bioengineered Intestines. He serves as the Chief of Surgery at the West LA Veterans Administration Hospital.

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Areti Tillou, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Tillou’s research is directed toward comprehensive geriatric trauma and acute care surgery. Traumatic injury is a sentinel event that often precipitates functional decline in our rapidly growing elderly population. Projections estimate them to become 40% of all trauma patients by 2050. Her work focuses on improving the quality of care provided to this group to optimize their immediate and long term outcomes.

Michael W. Yeh, MD

Michael W. Yeh, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Dr. Yeh’s research centers on the epidemiology, treatment, and long-term effects of primary hyperparathyroidism. His group is studying the large population of untreated patients with PHPT to examine the long-term skeletal and extra-skeletal effects of this disease. Extra-skeletal effects may include cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction.

Guisheng Zhou, MD

Guisheng Zhou, MD

Specialty: General Surgery

Liver Transplantation

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Ana Coito, PhD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Dr. Coito’s laboratory is interested in understanding the contribution of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins to hepatic ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI). Leukocyte functions are highly regulated by ‘inflammatory matrices’, which are composed by ECM proteins and other components. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) mediated breakdown of those components can have critical functions in the outcome of liver transplantation.

Francisco Durazo, MD

Francisco Durazo, MD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Dr. Durazo has investigated the role of endoscopic treatment of symptomatic gallstones in high-risk patients awaiting liver transplantation, drug-induced liver injury, minimizing bile duct injury during liver radiofrequency ablation, and the factors associated with recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after resection.

Douglas G. Farmer, MD

Douglas G. Farmer, MD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Dr. Farmer’s research work is mostly focused on the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses in intestinal damage due to ischemia and reperfusion (IRI). They further explore the regulatory effects and mechanisms of IL-13 and other cytoprotective molecules in innate and adaptive immunity in intestinal IRI.

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Chris Holt, PhD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Dr. Holt has focused on studying infectious complications and immunosuppressive agents in liver transplant recipients. His current research interests are related to the study of drugs and their disposition in patients with liver diseases.

Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski, MD

Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski, MD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Dr. Kupiec-Weglinski is the Director of Dumont-UCLA Transplantation Research Laboratories and the Vice-Chair of Basic Research. His group has been working on improving the quality of donor organs through innate - adaptive immune cross-regulation in ischemia and reperfusion injury.

Gerald Lipshutz, MD

Gerald S. Lipshutz, MD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

The primary goals of Dr. Lipshutz laboratory are 1) to develop strategies for the treatment of inherited disease before the clinical onset of phenotype at birth; 2) to examine if tolerance to foreign transgene products can be induced by delivery and expression of the protein during immunologic development, and 3) to track hematopoeitic and hepatic cells transplanted before birth and determine their final fate as a method to develop cellular therapy.

Hasan Yersiz, MD

Hasan Yersiz, MD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Yuan Zhai, MD, PhD

Yuan Zhai, MD, PhD

Specialty: Liver Transplatation

Ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is a common clinical syndrome associated with liver surgeries, such as Pringle maneuver, transplantation. His laboratory is interested in immunological mechanisms of IRI pathogenesis, including roles of T cells, Toll-like receptors, intracellular signaling pathways leading to the activation of pro-inflammatory gene transcriptions and their regulation, and roles of metabolic stresses.

Pediatric Surgery

Daniel A. DeUgarte, MD

Daniel A. DeUgarte, MD

Specialty: Pediatric Surgery

Dr. DeUgarte is the Surgical Director of the UCLA Fit Program and a faculty member of the UCLA Program in Global Health Education. He is investigating the impact of metabolic/bariatric surgery on reproductive-age women. In addition, with funding support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), he directs a surgical partnership with a university hospital in Mozambique.

James Dunn, M.D., Ph.D.

James Dunn, MD, PhD

Specialty: Pediatric Surgery

Dr. Dunn’s research interests are in tissue engineering of internal organs and mechanical intestinal lengthening. His research is focused on developing novel therapies for patients with intestinal failure. His lab is employing a tissue engineering approach to generate intestinal tissues using stem cells and biomaterials. They are also developing an implantable device to mechanically lengthen the small intestine.

Stephen Shew, MD

Stephen Shew, MD

Specialty: Pediatric Surgery

Dr. Shew’s laboratory focuses on the role of nutritional substrates to improve the synthesis of the major anti-oxidant in the body – glutathione. Critically ill neonates are being enrolled in a NIH-supported prospective, randomized clinical trial to investigate the anti-oxidative and oxidative changes impacted by parenteral cysteine supplementation.

Plastic Surgery

Christopher A. Crisera, MD

Christopher A. Crisera, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Crisera is the Director of Microsurgery at the UCLA Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His current research investigates the vascular biology of perforator flaps and pharmacologic conditioning of free flaps to improve outcomes in breast reconstruction. He was recognized with the Community Service Award by the Patient Care Foundation of the Los Angeles County Medical Association for his role in the UCLA Operation Mend Project.

Andrew L. Da Lio, MD

Andrew L. Da Lio, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Da Lio is the Chief of the UCLA Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His research focuses on microsurgery, objective assessment of abdominal wall function after free TRAM flap breast reconstruction, the use of nuclear medicine imaging (FDG-PET scanning) in differentiating benign and malignant lesions after breast reconstruction, and the role of decision analysis in breast reconstruction surgery

Jaco H. Festekjian, MD

Jaco H. Festekjian, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Festekjian has research interests in the clinical arena, specifically in the area of breast reconstruction, breast augmentation, and breast reduction. Additionally, he leads the quality initiatives program to improve patient care within the Division of Plastic Surgery at UCLA. His previous research ranges from comparing postoperative pain control in patients with breast reconstruction to burnout in U.S. microsurgeons.

Dr. Akishige (Aki) Hokugo DDS, PhD.jpg

Akishige Hokugo, DDS, PhD

Dr. Hokugo is the Research Director of the Regenerative Bioengineering and Repair Laboratory at UCLA Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His research focuses on developing new therapies for patients suffering from defects of oral and craniofacial tissues through tissue engineering techniques utilizing a variety of biomaterials, biological molecules, and cells.

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Reza Jarrahy, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Jarrahy’s research focuses on tissue engineering and clinical outcomes in the scope of craniofacial surgery and other fields in plastic surgery. His lab team is developing innovative ways to bioengineer “Smart Scaffolds” used in the reconstruction of critical sized calvarial bone and peripheral nerve defects for patients with traumatic nerve injuries and craniofacial deformities

Justine C. Lee, MD, PhD

Justine C. Lee, MD, PhD

Dr. Lee is actively involved both basic science and clinical research with funding from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Plastic Surgery Foundation, and the Jean Perkins Foundation. In her laboratory, Dr. Lee’s primary research focus is on regenerative technologies for skeletal defects. By combining biomimetic scaffolds and stem cells, they aim to identify novel methods and mechanisms for repair of bony defects from congenital, post-traumatic, and post-oncologic causes.

Jason Roostaeian, MD

Jason Roostaeian, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Roostaeian’s research interests are rhinoplasty, facial aesthetic surgery, and breast reconstruction. He has authored over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters in leading plastic surgery text books and journals. Dr. Roostaeian received the Pilot Research Grant Award from the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation for his project, “Reprogramming of ASCs for Increased Osteogenic Potential.”

George H. Rudkin, MD

George H. Rudkin, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. George Rudkin is the Program Director for Plastic Surgery at UCLA and Chief of Plastic Surgery of the West Los Angeles VAMC. He is a Co-Investigator for an active VA Merit Review grant studying bone tissue regeneration. Dr. Rudkin has active clinical projects pertaining to the management of non-melanoma skin cancer and to chest wall reconstruction.

Chia Soo, MD

Chia Soo, MD

Specialty: Plastic Surgery

Dr. Soo is the Vice Chair for Research at the UCLA Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Research Director for Operation Mend, an UCLA organization that offers reconstructive surgery to soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her research investigates bone and skin regenerative medicines and tissue engineering technologies.

Surgical Oncology

Timothy R. Donahue, MD

Timothy R. Donahue, MD

Chief of Surgical Oncology

Dr. Donahue’s research program is focused on the molecular genetics of pancreatic cancer in order to improve the diagnosis and prognosis patients with this disease. In collaboration with faculty in the Ahmanson Imaging Division at UCLA, his lab is developing novel PET imaging probes to noninvasively predict response to specific chemotherapies.

Begonya Comin-Anduix, PhD

Begonya Comin-Anduix, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Comin-Anduix’s research focuses on optimizing immune monitoring techniques and studying approaches to enhance the T-cell responses to human metastatic melanoma. She studies the optimization, development, and validation of quantitative immune monitoring methods at a single cell level. Dr. Comin-Anduix collaborates with engineers from the California Institute of Technology to microscale quantitative immune monitoring methods optimized in her research.

New Photo for Tracy Daniels-Wells

Tracy Daniels-Wells, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Tracy R. Daniels-Wells has Ph.D. in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics from Loma Linda University. Dr. Wells joined UCLA in 2005. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor and works as a part of Dr. Penichet’s research team. Her work focuses on the development of new antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of various cancers and encompasses the field of AllergoOncology.

James S Economu

James S Economu, MD, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Economou is the Beaumont Professor of Surgery and Vice Chancellor for Research at UCLA. He led the first gene therapy trial on the West Coast in the early 1990s and has an ongoing NIH funded career in cancer translational research.

Fritz C. Eilber, MD

Fritz C. Eilber, MD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Eilber has conducted three prospective clinical trials using molecular imaging to monitor response to therapy in sarcoma patients. The initial two studies found that FDG-PET is more accurate than the current size based criteria (RECIST) and a 35% reduction in tumor FDG uptake after the initial cycle of therapy is a sensitive predictor of response.

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Warren Grundfest, MD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Richard Koya, MD, PhD

Richard Koya, MD, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Koya conducts laboratory and clinical research focused on immunotherapy and targeted specific therapy of cancer. Dr. Koya’s research interests include gene vector design, molecular imaging, new approaches to enhance anti-cancer T-lymphocyte responses, advanced immune monitoring and understanding of cancer biology for therapeutic translation. 

Manuel Penichet, MD, PhD

Manuel Penichet, MD, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Penichet's research involves concentrating molecules that stimulate the immune system in the tumor environment, thus training the immune system to recognize cancer cells as foreign and destroy them. Since 1996, Dr. Penichet has developed a family of antibody fusion proteins to be used as direct anti-tumor agents and as adjuvant of cancer vaccines.

Antoni Ribas, MD

Antoni Ribas, MD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Director Dr. Antoni Ribas' research is aimed at how the immune system can be effectively used to treat cancer, with a focus on malignant melanoma. His work spans from laboratory research to patients, including pre-clinical and clinical development of CTLA4 blocking monoclonal antibodies, dendritic cell vaccines, genetically engineered antitumor lymphocytes and use of targeted small molecule inhibitors to pharmacologically sensitize cancer cells to immunotherapy.

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James S. Tomlinson, MD, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Tomlinson’s Lab is focused on the development of novel targeting agents for the diagnosis and treatment of solid organ cancers utilizing engineered antibodies, nanoparticles, and novel bio-orthogonal “click” chemistry in mouse models of cancer. They utilize MicroPET/CT imaging to evaluate our targeting agents. Their laboratory is located in the Crump Institute of Molecular Imaging on the UCLA campus in the California Nanosystems Institute building.

Cho-Lea Tso, PhD

Cho-Lea Tso, PhD

Specialty: Surgical Oncology

Dr. Cho-Lea Tso’s research focuses on characterizing and targeting glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), which are a previously unrecognized subpopulation within the tumor mass and are hypothesized to be responsible for tumor development and tumor recurrence. Her Lab has established several patient-derived GSC lines and animal models, allowing them to characterize properties of GSC at cellular, molecular, functional, and genomic levels.

Vascular Surgery

Hugh A. Gelabert, MD

Hugh A. Gelabert, MD

Specialty: Vascular Surgery

Dr. Gelabert’s research interests include neointimal hyperplasia, arterial smooth muscle response to injury, thoracic outlet syndrome, and varicose veins.

Juan C. Jimenez, MD

Juan C. Jimenez, MD

Specialty: Vascular Surgery

Dr. Jimenez has research experience and active interest tissue engineering. He is the author of multiple book chapters in both general surgery and vascular surgery textbooks.

Peter F. Lawrence, MD

Peter F. Lawrence, MD

Specialty: Vascular Surgery

Dr. Lawrence’s research interests are related to aneurysms, limb salvage, and venous disease. He has been studying: 1) the impact of an endograft program on the management of abdominal aortic aneurysms; 2) femoral aneurysm treatment modalities and long-term outcomes; 3) outcomes of endovascular versus open surgical management of infrainguinal arterial occlusive disease; and 4) quality of life after minimally invasive lower extremity varicose vein repair.

Thoracic Surgery

Robert B. Cameron, MD

Robert B. Cameron, MD

Specialty: Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Cameron is interested in minimally-invasive and robotic thoracic surgery including robotic surgery of the lung, mediastinum, esophagus, and thymus. He has specific expertise in the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, thymoma hyperhidrosis, lung volume reduction surgery, pectus excavatum, chest wall tumors (sarcomas), and thoracic outlet syndrome.

Jay M. Lee, MD

Jay M. Lee, MD

Specialty: Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Lee’s lab efforts focus on: 1) investigation of dysregulated inflammation and immunosuppression in lung cancer development to identify potential targets for prevention and treatment; 2) application of gene modified dendritic cell based vaccines to treat lung cancer; 3) translational application of new drugs and cell based immunotherapy in lung cancer trials; 4) and identification of inflammatory protein profiles as biomarkers of early lung cancer detection.