School of Medicine
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Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)
BioLeah Backhus trained in general surgery at the University of Southern California and cardiothoracic surgery at the University of California Los Angeles. She practices at Stanford Hospital and is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the VA Palo Alto. Her surgical practice consists of general thoracic surgery with special emphasis on thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgical techniques. She is also Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgery Clinical Research Program, and has grant funding through the Veterans Affairs Administration and NIH. Her current research interests are in imaging surveillance following treatment for lung cancer and cancer survivorship. She is a member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable of the American Cancer Society serving as Chair of the Task Group on Lung Cancer in Women. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. As an educator, Dr. Backhus is the Associate Program Director for the Thoracic Track Residency and is the Chair of the ACGME Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery which is the accrediting body for all cardiothoracic surgery training programs in the US.
Clinical Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery
BioDr. Edward Bender specializes in the treatment of adult cardiac abnormalities, including ischemic heart disease, structural and valvular disease, and arrhythmias. Additionally, he has an interest and expertise in General Thoracic and Vascular surgery. Dr. Bender currently works with organizations within the medical community to develop software to aid in the teaching and practice of medicine.
Mark Francis Berry, MD
Mylavarapu Rogers Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery
BioDr. Berry joined the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Stanford in August 2014. He came to Stanford from Duke University, where he had most recently served as Associate Professor. He received his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine after receiving bachelors and masters degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his residency in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center after performing a residency in General Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. His Cardiothoracic Surgical training included a year dedicated to Minimally Invasive General Thoracic Surgery, a period that also included an American Association for Thoracic Surgery sponsored Traveling Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Berry practices all aspects of thoracic surgery, including procedures for benign and malignant conditions of the lung, esophagus, and mediastinum. He has a particular interest in minimally invasive techniques, and has extensive experience in treating thoracic surgical conditions using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS), laparoscopic, robotic, endoscopic, and bronchoscopic approaches. He serves as the co-Director of the Stanford Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Center (SMITS), and has both directed and taught in several minimally invasive thoracic surgery courses.
Dr. Berry also has a Masters of Health Sciences in Clinical Research from Duke University. His clinical research activities mirror his clinical interests and activities in optimizing short-term and long-term outcomes of patients with thoracic surgical conditions. He has more than sixty peer-reviewed publications, most of which are related to both the use of minimally invasive thoracic surgical techniques as well as evaluating outcomes after treatment of thoracic malignancies. His clinical practice and his research both focus on choosing the most appropriate treatment and approach for patients based on the individual characteristics of the patient and their disease process.
Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Adult Cardiac Surgery)
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsNew technologies in the area of catheters, clamps, and, visualization devices for aid in cardiac surgery; distribution of, cardioplegia, both anterograde and retrograde as determined by, techniques in technetium pyro-phosphate scans; glucose insulin, potassium as an adjunct in cardiac surgery.
Elan Chanel Burton, MD, MHA
Clinical Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery
BioDr. Burton is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon. She is also a clinical assistant professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
She offers her patients exceptional expertise in advanced cardiothoracic surgical techniques. For each patient, she develops a customized, comprehensive, and compassionate care plan.
Dr. Burton has completed specialized training in robotic technique for minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB). This procedure enables surgical access to the heart with a smaller incision than other coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures.
In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Burton has conducted research on health disparities in cardiovascular disease, diversity in radiology and molecular imaging, and other topics. She received an innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation for her work on an app for emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Burton has made presentations to her peers as a guest lecturer on subjects including coronary artery disease, primary cardiac tumors, and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. In addition, she has made presentations to the American Heart Association, International Conference on Clinical Ethics and Consultation, and other organizations.
Dr. Burton has published articles on advanced surgical techniques as well as issues such as balancing work and family during the COVID-19 pandemic plus health disparities and social determinants of health. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Cardiac Surgery, JTCVS Techniques, International Social Work, and elsewhere.
Dr. Burton has earned honors including the Coleman Connolly Award in Thoracic Surgery, which recognizes the exemplary efforts of thoracic surgery residents. She also won the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons Resident Achievement Award and the Dr. Albert G. Marrangoni Research Award.
She serves on the Stanford University School of Medicine Taskforce for the Mitigation of the Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Medicine. She is also on the School of Medicine’s Women Faculty Network Steering Committee.
She is a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, Lillehei Surgical Society, Women in Thoracic Surgery, Western Thoracic Surgical Association, American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety, Women Health Care Executives, Association of Women Surgeons, Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management.
She has volunteered her time and expertise as a high school medical club faculty mentor, as an elementary school community health nutrition interventionist, and with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.
(Robert) Jeenchen Chen
Clinical Instructor, Cardiothoracic Surgery
Bio"How to be a good surgeon? I, a medical student, asked the first question among the quiet audience full of residents and attending surgeons, after the talk by Dr. Seymour Schwartz, the editor and the co-writer of the milestone textbook of surgery, who visited my university hospital in Taiwan for the 100th anniversary in 1995. That is me, like a voyager who is brave to explore the uncertainty and face challenges. Years later I sailed out of the comfort zones where most of my peers stay, learning biostatistics, practicing cardiothoracic surgery, visiting Harvard, Emory, Indiana, and Ohio State Universities, seeking the solutions for the unmet needs.
I played rugby No. 2 hooker in our 7-year medical school for 4 years, regardless wet mud or hot sunshine, fearing no rival and working as a team with the best efforts to touch down. On the field, there were glory and tears, winners and losers, but also sportsmanship. I learned to remain humble when winning and keep abreast when losing, and also respect the rivals and learn from them. Rugby taught me how to deal with failures and frustrations. In 1996, I was not selected to do my clinical clerkship in USA--so heartbroken. In 2000, I failed my NRMP in USA and it hit me so hard. In 2004, I was not promoted to an attending surgeon after my residency training in my home university hospital. Later there were numerous rejections of my manuscripts submitted to journals. In my practice of cardiovascular surgery in the years that followed, I experienced my cases of complication and surgical mortality. Each time I faced the problems, stood back up, learned the lesson, and got better. In my journeys, I do not wait for the sunshine but dance in the storm.
In 2004, I joined the team Dr. Jeng Wei, the pioneering surgeon who was trained in Columbia University in New York, and performed the first successful heart transplantation in Taiwan in 1988. We scrubbed in lots of cases together and he mentored me real cardiac surgery and transplant. In 2006, I met Dr. John Puskas in a conference and then he brought me to Emory University in Atlanta where my 1-year clinical fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery initiated my professional career path in USA. Later I practiced in Taiwan and most of my cases were ECMO and TEVAR. In 2016, Dr. I-Wen Wang hired me in Indiana University Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis as a clinical fellow. I stepped into the field of thoracic transplant, mechanical circulatory supports, and thoracic organ procurement. Then my practice re-started in Taiwan with most of my cases being open aortic surgery for type-A aortic dissection, mitral valve replacement, and ECMO. But I still had strong interest in thoracic transplant so I did another clinical fellowship in thoracic transplant in Ohio State University in Columbus in 2020, mentored by Dr. Bryan Whitson. With most of my thoracic procurements were done under supervision, my first independent heart procurement was done in Olathe, Kansas, with SherpaPak as a contract surgeon, for Dr. Dan Meyer in Baylor Dallas in 2021. That case was very successful. Heartfeltly Dr. Joseph Woo hired me as a procurement surgeon for Stanford University near the end of 2021. Motivated and enthusiastic, I am continuing my adventure into thoracic transplant to chart the unknown territories.
Last month I brought my 11-year-old son and my wife to visit the CERN (visit.cern) in Geneva, Switzerland, and also Albert Einstein's apartment and museum in Bern. We were all thrilled by the frontiers of science. I believe the solutions to end-stage organ failure can go beyond transplant into stem cells, organ re-generation from somatic cells, artificial organ engineering, and also artificial intelligence. In addition to innovative clinical research, I am also very zealous of teaching young doctors, to pass the torch to the future to shine even brighter.