School of Medicine


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  • Leah Backhus

    Leah Backhus

    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.

  • Mark Francis Berry, MD

    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.

  • Irmina A. Elliott, MD

    Irmina A. Elliott, MD

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery

    BioDr. Elliott is a thoracic surgeon and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. She provides the complete spectrum of surgical care for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, mediastinal tumors, and more through the Stanford Health Care Thoracic Cancer Program. She specializes in minimally invasive, including robotic, approaches to thoracic surgery.

    Dr. Elliott received fellowship training from Stanford University. She completed her residency at UCLA Medical Center.

    Her research has received support from the National Institutes of Health. She has investigated cancer cell response to replication stress, outcomes in patients undergoing hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy (HITHOC) for mesothelioma, complications after esophageal surgery, lymph node involvement in patients with carcinoid tumors of the lung, advanced techniques in robotic surgery, and other topics.

    She has authored articles that have appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Annals of Thoracic Surgery, JAMA Surgery, and other peer-reviewed publications. She also has contributed to textbooks including the content on social disparities in lung cancer for the book Social Disparities in Thoracic Surgery.

    Dr. Elliott has made presentations to her peers at meetings of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Society of Surgical Oncology, Western Thoracic Surgical Association, and other organizations. Presentations focused on surgical treatment of patients with carcinoid tumor of the lung, improvement of mesothelioma patient survival, complications of esophageal surgery, novel targets for cancer treatment, and more.

  • Douglas Liou

    Douglas Liou

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery

    BioDr. Liou is a local product, having grown up in Salinas and graduated from U.C. Berkley with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. He received his M.D. from New York Medical College and completed his General Surgery training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. At Cedars, he was recognized for his excellence in clinical care and research with numerous awards and publications. Dr. Liou recently completed his 2 years of Thoracic Surgery training at Stanford, during which time he proved to be an outstanding physician and surgeon and a dedicated clinical researcher.

    Dr. Liou’s expertise includes all surgical diseases of the lung, mediastinum, esophagus, chest wall, and diaphragm, with particular interest in thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgical techniques. He has extensive experience with minimally invasive and open management of lung and esophageal cancer, mediastinal tumors, and benign esophageal disease. Dr. Liou's primary research focus has been on clinical outcomes in thoracic oncology and quality improvement.

    Dr. Liou practices out of Stanford Hospital main campus and Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton, where he is starting Stanford's Thoracic Surgery program in the East Bay.

  • Natalie Shaubie Lui

    Natalie Shaubie Lui

    Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)

    BioDr. Lui studied physics as an undergraduate at Harvard before attending medical school at Johns Hopkins. She completed a general surgery residency at the University of California San Francisco, which included two years of research in the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Laboratory and completion of a Master in Advanced Studies in clinical research. Dr. Lui went on to hold a fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, during which she participated in visiting rotations at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Mayo Clinic.

    Dr. Lui’s surgical practice consists of general thoracic surgery with a focus on thoracic oncology and robotic thoracic surgery. Her research interests include intraoperative molecular imaging for lung cancer localization, increasing rates of lung cancer screening, and using artificial intelligence to predict lung cancer recurrence. She is the recipient of the Donald B. Doty Educational Award in 2019 from the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, the Dwight C. McGoon Award for teaching from the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association in 2020, and the Carolyn E. Reed Traveling Fellowship from the Thoracic Surgery Foundation and Women in Thoracic Surgery in 2022.

  • Joseph Shrager

    Joseph Shrager

    Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsIn clinical research, Dr. Shrager studies outcomes in a variety of areas within Thoracic Surgery including: parenchyma-sparing operations and minimally invasive resections for lung cancer, transcervical thymectomy for myasthenia gravis, diaphragm plication, and surgical treatment of emphysema.

    Dr. Shrager's lab is focused on the impact of disease states upon the diaphragm. His group published the seminal paper (NEJM) describing diaphragm atrophy assoc'd with mechanical ventilation.