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 Associate 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
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy expertise is to interpret clinical data by biostatistics. My pending research are below:
AI Prediction Model of Profound Cardiogenic Shock status post VA-ECMO
Surgical outcomes of pericardiectomy for constrictive pericarditis by national and hospital databases
The effect of hybrid operation on the outcomes of acute type-A aortic dissection by hospital data
Calcium Physiology of Coronary Artery Smooth Muscle — the First Evidence from Human Transplant Cardiectomy (Presented at ISHLT 2017)
Maria Elizabeth Currie, MD, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery
BioDr. Currie is a board-certified, fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeon. She is also a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. With subspecialty training in heart failure, Dr. Currie treats all forms of cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, and valvular heart disease. She performs heart transplant, lung transplant, and combined heart-lung transplant procedures as part of a multidisciplinary team. She excels at valve surgery and the implantation of mechanical circulatory support systems.
Dr. Currie welcomes referrals from cardiologists and primary care physicians as early as possible when cardiovascular disease is suspected. Understanding that early intervention can prevent later complications, she invites communication about screening, diagnostics, and treatment strategies.
For each patient, Dr. Currie’s goal is to achieve the best possible outcome using the most advanced minimally invasive cardiac care techniques and technology available. Combined with technical expertise and a focus on excellent clinical outcomes, Dr. Currie delivers empathetic, thoughtful patient care. She ensures that patients are well informed about what they can expect both before and after their surgical procedure.
Dr. Currie is passionate about improving the safety of cardiac surgery. Her research includes translational studies on new ways to visualize anatomic structures that are difficult to see during minimally invasive surgery. One published study investigated the use of augmented reality (AR) guided by transesophageal echocardiography in minimally invasive mitral valve repair. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery, Transplant Immunology, and other peer reviewed publications.
Dr. Currie’s interest in technological advances is rooted in her commitment to the evolution of technology and technique in the fast-changing, relatively young field of cardiac surgery. Also driving her interest is her PhD background in biomedical engineering. She has made presentations on the use of AR systems, 3D visualization technology, and robotics-assisted surgical procedures at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery Annual Meeting, International Society for Minimally Invasive Surgery Annual Scientific Meeting, and other conferences.
Dr. Currie has won numerous awards for her research achievements and scholarship. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. She is also a member of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery, Women in Thoracic Surgery, and the Association of Women Surgeons. With its long legacy of leadership in cardiac surgery and research, Dr. Currie feels Stanford Health Care enables her to pursue her research interests and offers her patients access to the latest innovations, along with expertise across specialties including engineering and statistics.