Shanda H. Blackmon, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., limits her practice to thoracic surgery, with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery and innovation. Dr. Blackmon completed college at The University of Texas in Austin where she worked as an artist painting for a year after college. She then completed a Master’s Degree, Medical School, and General Surgery training in Atlanta, Georgia by 2003. She then completed Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She was awarded the Clinical Instructorship position in thoracic surgical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and was then recruited to build a Division of Thoracic Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital. Dr. Blackmon was Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital for eight years, serving as the Director of The Methodist Multidisciplinary Thoracic Tumor Board and Director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program. She has now joined 5 other surgeons at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where she currently is Associate Professor and Consultant in the Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery. She currently is the Principal Investigator or a Co-Investigator at Mayo Clinic in several clinical trials addressing novel technology such as cryotherapy to the pleura for mesothelioma, lung ablation, and endoluminal technology. She treats mediastinal tumors, lung cancer, mesothelioma, esophageal cancer & diseases of the esophagus. She teaches regular courses on endoluminal techniques and VATS lobectomy. She also does robotic surgery and is a leader in minimally invasive chest wall and hybrid superior sulcus tumor resection. She has developed a specialized team to reconstruct the esophagus with jejunum, leads a multi-disciplinary lung ablation team, has patented a novel esophageal anastomotic buttressing device, and utilizes a hybrid room for complex lung navigation cases. She is also a pioneer in three dimensional printing and building prototypes for complex thoracic resections using unique imaging modalities. She has developed a computerized patient management system for following patient after esophageal reconstruction.
She is Board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. She is a member of AATS, WTS, STS, STSA, ACS, AWS, SAGES, and GTSC. She serves on the following boards or councils: TSFRE, STS, WTS, ATS, STSA, and the ACS Thoracic Advisory Council. Dr. Blackmon has published several professional papers and textbook chapters, edited many textbooks, and has made numerous scientific presentations on the topics of thoracic surgery, thoracic oncology, new technology, and minimally invasive surgery. Her book on Esophageal Disease and Intervention was just published by Springer. She is a current Deputy Editor for The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Dr Michael Borger completed his cardiac surgery training and a PhD in Clinical Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Toronto, Canada in 2001. After completing a one-year fellowship with Dr Fred Mohr at the Leipzig Heart Center in 2002, he took a position as Staff Cardiac Surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto from 2002 to 2006 under the mentorship of Dr Tirone David. In 2006, Dr Borger returned to Germany as a staff surgeon at the Leipzig Heart Center. He became Professor of Surgery at the University of Leipzig in 2008 and was appointed as Assistant Director of the Leipzig Heart Center in 2009. In 2014, Dr Borger became the Director of Aortic Surgery and the Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in New York. He was also appointed the George H. Humphries Professor of Surgery at CUMC. In 2017, Dr Borger returned to Leipzig as the Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Leipzig Heart Center.
Dr Borger’s clinical and research interests include aortic surgery, minimal invasive and percutaneous valve procedures, aortic and mitral valve repair surgery, and ischemic mitral regurgitation. He is an author on over 300 peer-reviewed publications and sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, and AORTA. He is also the Associate Editor for the Thoracic Vascular section of the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and an Associate Editor for the journal Structural Heart: The Journal of the Heart Team.
Dr Duke Cameron is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Medical School. He completed his general surgery training at Yale-New Haven Hospital and his cardiothoracic fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. After his training, he remained on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, and rose to the rank of Professor and Cardiac Surgeon-in-Charge, as well as the Director of the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Center for Aortic Diseases. He joined the staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in 2017, where he now focuses on surgery for aortic and adult congenital heart disease. He has a longstanding interest on aortic surgery for Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome and other connective tissue disorders. He has edited several textbooks in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery and authored over 190 peer reviewed papers. He is president-elect of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
Dr Chiu has performed more than 5000 cardiac operations, including over 3000 CABG, more than 1500 valve surgeries, and 53 heart transplants. The core competencies of his team at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital (FEMH) are in off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB) and minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS). In August 2010, Dr Chiu and his team initiated the Da Vinci cardiac surgery procedures and performed 52 such operations in past months. FEMH is considered a leader in endoscopic vessel harvest (EVH) procedures [more than 2100 cases of EVH experience, including 130 endoscopic radial artery harvests] and is also a premier training center in Asia. Several foreign cardiac surgeons have been to FEMH for EVH and MICS training. More than 85% of the isolated CABG procedures he performed were OPCAB. More than 85% of valve procedures at FEMH are performed via the sternum-sparing approach (MICS). Dr Chiu has been invited for oral presentations and live demonstrations of his OPCAB and sternum-sparing MICS techniques in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia and North Korea. Dr Chiu is also one of the principal investigators of the Einstein Study and the Hokusai Study. He has been invited to present the novel oral anticoagulant, factor Xa inhibitor in several important international symposiums.
Andrew Choong is a consultant vascular, endovascular and aortic surgeon at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.
He graduated from the Imperial College School of Medicine and underwent higher surgical training on the North-West Thames rotation of the London Deanery. He completed his training as the international fellow at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland, Australia and senior registrar at the Imperial Vascular Unit at St Mary’s Hospital, London. During this time, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and was awarded his Certificate of Completion of Training in the UK.
He is the 2012 recipient of the Royal College of Surgeons of England HJ Windsor prize and in 2014, by examination, was awarded the Fellowship of the European Board of Vascular Surgery with Honours, for the highest overall examination performance of all candidates.
His clinical area of expertise is complex aortic surgery, both open, hybrid and endovascular. His research interests are broad but he is particularly interested in the application of computational flow dynamics and 3D printing on the understanding of complex aortic pathologies and improving the outcomes in complex aortic surgery.
An active clinical researcher and supervisor, Andrew has published over 80 publications (peer reviewed journals, book chapters and invited articles) and over 100 presentations at international conferences and is core faculty for the National University Health System Research Residency Programme.
Dr Taweesak Chotivatanapong is now serving as a PCU Director of Bangkok Heart Center, BDMS hospital network in Bangkok. He also serves as The Chairman of International Academic Institute Program of Central Chest Institute of Thailand. After received his training for CVT surgery in Thailand, he received further training in Australia and USA. He currently is The President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons of Thailand. Most of his research focused on Mitral Valve Repair, Ross operation for infective AV and especially in Rheumatic Valve Repair.
Dr Dillon is the Head of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the National Heart Institute, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He obtained his MD from National University of Malaysia, the FRCS from Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and completed the advanced fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery from the Mayo Clinic, USA. He has the largest experience in the country for several cardiothoracic procedures including minimally invasive mitral valve and aortic valve surgery, Maze procedure, sutureless aortic valve replacement, transcatheter aortic valve implantation, endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy and minimally invasive repair for pectus excavatum.
Nurturing an interest in innovation, he pioneered several therapies in the Asia Pacific region including endoscopic ablation for atrial fibrillation, mitral valve repair with biodegradable annuloplasty, awake coronary artery bypass grafting and sutureless Perceval AVR. In 2014, he performed the First-in-man minimally invasive implant of the VenTouch device for functional mitral regurgitation.
He has several publications for important journals like Journal of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery, European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Annals of Thoracic Surgery. He is also an invited reviewer for the JTCVS and Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery. In 2015, he was an invited faculty to the Birmingham Review Course in Cardiothoracic Surgery in the United Kingdom. He was also a panellist on the 1st International Round Table webinar on “Mitral Valve Repair in Rheumatic Heart Disease” in 2015. He is a founding member and chairman of the Asia Pacific Valve Repair Group. He currently serves a trainer-proctor to several medical companies training many cardiac surgeons in valve repair, minimally invasive surgery, suture less valve and Maze surgery.
Dr Mohamed Ezani is a senior consultant cardiothoracic and transplant surgeon at the National Heart Institute (IJN), Kuala Lumpur. He is also the Head of IJN Private Healthcare Division. He was formerly the Clinical Director of Thoracic Transplantation and Mechanical Heart Devices and department Head of Cardio – thoracic surgery at the same Institute.
He graduated from University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and obtained his FRCS from Glasgow. He was subsequently trained at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge and Heart and Diabetes Center, Bad Oyenhausen.
Dr Ezani was the pioneering team member of Malaysia’s heart transplant team, he performed Malaysia’s first single lung, double lung transplant and heart-lung transplant. He was responsible for setting up the LVAD in IJN and became a regional lead surgeon and proctor in LVAD. He has personally performed almost all the transplant and LVAD surgery in the country.
His other interest includes minimally invasive CABG, Valve and lung resections and one of the largest series of MIS-CABG in the country.
Currently he is actively involved in hospital management and leads the many hospital projects especially health economics within IJN. He is also one of the trainers for the cardiothoracic training program in Malaysia.
He was formerly the President of ATCSA and MATCVS (Malaysian Association of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery). In recognition to his services, Dr Ezani had received awards from the HRH King of Malaysia and HRH Sultan of Perak.
Sean C. Grondin, M.D., M.P.H., is Professor and Head, Department of Surgery, University of Calgary. In 1998, Dr Grondin completed his thoracic surgery residency at the University of Toronto. He subsequently completed a thoracic oncology fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health. From 1999 to 2000, Dr Grondin finished a second fellowship in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr Grondin’s particular areas of interest include all aspects of thoracic oncology (lung and esophageal cancer, mediastinal malignancies, and mesothelioma). Dr Grondin is also interested in surgical workforce planning and the development of leadership skills for trainees.
Teresa M. Kieser, MD, PhD is a Consultant Cardiothoracic and Vascular (CVT) Surgeon, Associate Professor at Foothills Medical Centre at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, University of Calgary. She was board certified in General Surgery in Canada and USA in 1985 and in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in 1986 in Canada.
Immediately upon completion of residency she started the Cardiac Surgery Program at Foothills Medical Centre, University of Calgary in Jan 1988 with performance of the first heart surgery on September 12, 1988. Her areas of interest include total arterial revascularization, (predominantly with bilateral mammary arteries), skeletonization with harmonic technology, intraoperative assessment of graft patency (TTFM and ECUS) and off-pump CABG.
She receives international invitations to speak as well as to operate – (Kazakhstan, Astana 2010 and Almaty 2013 and Varna, Bulgaria 2013) to demonstrate and teach BIMA grafting. She defended her PhD thesis, ‘Building a Better Bypass with Emphasis on Bilateral Internal Mammary Grafting’, on October 8 2015 at Erasmus University, Rotterdam under Promotor Prof. Dr. A.P. Kappetein. She teaches for the EACTS Academy in Windsor England (Level 1 Skills Program) and as a Level 4 instructor for visiting European delegates to the University of Calgary.
Associate Professor Theo Kofidis is Head of Adult Cardiac Surgery at the Singapore National University Hospital, Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, an expert minimally invasive heart surgeon and avid researcher. He is Chairman of I.R.I.S. (Initiative for Research and Innovation in Surgery), has introduced various new technologies, and launched new types of less invasive surgery. He has trained in some of the world’s leading institutions (Rochester, NY/Texas Heart, Houston/Hannover Germany, Stanford, CA, USA). He is decorated with various international awards and carries various offices and commitments internationally and was recently elected member of the AATS. He has lectured for the AMA, the FDA, the Bill Gates Research Institute and more. As an academic teacher, proctor and Consultant for a number of companies in the field-related industry, he is holding events and workshops in various countries around the world. Professor Theo Kofidis lives in Singapore with his wife Persephone and daughter Danai, loves to fly airplanes, photograph, work out and read.
Emmanuel Lansac is a valve specialist in cardiac surgery, in the Department of Cardiac Pathology of the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, Paris. He did his surgical training in Paris Hospital and learned mitral valve repair with Professor A Carpentier and Professor C Acar. In 2000, he did his PhD in dynamic anatomy of the aortic valve complex with Professor Duran at The International Heart Institute of Montana Foundation, USA. Since then he developed a standardized and physiological approach to aortic valve repair for aortic root aneurysms and/or isolated aortic insufficiency, based on a new expansible aortic ring annuloplasty. Emmanuel Lansac is the main investigator of the prospective multicentric CAVIAAR trial (Conservative Aortic Valve surgery for aortic Insufficiency and Aneurysm of the Aortic Root) comparing this approach with the mechanical Bentall procedure. As chairman of the aortic valve repair group from the Heart Valve Society, he gathered a large international consortium of physicians and scientists involved in dystrophic aortic insufficiency and root aneurysm management who initiated the international AVIATOR registry. Their goal is to combine forces and share experience to address key epidemiological issues and raise better medical evidence for surgical indications as well as the place of repair versus replacement in aortic valve surgery. He has authored or co-authored over 50 publications and organises an annual aortic valve repair master class.