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Ara A. Vaporciyan, M.D., F.A.C.S., MHPE

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Chairman, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Ara Vaporciyan is a tenured Professor of Surgery and Deputy Chair of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas.  Dr. Vaporciyan began his training in 1982 at the University of Michigan where he obtained an honors degree in cellular and molecular biology then moved to medical school at the same institution. In 1989 he arrived in Houston and began his general surgery residency at The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center. Two of the next 7 years were spent back at The University of Michigan in a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Pathology where he studied inflammatory mediators of lung injury. After completing his general surgery training in 1996 he began a 2 year fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery with an emphasis in general thoracic surgical oncology at U. T. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He joined the faculty at M. D. Anderson in 1998 and has risen through the ranks to full professor.

Research Interests

Dr. Vaporciyan has maintained an active role in research throughout his tenure at M. D. Anderson. Initially involved in laboratory research Dr. Vaporciyan continued his earlier work at the Department of Pathology studying inflammatory mediators. Collaborating with scientists from anesthesiology, cardiology, pulmonology and epidemiology resulted in a number of publications examining, among other things, the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms and other genetic determinants of inflammatory mediated complications after thoracic surgery. He also developed or led a number of internal and external developed clinical trials using inflammatory modulators such as aprotinin, statins, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Mid-way through his career Dr. Vaporciyan became the program director for the newly established ACGME approved cardiothoracic training program at M. D. Anderson. This new assignment quickly grew in scope and then expanded into his research interests as well. In an effort to bring science to the field of education Dr. Vaporciyan has pursued a Master’s Degree in Health Professions Education through the University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Medical Education. His research interests now involve the role of simulation in education, faculty development, and the integration of novel online teaching techniques in cardiothoracic surgery. His efforts have resulted in the first online learning platform that currently is the national cardiothoracic surgical curriculum for all North American Trainees. Investigations into new novel teaching and assessments techniques form the bulk of his research interest although he is still actively involved in collaborative projects focused on lung cancer and pulmonary metastases.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Vaporciyan has maintained an active role in all areas of thoracic surgical oncology. He is actively involved in the treatment of all malignancies and uses both open techniques and minimally invasive techniques for lung resection equally. While he has clinical activity in all diseases he has developed a specialized practice in the treatment of pulmonary metastases, complex pediatric thoracic malignancies, and in tumors involving cardiovascular structures. This latter area contributes nearly a third of Dr. Vaporciyan’s practice. Collaborating closely with surgeons in essentially all other surgical disciplines Dr. Vaporciyan has assisted with resections of tumors involving all vascular structures in the chest, abdomen, and extremities. For example, in combination with Dr Wood in Urology, Dr Vaporciyan has the world’s largest experience of inferior vena cava renal cell carcinoma tumor thrombi resections. Similarly, Dr. Vaporciyan spearheaded the incorporation of cardiopulmonary bypass in the resection of complex malignancies as well as the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the treatment of post-operative respiratory failure.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Box 1489
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: FCT19.6008
Phone: (713) 745-4533
Fax: (713) 794-4901

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1989 University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, MD, Medicine
1985 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, BS, Honors College, Cellular & Molecular Biology

Postgraduate Training

2006-2010 Masters of Health Professions Education, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
7/1996-6/1998 Resident, Cardiothoracic Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center/Texas Heart Institute, Houston
7/1993-6/1996 Resident, General Surgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston
7/1991-6/1993 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
7/1989-6/1991 Intern and Resident, General Surgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston

Board Certifications

6/1999 Diplomat, American Board of Thoracic Surgery
6/1997 Diplomat, American Board of Surgery


Academic Appointments

Deputy Chair, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2/2009-3/2015

Administrative Appointments/Responsibilities

Director, Clinical Education & Training, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 1/2003-present
Director, Cardiac & Vascular Surgical Oncology Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 1/2002-present

Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Director, American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Chicago, IL, 4/2014-present
Executive Committee Member, General Thoracic Surgical Club, Rochester, MN, 6/2013-present
Secretary and Treasurer, Thoracic Surgery Directors Association, Chicago, IL, 1/2012-1/2018
Member, ACGME Thoracic Surgery Milestone Group, Chicago, IL, 2011-present
Member, American College of Surgeons Patient Education Committee, Chicago, IL, 2010-present
Chair, Joint Council for Thoracic Surgical Education: Sub-Committee on Faculty Development, Chicago, IL, 1/2009-present
Executive Council Member, Joint Council of Thoracic Surgical Education, Chicago, IL, 1/2009-present
Workforce Chair, Council on Education and Member Services Operating Board, Houston, TX, 1/2009-2017
Member, Workforce on Clinical Education, Houston, TX, 1/2009-2017

Institutional Committee Activities

Member, Procurement of Tissue - IRB Ad Hoc Committee, 12/2013-present
Member, CME Advisory Committee, 10/2008-present
Member, Divisional Promotion/Tenure Committee, 1/2004-present
Reviewer, Institutional Review Board, 3/2002-3/2004

Honors and Awards

2013 Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Texas
2009-present Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors
2006 The Chief Resident Teaching Award, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Department of Surgery
2005 Honorary Speaker, Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital and Beijing Tuberculosis & Tumor Research Institute
2004 Special Teaching Award, Selected by the Surgical Oncology Fellows, Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2003 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, Baylor College of Medicine Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
2002 The Chief Resident Teaching Award, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Department of Surgery
1996 Outstanding Surgical Resident Award, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Professional Memberships

American Association for Thoracic Surgery
Member, 2006-present
American College of Surgeons
Fellow, 2003-present
Cooley Hands
Member, 1996-present
Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society
Member, 1996-present
General Thoracic Surgical Club
Member, 2005-present
Harris County Medical Society and Texas Medical Association
Member, 2006-present
International Association of Lung Cancer
Member, 1999-present
Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Member, 2003-present
Society of University Surgeons
Member, 2004-present
Southern Thoracic Surgical Association
Member, 2001-present
Thoracic Surgery Directors Association, Chicago, IL
Member, 1/2003-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Abel EJ, Carrasco A, Karam J, Tamboli P, Delacroix S, Vaporciyan AA, Wood CG. Positive vascular wall margins have minimal impact on cancer outcomes in non-metastatic RCC patients with tumor thrombus. BJU Int 114(5):667-73, 11/2014. e-Pub 2/2014. PMID: 24128265.
2. Ajani JA, Xiao L, Roth JA, Hofstetter WL, Walsh G, Komaki R, Liao Z, Rice DC, Vaporciyan AA, Maru DM, Lee JH, Bhutani MS, Eid A, Yao JC, Phan AP, Halpin A, Suzuki A, Taketa T, Thall PF, Swisher SG. A phase II randomized trial of induction chemotherapy versus no induction chemotherapy followed by preoperative chemoradiation in patients with esophageal cancer. Ann Oncol 24(11):2844-9, 11/2013. e-Pub 8/2013. PMID: 23975663.
3. Vaporciyan AA, Yang SC, Baker CJ, Fann JI, Verrier ED. Cardiothoracic surgery residency training: Past, present, and future. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 146(4):759-67, 10/2013. e-Pub 7/2013. PMID: 23870155.
4. Cata JP, Chukka V, Wang H, Feng L, Gottumukkala V, Martinez F, Vaporciyan AA. Perioperative blood transfusions and survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: a retrospective study. BMC Anesthesiol 13(1):42, 2013. e-Pub 11/2013. PMCID: PMC3832885.
5. Blackmon SH, Stephens EH, Correa AM, Hofstetter W, Kim MP, Mehran RJ, Rice DC, Roth JA, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Vaporciyan AA. Predictors of recurrent pulmonary metastases and survival after pulmonary metastasectomy for colorectal cancer. Ann Thorac Surg 94(6):1802-9, 12/2012. e-Pub 10/2012. PMID: 23063195.
6. Kim JY, Hildebrandt MA, Pu X, Ye Y, Correa AM, Vaporciyan AA, Wu X, Roth JA. Variations in the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway predict pulmonary complications. Ann Thorac Surg 94(4):1079-84; discussion 1084-5, 10/2012. e-Pub 7/2012. PMCID: PMC3466075.
7. Amini A, Correa AM, Komaki R, Chang JY, Tsao AS, Roth JA, Swisher SG, Rice DC, Vaporciyan AA, Lin SH. The role of consolidation therapy for stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with persistent N2 disease after induction chemotherapy. Ann Thorac Surg 94(3):914-20, 9/2012. e-Pub 7/2012. PMID: 22819472.
8. Vaporciyan AA. Who will determine the educational needs of our trainees? J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 144(3):532-3, 9/2012. e-Pub 6/2012. PMID: 22749625.
9. Wagner KW, Ye Y, Lin J, Vaporciyan AA, Roth JA, Wu X. Genetic variations in epigenetic genes are predictors of recurrence in stage I or II non-small cell lung cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res 18(2):585-92, 1/2012. PMID: 22252258.
10. Hemmati SH, Correa AM, Walsh GL, Swisher SG, Roth JA, Rice DC, Mehran RJ, Vaporciyan AA. The prognostic factors of chest wall metastasis resection. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 40(2):328-33, 8/2011. e-Pub 4/2011. PMID: 21466960.
11. Bakaeen FG, Stephens EH, Chu D, Holman WL, Vaporciyan AA, Merrill WH, Grover FL. Perceptions regarding cardiothoracic surgical training at Veterans Affairs hospitals. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 141(5):1107-13, 5/2011. e-Pub 3/2011. PMID: 21397273.
12. Stephens EH, Blackmon SH, Correa AM, Roth JA, Rice DC, Hofstetter W, Benjamin R, Mehran R, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Vaporciyan AA. Progression after chemotherapy is a novel predictor of poor outcomes after pulmonary metastasectomy in sarcoma patients. J Am Coll Surg 212(5):821-6, 5/2011. e-Pub 3/2011. PMID: 21435923.
13. Vaporciyan AA, Reed CE, Erikson C, Dill MJ, Carpenter AJ, Guleserian KJ, Merrill W. Factors affecting interest in cardiothoracic surgery: Survey of North American general surgery residents. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 137(5):1054-62, 5/2009. PMID: 19379966.
14. Yendamuri S, Vaporciyan AA, Zaidi T, Feng L, Fernandez R, Bekele NB, Hofstetter WL, Jiang F, Mehran RJ, Rice DC, Spitz MR, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Roth JA, Katz RL. 3p22.1 and 10q22.3 deletions detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH): a potential new tool for early detection of non-small cell lung Cancer (NSCLC). J Thorac Oncol 3(9):979-84, 9/2008. PMID: 18758299.
15. Katz RL, Zaidi TM, Fernandez RL, Zhang J, He W, Acosta C, Daniely M, Madi L, Vargas MA, Dong Q, Jiang XG, Caraway NP, Vaporciyan AA, Roth JA, Spitz MR. Automated detection of genetic abnormalities combined with cytology in sputum is a sensitive predictor of lung cancer. Mod Pathol 21(8):950-60, 5/2008. PMID: 18500269.
16. Blackmon SH, Correa AM, Wynn B, Hofstetter WL, Martin LW, Mehran RJ, Rice DC, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Roth JA, Vaporciyan AA. Propensity-Matched Analysis of Three Techniques for Intrathoracic Esophagogastric Anastomosis. Ann Thorac Surg 83(5):1805-1813, 2007. PMID: 17462404.
17. Hofstetter W, Correa AM, Bekele N, Ajani JA, Phan A, Komaki RR, Liao Z, Maru D, Wu TT, Mehran RJ, Rice DC, Roth JA, Vaporciyan AA, Walsh GL, Francis A, Blackmon S, Swisher SG. Proposed modification of nodal status in AJCC Esophageal Cancer Staging System. Ann Thorac Surg 84(2):365-375, 2007. PMID: 17643602.
18. Etzel CJ, Lu M, Merriman K, Liu M, Vaporciyan AA, Spitz MR. An epidemiologic study of early onset lung cancer. Lung Cancer 52(2):129-34, 5/2006. PMID: 16564601.
19. Vaporciyan AA, Correa AM, Rice DC, Roth JA, Smythe WR, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Putnam JB. Risk factors associated with atrial fibrillation after noncardiac thoracic surgery: Analysis of 2588 patients. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 127(3):779-86, Nov-Dec, 3/2004. PMID: 15001907.
20. Vaporciyan AA, Rice D, Correa AM, Walsh G, Putnam JB, Swisher S, Smythe R, Roth J. Resection of advanced thoracic malignancies requiring cardiopulmonary bypass. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 22(1):47-52, 7/2002. PMID: 12103372.
21. Vaporciyan AA, Merriman KW, Ece F, Roth JA, Smythe WR, Swisher SG, Walsh GL, Nesbitt JC, Putnam JB Jr. Incidence of major pulmonary morbidity after pneumonectomy: Association with timing of smoking cessation. Ann Thorac Surg 73:420-5; discussion 425-6, 2/2002. PMID: 11845853.

Invited Articles

1. Kassis E, Vaporciyan AA. Defining N2 disease in non-small cell lung cancer. Thoracic Surgery Clinics 18(4):333-337, 11/2008.
2. Vaporciyan AA. Getting Cancer information from your doctor. CancerWise, 2007.


1. Vaporciyan AA. Isolated lung perfusion, is it time to deal with the 800 pound gorilla? J Surg Oncol 96(7):543-544, 2007. PMID: 17999390.

Book Chapters

1. Kim M, Vaporciyan AA. Pulmonary Resecton. In: ACS Surgery Principles and Practice, 7. Ed(s) Ashley S, Cance W, Chen H, Jurkovich G, Napolitano L, Pemberton J, Riall T, Swanson S, Valentine J. D. C. Becker Inc., 2011.
2. Steliga M, Patel A, Vaporciyan AA,. Management of Stage II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Pancoast Tumor. In: Principles and Practice, 4th. Ed(s) Pass HI, Carbone, DP, Minna JD, Johnson DH, Scagliotti GV, Turrisi AT. Lippincott-Williams-Wilkins: USA, 473-489, 2010.
3. Steliga MA, Vaporciyan AA. Surgical Management of Pulmonary Metastases from Osteosarcoma in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients. In: Pediatric and Adolescent Osteosarcoma. Springer: USA, 185-201, 2009.
4. Vaporciyan AA. ACS Surgery: Pulmonary Resection. In: ACS Surgery: Principles and Practice, 6. Ed(s) Souba, W. WebMD: New York, NY, 2007.
5. Vaporciyan AA. Lung Cancer. In: Case Files: General Surgery. McGraw-Hill/Lange Medical Books, In press, 2007.
6. Blackmon SH, Vaporicyan AA. Special Situations: Metastasis (Lung Mets). In: Advanced Therapy in Surgical Oncology. Ed(s) Pollock RE, Curley SA, Ross MI, Perrier NE. BC Decker: USA, 720-729, 2007.
7. Herrera LJ, Vaporciyan AA. Surgical Treatment of Squamous Cancer of the Esophagus. In: Advanced Therapy in Surgical Oncology. Ed(s) Pollock RE, Curley SA, Ross MI, Perrier NE. BC Decker: USA, 16-25, 2007.

Last updated: 11/13/2015