Skip to main content
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Surgery
Skip to main content

Thoracic Surgery

The Division of Thoracic Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is among the top programs in the country for clinical care, research and education. We offer the most advanced surgical treatments across the entire spectrum of thoracic diseases based on cutting-edge medical research. We constantly strive for excellence within all aspects of academic thoracic surgery and work to develop innovative solutions for all of our patients, with both simple but also the most complex medical conditions.

 

We aim to provide unparalleled personalized care to our patients based on clinical innovation, scientific advancements and state-of-the art technology.”

Ankit Bharat, MBBS, Chief

What We Do

 Education

We offer both a traditional track cardiothoracic surgery fellowship following completion of general surgery residency as well as an integrated six-year cardiothoracic surgery residency with direct admission following completion of medical school. In addition, we offer an advanced thoracic surgery fellowship focused on developing surgical and clinical skills in lung transplantation and mechanical life support.

 Research

The Division of Thoracic Surgery is NIH-funded for research in thoracic oncology, lung transplantation and transplant and tumor immunology. Our research has been directly translated into clinical care to fundamentally improve our patient outcomes.

Our research efforts include both basic science investigation as well as health services research. In the basic science arena, we use highly sophisticated tools such as single cell transcriptomics, spatial proteomics, two photon imaging, animal solid organ transplant and humanized mouse models to find solutions to clinically relevant problems. The health services research is directed toward the improvement of surgical outcomes in patients undergoing cancer surgery, lung transplantation, and treatment with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

In addition, our clinical research team has developed a clinical trial portfolio that includes both device and drug testing. Our multidisciplinary research team comprises of NIH-funded investigators from different departments and schools within Northwestern University as well as academic institutions across the country. We are also highly committed to the research training of our housestaff and provide funding for interested candidates.

 Patient Care

Our patients can expect to be treated as though they were a member of our family, with the utmost attention to detail and compassion. Patients will receive the best care possible for their medical condition from every member of our team. Our outcomes are among the best in the nation, and we take great pride in formulating individualized care plans for each patient based upon their specific condition and needs, rather than simply following a generic "cookie-cutter' approach. Additionally, we are committed to exploring all possible care options and creating innovative solutions to seemingly untreatable thoracic diseases.

Meet Our Team

Ankit Bharat

Associate Professor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery) and Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care)

Dr Bharat is board certified in general surgery and thoracic surgery. His clinical interests include malignant and benign chest and esophageal diseases. Dr Bharat's research is focused on lung preservation, transplant immunology and airway biology, achieved through collaboration with the Kovler Comprehensive Transplant Center and the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Samuel S Kim

Associate Professor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery) and Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care)

Dr. Kim is a general thoracic surgeon with experience in all aspects of general thoracic surgery with national level expertise on minimally invasive thoracic surgery including the robotic lobectomy/segmetectomy, robotic esophagectomy, robotic thymectomy, robot assisted operations for benign esophageal diseases, and trachea and airway surgeries.

He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with honors in Biophysics and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1997 and then received his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2002. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in 2009 and residency in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2012. Additionally, Dr. Kim completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Esophageal Surgery at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center and fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mayo Clinic in 2010. Dr. Kim began his career on the faculty at Univeristy of Arizona in 2011 where he served as the Section Chief of Thoracic Surgery and was recruited to Northwestern in 2019 as the Director of Robotic Thoracic Surgery.

David D Odell

Associate Professor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)

Dr. Odell is a fellowship-trained general thoracic surgeon. His clinical practice is focused on thoracic oncology, dovetailing with his research interest in healthcare systems and quality improvement in cancer care. Dr. Odell has developed expertise in thoracic oncology with over 20 years of training and experience. He completed medical training at the University of Washington School of Medicine and then went on to an academic residency in general surgery at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Following general surgery training, He enrolled in the Clinical Investigator Training Program at Harvard Medical School, receiving a Master's degree. He then went on to Thoracic Surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he also did advanced fellowships in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Oncology and Lung Transplantation. Dr. Odell began his career on the faculty at UPMC and was recruited to Northwestern in 2015.

Chitaru Kurihara

Instructor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)

Chitaru Kurihara, MD is a thoracic surgeon whose surgical experience includes general thoracic surgery, lung failure, and lung transplantation. His clinical specialties include treatment of interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and lung cancer.

Dr. Kurihara received his M.D. from University of Gunma School of Medicine in 2009. He then completed his cardiothoracic residency at University of Tokyo Hospital (2009 – 2014). After serving as an Assistant Scientist and University of Wisconsin from 2014 - 2016 (post-doctoral research fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery) and Research Associate at Baylor College of Medicine from 2016 - 2017 (cardiothoracic transplantation), he went on to complete his advanced lung failure fellowship at Northwestern University (2017 – 2019). He was recruited to Northwestern in 2019 as Clinical Instructor of Thoracic Surgery.

Rafael Garza-Castillon, Jr.

Instructor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery)

Dr. Garza-Castillon is a general thoracic surgeon with experience in minimally invasive surgery for benign and malignant airway, lung, esophageal and anterior mediastinal diseases. He completed his General Surgery Residency at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico City. He then completed a Master of Science program with focus in Clinical Research and at the same time performed clinical research activities with focus in thoracic surgical oncology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN. Afterwards, he completed his General Thoracic and Foregut Surgery Fellowship at the Brigham and Women´s Hospital Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Additionally, Dr. Garza-Castillon completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery also at Brigham and Women´s Hospital.

 

View all faculty

Contact Us

 

Support What We Do

We invite your philanthropic partnership in helping us achieve our research and teaching missions each day.

You can contact David McCreery for more information on supporting our division at 312-503-6099 or david.mccreery@northwestern.edu

Make an online donation
Back to top

Follow Surgery on