Speakers & Surgeons

    • Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
    Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery
    Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery

    Dr. Joseph Lamelas is considered an expert and pioneer in the most advanced forms of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery. He is Board certified in Cardiac and Thoracic surgery and has received Board Certification in Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

    Dr. Lamelas completed his general surgery residency at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, and his Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery residency at The State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, New York.

    After his training, Dr. Lamelas moved to Miami, Florida where he was in practice for 26 years. From 2008 - 2016 he served as the Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He has consistently had one of the lowest morbidity and mortality rates in the State of Florida as well as in the nation, gaining the attention of surgeons and patients from around the globe.

    Dr. Lamelas has performed more than 14,000 Cardiac operations in his career which began in 1990.

    In January 2017, Dr. Lamelas moved to Houston, Texas to join the Baylor College of Medicine, CHI St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Heart Institute as the Associate Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

    Dr. Lamelas’ practice is predominantly Cardiac Surgery. He offers his patients every Cardiac Surgical approach available as well as the latest state of the art techniques.

    Additionally, he has participated in national and international Cardiac Surgery operative surgical symposia. He has also lectured extensively at conferences on Cardiac Surgery and has publish numerous articles.

    As a result of his extensive experience, Dr Lamelas has played an instrumental role in the design and development of new and innovative concepts and products for advancing the field of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery. Miami Instruments, Inc. was a collaborative effort amongst Dr. Lamelas and engineers with the vision of providing Cardiac Surgeons the tools and exposure devices to facilitate minimally invasive procedures. Simplicity and reproducibility have been the primary goal of the "Miami Method”. The “Miami Method” is a Minimally Invasive Valve Repair and Replacement approach that Dr. Lamelas has developed and refined over the years. This approach has now been expanded to benefit patients with aortic pathology as well as multi-valve disease. There has been documented benefits to his patients with this technique.

    Dr. Lamelas remains passionate about minimally invasive surgery and education. He is involved in training surgeons from across the United States and abroad in advanced and innovative surgical techniques. He has taught his surgical approach via live case demonstrations to over 1,000 surgeons from around the world through peer to peer courses.

    He is committed to pursue his goal of continuing the legacy and long standing excellent Cardiac Surgical reputation of the Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas.

  • In his role as Director of the TMC Innovation Institute, Erik keeps visionary new ideas moving through the TMCx accelerator, TMCx+ incubator and TMC Biodesign Fellowship Program, while playing an instrumental role in JLABS @TMC, the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health@TMC, the TMC advisor/mentor network and the emerging innovation funding infrastructure.

  • Dr. William E. “Billy” Cohn is the Vice President for Johnson &Johnson Medical Devices Companies and the Director of the new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Dr. Cohn has a passion for medical device development and has more than 90 US patents granted or pending for his medical innovations that have provided the core technology for six venture-backed medical start-ups.

    A noted cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Cohn is also a visionary serial inventor. He is a Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at both Rice University and the University of Houston.  His major research interests have been focused on decreasing the invasiveness of medical procedures in a wide variety of fields.

    • General Surgery

    My clinical problem is:

    Biosketch: Dr. Steven A. Curley specializes in providing surgical care for patients with hepatobiliary and pancreatic malignancies. As our chief of surgical oncology and cancer center associate director, he leads efforts at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and on the McNair campus to build a world-class, multidisciplinary surgical oncology program with significant national and international outreach and stature

    • General Surgery
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery
    • Endocrine surgery
    • Trauma Surgery
    • mobile technology
    • acute care surgery
    Chief of Endocrine Surgery Baylor College of Medicine.  Lead Surgical Quality Officer, ACS-NSQIP Surgeon Champion at Ben Taub General Hospital.  
    Chief of Endocrine Surgery Baylor College of Medicine.  Lead Surgical Quality Officer, ACS-NSQIP Surgeon Champion at Ben Taub...
    • Lead Surgical Quality Officer, ACS-NSQIP Surgeon Champion at Ben Taub General Hospital

    I am an attending surgeon in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. ---> My CLINICAL FOCUS is on thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal disease for elective surgery and acute care and trauma surgery emergently. As the medical director of the Endocrine Surgery Clinic in the Department of surgery I work with colleagues to design personalized and precision guided therapies for both benign and malignant disease. Emphasis is placed on the application of minimally invasive techniques to facilitate optimal patient outcomes. ---> My research takes 2 main directions. First, I focus on INNOVATION in surgery by designing mobile health technology to improve surgical outcomes. My research group looks for collaboration with both start-up and established mobile technology companies in the healthcare space who wish to further develop and pilot their platforms so that patient care can be improved. We specialize in the research of patient engagement in care after surgery. This genesis of this program is made possible by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (see below under honors and awards). Advances in knowledge are obtained by developing collaborative approaches with technology groups (including Rice University EE and CS as well as technology startups) and deploying their solutions in our broad clinical practice which includes a private tertiary level academic medical center, county public level 1 trauma center and VA hospital. Our goal is to revolutionize the way that we deliver surgical care from preoperative preparation through post-operative recovery. --->We are currently looking to collaborate to develop hands-free speech recognition modules for use in the operating room as well. as for use in self-care after surgery by patients.  My second interest involves TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH examining metabolic pathways of endocrine disease. This work involves using both proteomic and metabolomic methods to improve diagnosis in endocrine neoplasia in additional to the endocrine response to critical illness.   We have identified a way of  percutaneously diagnosing thyroid and parathyroid lesions in real time. The next step will be to develop methods of noninvasively or percutaneously monitoring temperature in tissue surrounding pathologic lesions so that we may be able to ablate the lesions under image guidance with radiofrequency or microwave technology.

    • Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

    My Problem is: Improving techniques for off-pump coronary artery bypass surgeryu


    Biosketch: Dr. George Letsou performs adult cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery. He has special interests in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, cardiopulmonary transplantation, mechanical cardiac assist, and high-risk cardiac surgery procedures. A graduate of some of the oldest institutions and training programs in the United States (Harvard, Columbia, and Yale), Dr. Letsou has been practicing in Houston for 20 years. In that time, he has become one of the most experienced surgeons in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in high risk cardiac surgery procedures. He has extensive experience in thoracic and vascular surgery as well.

    Dr. Letsou maintains active investigational programs in both clinical and basic science research. He was on the medical school faculties at Yale and the University of Texas, where he was tenured Professor of Cardiac and Vascular Surgery, before rejoining the Baylor College of Medicine as Professor of Surgery. He has published more than 100 articles concerning cardiothoracic surgery and speaks across the United States as well as internationally on these topics.

    • General Practice

    Problem I Have: Board specialty in Pediatric Dentistry is not listed


    Biosketch: Insert Biosketch here

    • Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

    My Problem is: Improving endovascular and catheter based techniques


    Biosketch: Ourania Preventza MD is an Attending Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Texas Heart Institute, St Luke’s Medical Center and full time faculty in the Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She received her medical degree from the Medical School University of Athens, Greece, and has completed her internship and residency in general surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. She has completed a surgical critical care and trauma fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She completed her cardiothoracic surgical residency at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Hospital in New York. Dr Preventza completed a year of endovascular surgery and percutaneous catheter interventions at Arizona Heart Hospital with Dr Diethrich. She is working as aortic and cardiovascular surgeon and partner with Dr Coselli since 2008. She is fellow of the American College of Surgeons and she is board-certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, the American Board of Surgical Critical Care and the American Board of General Surgery.

    Dr. Ourania Preventza’s clinical interests include aortic surgery open techniques, endovascular stent grafting, percutaneous valvular surgery, and valvular heart surgery. Her research focuses on the development of percutaneous techniques for valvular and thoracic aortic diseases, aortic root surgery and surgical outcomes.

    • Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

    My Problem is: INSERT PROBLEM HERE


    Biosketch: Dr. Ravi K. Ghanta's clinical practice includes all aspects of adult cardiac surgery, including caring for patients with coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, diseases of the thoracic aorta, and heart failure. In addition he has interests in minimally invasive surgery, transcatheter valve therapy, mechanical circulatory assist devices, and heart transplantation.


    Dr. Ghanta trained in General Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. During his residency he spent 3 years in the lab studying ventricular restraint therapy for ventricular remodeling in heart failure. He was awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ghanta served as Chief Resident of General Surgery at the Brigham in 2010 and was awarded the John Mannick Award. He subsequently served as Chief Resident in Cardiac Surgery at the Brigham in 2012. He then subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Virginia from 2012 to 2016. At the University of Virginia, he maintained an active clinical practice and a funded research lab. He attained multiple clinical leadership positions, including Director of the Adult Extracorporeal Life Support Program. In 2016, Dr. Ghanta joined the Michael E. Debakey Department of Surgery at Baylor and Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Ben Taub Hospital.

    Dr. Ghanta’s laboratory focuses on ventricular remodeling in heart failure including restraint therapy, stem cell therapy, and tissue engineering. Dr. Ghanta is a member of the Southern Thoracic Surgery Association, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, and the American Heart Association.

    • Surgical Critical Care
    • General Surgery

    Problem I have: 


    Biosketch:Chad T. Wilson, M.D., M.P.H. is a board-certified Trauma Surgeon in Houston, Texas.

    Dr. Wilson was born in Houston and grew up here prior to matriculating at the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1997. Dr. Wilson then left Texas for nearly 20 years to pursue his professional interests in medicine.

    He went to medical school at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD and graduated in 2001. He then began his clinical training in surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. During surgical residency, he took a two year hiatus from clinical work to concentrate on research and completed the VA Outcomes Fellowship at the White River Junction VA in Vermont while simultaneously earning a MPH in 2006 from the Dartmouth Medical School’s Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences in Hanover, New Hampshire. He then completed his training in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2008, before relocating to rural East Africa for 1 year to work as a surgeon based out of Kijabe Hospital in Kenya as part of the Thomas S. Durant Fellowship in Refugee Medicine which was awarded to him in 2008. After a year abroad, he returned to Massachusetts General Hospital where he completed a 2 year fellowship in Acute Care Surgery (critical care, trauma, and emergency surgery) in 2011. Dr. Wilson was then recruited to New York to join the staff of the department of surgery at the New York University School of Medicine, where he spent 5 years as an assistant professor with a clinical focus on trauma at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest county hospital in the country.

    Finally, Dr. Wilson returned home to Houston, Texas in 2016 to join the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine as an associate professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and to serve in a leadership capacity in trauma care at Ben Taub Hospital.

  • Problem I have:


    Biosketch: Claire F. Ozaki, M.D. was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Hawaii and Nebraska. In 1984, she received her M.D. degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in Omaha. After completing a 6-year surgical residency which included one year of research, she stayed at the University of Nebraska and completed a two year transplant surgery fellowship, specializing in liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation.

    Dr. Ozaki is board certified in general surgery and has been performing complex abdominal surgeries since 1990. She now specializes in acute care general surgery. Dr. Ozaki and the acute care surgery team apply the most innovative surgical techniques and evidence-based care delivery methods, work as a team to be readily available to our patients, and achieve the highest published standards of surgical outcomes.

    • Vascular Surgery
    Associate Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine
    Associate Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine

    I am a vascular surgeon working on finding ways to provide cost-effective care and prevention to people at risk for limb loss because of complications of diabetes and/or peripheral artery disease. My specific tech interests include: point-of-care testing to assess arterial blood flow to the legs; point-of-care testing to identify foot infection; and effective methods of offloading (reducing pressure) to facilitate healing of foot wounds.

    • Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
    • Surgical Education
    • Adult cardiac
    • Marfan Syndrome
    • Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm
    • Open and Endovascular Aortic Surgery
    Assistant Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine
    Assistant Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine


    Biosketch: Dr. Kim I. de la Cruz is a thoracic surgeon specializing in the operative, perioperative, and surgical critical care of patients with acquired and congenital pathologic conditions within the chest. This includes surgical repair of congenital and acquired conditions of the heart, pericardium, coronary arteries, valves, great vessels and myocardium; operations and management of diseases of the thoracic and thoracoabdominal aorta; evaluation of vascular disease; exposure, cannulation, reconstruction and treatment of the carotid, brachiocephalic, axillary, iliac and femoral vessels; and, pathologic conditions of the lung, esophagus, chest wall, tumors of the mediastinum, diseases of the diaphragm and pericardium, and management of the airway and injuries to the chest.

    His clinical and research interests include diseases of the aorta requiring complex open or endovascular repairs, heart valve repair or replacement, myocardial revascularization, redo operations, mechanical circulatory support, and heart and lung transplantation. Dr. de la Cruz is committed to providing the finest, patient-oriented care to those with thoracic aortic disease and other complex cardiovascular problems. This vision combines a dedication to research, exceptional education, and the development of newer, better treatments and procedures.

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