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Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., MD

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Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., MD, is the John M. Shoenberg Professor of Surgery and chief of cardiac surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Duke University and went on to complete his general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery training at Duke University Medical Center, working for James Cox, the founder of modern atrial fibrillation surgery. Damiano received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his work on the surgical treatment of arrhythmias.

Damiano’s first faculty appointment was at the Medical College of Virginia from 1989 to 1996. During his tenure, he rose to associate professor of surgery and was named director of the Surgical Electrophysiology and Cardiothoracic Surgical Research Laboratories. He also was medical director of the Medical College of Virginia/Richmond Memorial Hospital Heart Program.

In 1996, Damiano was appointed professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State University. At Penn State, he also was co-director of the Cardiovascular Center and was appointed professor of cellular and molecular physiology. In 2000, Damiano was appointed chief of cardiac surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

Damiano has authored more than 250 scientific publications. His major contributions have been in the area of myocardial preservation during heart surgery, surgical electrophysiology and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. He has been associate editor of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and is on nine other editorial boards. He has been a member of the Surgery and Biomedical Engineering Study Section at the NIH.

Damiano is a pioneer in the area of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. His developmental work on robotically assisted microsurgery for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) earned him a ComputerWorld Smithsonian Award in June 1997. Damiano performed the first robotically assisted CABG procedure in North America in December 1998. He completed the first prospective clinical trial in the world on robotically assisted CABG and is the current President of the International society for Minimally invasive Surgery. He has also been president of the Society of Clinical Surgery. He is one of the world pioneers in the surgical treatment of arrhythmias. His team at Washington University is world renowned for its clinical and basic research on the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation.

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