I was exposed to the field of surgery through my ancestry, as my grandfather and great-grandfather were surgeons. I knew that I wanted to be a surgeon from an early age, and during medical school I always had the surgical field in mind. Helping patients through gastrointestinal cancer treatments and operations has been my passion and focus for almost 40 years. A cancer diagnosis is a tremendous challenge for anyone. Within a single day, it can turn someone's world upside down. Being able to help patients who are in that situation, both as a physician and as a surgeon, is very important to me. Cancer treatment is not only about treating the tumor in the best possible way, but helping the patient and the family cope with the situation and guiding them through it.
I began my medical education in Germany and continued my training, research and clinical work in the United States at various well-respected cancer centers, including the University of Pittsburgh, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, City of Hope in California, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern in Texas and most recently at Indiana University with the Goshen Center for Cancer Care, before coming to Buffalo, NY. After having worked at a total of five National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers, I consider it a true privilege to now hold a leadership role at a center like Roswell Park that set the model for other cancer centers to follow over a century ago.
My clinical interest is in pancreatic, hepatobiliary and upper GI tract cancer. My laboratory-based translational activities focus on experimental combination therapy of pancreatic and gastric cancer. I am a member of 13 scientific organizations, including the American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO), Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA) and Society of University Surgeons (SUS), and have served as committee member or chair and as executive council member on several of these. I am also recognized as an exceptional clinician member of the "Best Doctors in America" and "America's Top Surgeons" databases, and as an outstanding teacher through several academic teaching awards.