A world-renowned surgical oncologist has joined the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) to develop patient-centered solutions through collaborative research. Dr. Claudius Conrad specializes in liver, pancreas, and biliary tract cancers and has helped develop new surgical devices to improve imaging and guide cancer surgeries.

“My focus is on minimizing surgical trauma for patients,” said Conrad. “By joining this community of brilliant innovators, from students to seasoned investigators, I hope to develop innovative ways of curing cancer. This community is well equipped to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice.”

As a researcher in the CCIL’s Cancer Measurement Technology and Data Science Program, a faculty member at Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED), and as Medical Director of Surgical Strategy & Innovation at Carle Health, his work takes him from the lab to the clinic. His unique position as a researcher, faculty member, and physician provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary innovations.

“My leadership is in this space of being a translator of the research idea to the bedside,” he said. “I’m hoping to be that person who explains what the problems are and be part of that journey to finding an engineering-based solution.”

He will be a key collaborator in developing these solutions, working closely with students from Illinois, including physician-innovators at CI MED and graduate students in the CCIL’s Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research (C*STAR) Program.

“I aim to foster a culture of curiosity and innovation by integrating the students in my research endeavors and supporting their ideas,” he said.

Conrad’s interest in music also provides an avenue of exploration. As a classically trained pianist, he is investigating the role of music in medicine by harnessing new technologies like artificial intelligence. “We have tried to investigate how does the body mediate music-induced relaxation, how does music impact surgical performance when the surgeon operates, how does it impact the team in the operating room, not only health care providers, but also families of patients, who we feel are under-researched in health care today.”

Editor’s Notes:

Dr. Claudius Conrad previously served as Chief of General Surgery and Surgical Oncology at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston and as a Professor of Surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine. You can explore his work and background here.

This story was written by Jessica Clegg, CCIL Communications Team