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USC Surgeon to Establish Program at Saint John’s Health Center

Gagandeep Singh, M.D., a hepatobiliary surgeon with the Division of Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgery and Transplant Surgery at USC, will establish a hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease surgical program at Saint John’s Health Center, the hospital has announced.

Dr. Singh will join Saint John’s as Medical Director of the Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgical Program on July 1. He also will serve as an associate faculty member at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center, where he will contribute to existing cancer research programs, develop new methods of basic and clinical research, and provide instruction for surgical fellows.

“Saint John’s already has a good program for general gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, as well as for pancreatic and liver surgery, and the hospital wants to take that to the next level,” Dr. Singh said.

“I believe I bring to Saint John’s that next level of expertise. In addition to being well versed in all major and complex liver and pancreatic resections, I bring the ability to do those procedures laparoscopically. I also have begun to do robotically-assisted hepatobiliary surgery, and I plan to bring that to Saint John’s as well.”

An assistant professor of surgery with the Keck School of Medicine and the University of Southern California for the past five years, Dr. Singh earned his medical degree at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur University, in India.

His surgical career began in Bombay at the Tata Memorial Cancer Center, the foremost cancer hospital in India, where at the end of his surgical oncology fellowship he moved west to subspecialize in advanced hepatobiliary surgery. To attain expertise, he moved to Paris, spending a year at Hôpital Cochin and the following year at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in England.

In the U.S., he recertified, graduating from Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix as a chief resident and completed his fellowship training at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City; he is certified by the American Boards of Surgery.

Dr. Singh possesses an analytical mind and has an outstanding research background, having done a research fellowship at the Marion Bessin Liver Research Center (at the Albert Einstein College Medicine, New York). His research interests include gene therapy strategies for cancer, mechanisms of hepatic gene transfer, and developing technical innovations in hepatic and pancreatic surgery. His work is well published nationally and internationally, with several articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Singh has numerous appointments with leading hospitals in the Los Angeles area, serving as attending surgeon at USC University Hospital, the USC Norris Cancer Hospital, and Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center since 2002; Childrens Hospital Los Angeles since 2003; and Huntington Hospital since 2004.

“Our ultimate aim is to have a great clinical base and an outstanding translational research program,” Dr. Singh said. “The challenges of continued advancement in surgery and actively contributing to the scientific environment are important to me.

“I believe I can be a perfect bridge between the clinic and the basic science environment. I am confident that the combination of my clinical experience and research background will allow me to make a strong and meaningful contribution to John Wayne Cancer Institute and Saint John’s Hospital.”

In the long term, Dr. Singh hopes to establish the program as a center of excellence His vision is to establish a one-stop center for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of GI system cancers, with special attention to hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease—a leading center on the West Coast.

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