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Presidential Address: The Dreamer & The Pragmatist

May 8, 2023

103rd Annual Meeting, the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall B
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Yolonda Colson


Dr. Colson is the past President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, having served in many roles since becoming a member in 2003, including as Co-chair of the 2015 Annual Meeting and Chair of the Advisory Council for the AATS Foundation.   She is the Chief for the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Hermes C. Grillo Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. In addition to her cardiothoracic surgical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, her academic training includes a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.D. from Mayo Medical School, and a Ph.D. and general surgery residency at University of Pittsburgh.  Career awards include: the inaugural Michael A. Bell Family Chair in Healthcare Innovation, the George H.A. Clowes, Jr. Research Career Development Award from the American College of Surgeons, the Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation, and serving as the Exam Chair of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery from 2017-2021.  She is the current PI/co-PI on five NIH R01/U01 Grants and has recently been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

She is co-inventor on three awarded patents and has received over twenty grants including the AATS Alton Ochsner Research Scholarship and eight "R" or "U" grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. Dr. Colson's research focuses on the development of unique mechanisms of polymer and nanoparticle drug delivery aimed at preventing cancer recurrence, and the investigation of novel methods to identify hidden tumor that has spread to nearby lymph nodes. She has over 150 peer reviewed publications highlighting her previous work in transplantation and her most recent investigations in sentinel lymph nodes in lung cancer and polymer-mediated drug delivery. She has formally mentored well over 30 students, residents and junior faculty since becoming an attending thoracic surgeon. 

Specialties: Congenital