Herb Chen Color Cropped 3397 Rieger web

Chair, Department of Surgery
Professor of Surgery
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Pediatrics

Fay Fletcher Kerner Endowed Chair
Surgeon-in-Chief, UAB Hospital and Health System
Senior Advisor, O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB
Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Heersink School of Medicine

Areas of Interest
thyroid and parathyroid surgery, minimally invasive radioguided parathyroidectomy, adrenal surgery, endocrine surgery, neuroendocrine cancer biology


Dr. Herbert Chen obtained his BS from Stanford University with Honors and with Distinction in 1988 and graduated from Duke University School of Medicine Alpha Omega Alpha in 1992. Dr. Chen then completed a general surgery residency followed by a surgical oncology and endocrinology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Chen is Chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the Surgeon-in-Chief of UAB Hospital and Health System. He is a Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, and holds the Fay Fletcher Kerner Endowed Chair. His clinical interests include endocrine surgery and he is a pioneer in radioguided parathyroid surgery. Dr. Chen’s lab has been continuously funded for over 20 years and studies the role of Notch signaling in thyroid and neuroendocrine cancers. He is the American Cancer Society MEN2 Thyroid Cancer Professor. Dr. Chen is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Surgery, serves on many other editorial boards. He is also the President of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons Foundation, President of Surgical Biology Club II, Past-President of Association for Academic Surgery, Past-President of the Society of Clinical Surgery, and Past-President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. Dr. Chen has mentored over 125 faculty, post-doctoral fellows, residents, medical students, and undergraduates in his lab. He has published over 540 original research and review articles and has edited 25 textbooks. He has been recognized for his passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of surgical leaders.

Clinical and Research Interests

Dr. Chen’s clinical interests include endocrine and neuroendocrine disease with a focus on minimally invasive endocrine surgery. He has one of the largest experiences with radioguided parathyroidectomy (MIRP), and performs high volume thyroid and adrenal surgery. Dr. Chen’s laboratory focuses on the role of cellular signaling pathways in the differentiation and growth of neuroendocrine (NE) tumors including carcinoid, pancreatic islet cell, pheochromocytoma, and medullary thyroid cancer.

Selected Publications

Yu X, Jaskula-Sztul R, Georgen MR, Aburjania Z, Somnay YR, Leverson G, Sippel RS, Lloyd RV, Johnson BP, Chen H. Notch1 Signaling Regulates the Aggressiveness of Differentiated Thyroid Cancer and Inhibits SERPINE1 Expression. Clinical Cancer Research. (in press).

Jaskula-Sztul R, Eide J, Tesfazghi S, Dammalapati A, Harrison A, Yu X, Scheinebeck C, Winston-McPherson G, Kupcho KR , Robers MB, Hundal AK, Tang W, Chen H. Tumor-suppressor role of Notch3 in Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma revealed by genetic and pharmacological induction. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2015; 14: 1-14. PMCID: PMC4326595

Pozo K, Castro-Rivera E, Tan C, Plattner F, Schwach G, Siegl V, Meyer D, Guo A, Gundara J, Mettlach G, Richer E, Guevara LA, Ning L, Tsai L, Antich P, Sidhu S, Robinson BG, Chen H, Nwariaku FE, Pfragner R, Richardson JA, Bibb JA. The Role of Cdk5 in Neuroendocrine Thyroid Cancer. Cancer Cell 2013; 24: 499-511.

Lou I, Foley D, Odorico SK, Leverson G, Schneider DF, Sippel RS, Chen H. How well does renal transplantation cure hyperparathyroidism? Annals of Surgery (in press). NIHMSID# 690976

Oltmann SC, Chen H. Minimally Invasive Radioguided Parathyroidectomy. Curr Surg Rep. DOI 10.1007/s40137-012-0001-y

Murray SE, Sippel RS, Chen H. Incidence of concomitant hyperparathyroidism in patients with thyroid disease requiring surgery. Journal of Surgical Research 2012; 178: 264-267. PMCID: PMC3408846

Mazeh H, Khan Q, Schneider DF, Schaefer S, Sippel RS, Chen H. Same day thyroidectomy program:  Eligibility and safety evaluation.  Surgery 2012; 6:1133-1141. PMID: 23158183

Schneider DF, Mazeh H, Sippel RS, Chen H. Is Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy Associated with Higher Recurrence Compared to Bilateral Exploration? Analysis of over 1000 cases. Surgery 2012; 6: 1008-1015. PMCID: PMC3501613

Chen H, Mack E, Starling JR. A Comprehensive Evaluation of Peri-operative Adjuncts during Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy: Which is Most Reliable? Ann Surg 2005; 242: 375-383.

Chen H, Mack E, Starling JR. Radioguided Parathyroidectomy is Equally Effective for Both Adenomatous and Hyperplastic Glands. Ann Surg. 2003; 238: 332-338.


Stanford University

Medical School
Duke University

Johns Hopkins University 

Johns Hopkins University
General Surgery

Johns Hopkins University
Surgical Oncology, Endocrine Surgery

Honors and Awards 

McEwen Lecture, University of Kansas (2016)
Danely P. Slaughter Memorial Lecture, Presence Saint Francis (2015)
President-Elect, Society of Clinical Surgery (2014-2016)
Byers “Bud” Shaw Lecture, University of Nebraska (2014)
Caring for Carcinoid Foundation-AACR Award for Carcinoid Tumor and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Research (2014)
Scott Woods Endowed Lecture, Wayne State University (2013)
Joseph B. Priestly Lecture, Throckmorton Surgical Society (2013)
Charles Getz Lecture, University of Maryland (2013)
Gregory B. Bulkley Lecture, Johns Hopkins University (2012)
Moses Gunn Lecture, University of Michigan (2012)
Rosen-Rasch Lecture, University of Toronto (2011)
Robert Ravdin Lecture, University of Pennsylvania (2011)
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Medical Student Research Mentorship (2011)
Recorder, American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (2011-2014)
Murray Brennan Distinguished Lecture, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2011)
American Society of Clinical Investigation (2011)
American Cancer Society MEN2 Thyroid Cancer Professorship (2011-2015)
Treasurer, Society of Clinical Surgery (2010-2014)
Secretary-Treasurer, Surgical Biology Club II (2010-present)
Thurston Adams Lecture, University of Maryland (2010)
John Daane Lecture, University of South Florida (2009)
President, Association for Academic Surgery (2008-2009)
Gardner Smith Lecture, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (2008)
Best Doctors in America (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Midwest Surgical Association Best Paper by a New Member Award (2007)
Society of Surgical Oncology Clinical Investigator Award (2007)
Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Traveling Fellowship (2007)
Carcinoid Cancer Foundation Research Achievement Award (2006)Vilas Associate Award (2006
Herman Shapiro Lectureship, University of Wisconsin (2005)
Central Surgical Association Best Paper by a New Member Award (2005)
Recorder, Association for Academic Surgery (2004-2007)
James IV Association of Surgeons Traveling Fellow for the United States (2004)
Leon E. Sample Memorial Lecture, Yale University (2003)
George H.A. Clowes, Jr. MD, FACS, Memorial Research Career Development Award of the American College of Surgeons (2003)
University of Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association Clinical Science Teaching Award (2002)
American Surgical Association Foundation Fellowship Award (2001)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Development Award (2001)
Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Young Clinician Travel Award (2001)
American Cancer Society Institutional Research Award (2000)
James Ewing Oncology Fellowship Award for Basic Research (2000)

Contact Information

Campus Address

Patient Appointments and Questions: 205-934-1211
Academic Office: 205-934-3333