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Team Bios - UCLA Endocrine Surgery Team - Los Angeles, California

The UCLA Endocrine Surgical Unit is committed to providing the highest level of service to endocrinologists in the community.

If you are a general practitioner and seek endocrine medical consultation, our unit works closely with the UCLA division of endocrinology.

Dr. Michael W. Yeh
Dr. Michael W. Yeh

Dr. Michael W. Yeh established the UCLA Endocrine Surgery Program in 2006. Under his leadership, the Program has gained national and international recognition for clinical excellence in the management of complex endocrine diseases.

Dr. Yeh has been voted one of the Best Doctors in AmericaAfter pursuing his studies at Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Yeh trained in general surgery at UC San Francisco. He then completed the prestigious T.S. Reeve International Fellowship in endocrine surgery at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Dr. Yeh is an expert in minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, thyroid cancer, and adrenal tumors, including pheochromocytoma and adrenocortical carcinoma. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Yeh has been voted one of the Best Doctors in America »

Foreign languages spoken: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese

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Dr. Avital Harari
Dr. Avital Harari

Dr. Avital Harari joined the UCLA Endocrine Surgery team in 2010. She is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with Highest Honors and as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society.

Thereafter, she received her medical degree with distinction at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, graduating in the top 10% of her medical school class. She trained in general surgery at Columbia University in New York City prior to completing a premier Endocrine Surgery fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American College of Surgeons as well as the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.

Dr. Harari has received many academic honors at all levels of her education and has a growing bibliography. Dr. Harari's clinical and research interests include the multidisciplinary management of benign and malignant tumors of the adrenal, thyroid, and parathyroid glands as well as the neuroendocrine pancreas. She is also interested in familial endocrine disorders (such as multiple endocrine neoplasia). She offers a wide range of unique services including retroperitoneal or transabdominal laparoscopic adrenalectomy, mini-incision thyroid and parathyroid surgery, central and modified neck dissection, and laparoscopic removal of pancreatic tumors. Her interests in addition to endocrine surgery include global health, surgical education and surgical outcomes. Dr. Avital Harari has been named a 2013 and 2014 Super Doctor Rising Star, in the top 2.5% of physicians in the country! »

Foreign languages spoken: Hebrew, Spanish

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Dr. Masha Livhits
Dr. Masha Livhits

Dr. Masha Livhits was the first Endocrine Surgery fellow to be trained at UCLA by Dr. Michael Yeh. She accelerated her education by completing the Early Entrance Program at California State University in Los Angeles. She then received her medical degree at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and trained in general surgery at UCLA.

She is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Livhits has numerous publications in surgical outcomes and quality of care. Her clinical and research interests include parathyroid disease, benign and malignant thyroid tumors, and adrenal masses.

Foreign languages spoken: Russian

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Sunita Bhuta, MD
Sunita Bhuta, MD
Sunita Bhuta, MD

Certifications:
Medical Board Certification: Clinical Pathology, American Board of Pathology, 1983
Anatomic Pathology, American Board of Pathology, 1979

Education:
Fellowship: Pathology & Laboratory Med., UCLA School of Medicine, 1979 - 1980
Residency: Pathology & Laboratory Med., UCLA School of Medicine, 1978 - 1979
Pathology & Laboratory Med., West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Med Ctr, 1974 - 1978
Internship: Pathology & Laboratory Med., Metropolitan Hospital Center, 1973 - 1974
Medical Degree: M.D., University of Bombay Faculty of Medicine, 1969

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Dr. Jacqueline Nieto Casillas
Dr. Jacqueline Nieto Casillas
Dr. Jacqueline Nieto Casillas is a pediatric oncologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research in UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA in 1988, her medical degree from UCLA in 1995, and her Masters of Science in Health Services from UCLA in 2003. During her medical school training Dr. Casillas completed a one year fellowship in pathology. She completed her pediatric internship and residency at Harbor-UCLA in Torrance, CA, her clinical fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at UCLA, and a post-doctoral research fellowship in cancer prevention and control research at UCLA.

Dr. Casillas is currently an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics, division of hematology/oncology at UCLA. She is the director of the long-term follow-up program at UCLA for childhood cancer survivors. Dr. Casillas’ research interest is in the area of childhood cancer survivorship research with a particular focus on access to care and health outcomes in minority populations. She is a member of the late effects committee in the Children’s Oncology Group. She participates in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, the largest national cohort of childhood cancer survivors. In addition, she is currently completing a primary data collection project at UCLA to understand barriers to transitioning adolescent and young adult survivors to adult-centered healthcare for surveillance of late effects due to their cancer treatment exposure once they leave the pediatric oncology health care setting.

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Harvey Chiu, MD
Harvey Chiu, MD

Dr. Harvey K. Chiu joined the UCLA Thyroid Cancer team in 2013. After graduating from the University of North Carolina with Honors and the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Dr. Chiu pursued combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency training at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then completed separate fellowships in both Adult and Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Washington.

Dr. Chiu became double Board-certified in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and subsequently in both Pediatric and Adult Endocrinology subspecialties, and is a reviewer of Endocrinology Board questions for the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Chiu continued on at Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, where he established a flourishing thyroid nodule biopsy service and was named Top Doctor by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. He will continue to provide these services and general pediatric endocrinology care at UCLA.

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Dr Wayne W. Grody
Dr. Wayne W. Grody
Wayne W. Grody, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics, and Human Genetics at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the director of the Diagnostic Molecular Pathology Laboratory within the UCLA Medical Center, one of the first such facilities in the country to offer DNA-based tests for diagnosis of a wide variety of genetic, infectious, and neoplastic diseases, as well as bone marrow engraftment, patient specimen identification and paternity testing by DNA fingerprinting.

He is also an attending physician in the Department of Pediatrics, specializing in the care of patients with or at risk for genetic disorders. In addition, he is heavily involved in basic molecular genetics research involving regulation of gene expression of arginase and related enzymes in hereditary arginase deficiency and various cancers, population molecular genetic screening, and construction of artificial human mutation samples. He has been one of the primary developers of quality assurance and ethical guidelines for DNA-based genetic testing for a number of governmental and professional agencies including the FDA, AMA, CAP, ACMG, ASHG, NCCLS, CDC, NIH-DOE Human Genome Project (ELSI program), and PSRGN.

He served as a member of the NIH-DOE Task Force on Genetic Testing, and was the working group chair for development of national guidelines for cystic fibrosis and factor V-Leiden mutation screening. He did his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University, received his M.D. and Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine, and completed residency and fellowship training at UCLA. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Pathology (Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Molecular Genetic Pathology) and the American Board of Medical Genetics (Clinical Genetics, Molecular Genetics, and Biochemical Genetics).

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Sharon Hirschowitz, MD
Sharon Hirschowitz, MD
Sharon Hirschowitz, MD

Education:
Residency: Pathology & Laboratory Med., South African Institute for Medical Research, 1982 - 1985
Pathology & Laboratory Med., Royal Free Hospital & School of Medicine, 1980 - 1981

Internship:
Surgery, Johannesburg Hospital, 1979 - 1980 Medical

Degree:
M.D., University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, 1978

 

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Kuk-Wha Lee, MD
Kuk-Wha Lee, MD
Kuk-Wha Lee, MD

Certifications:
Medical Board Certification: Pediatric Endocrinology, American Board of Pediatrics, 2005 Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics, 2000

Education:
Fellowship: Pediatric Endocrinology
UCLA School of Medicine, 2000 - 2003
Residency: Pediatrics, Loma Linda Univ. Childrens Hospital, 1998 - 2000

Internship: Pediatrics, Loma Linda Univ. Childrens Hospital, 1997 - 1998

Medical Degree: M.D., Loma Linda University School of Medicine, 1996

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Dr. Nagesh Ragavendra
Dr. Nagesh Ragavendra
Nagesh Ragavendra, M.D.

Certifications:
Medical Board Certification: Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, 1977, Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology, 1977

Education:
Residency: Radiology, New York University Medical Center, 1973 - 1977
Surgery, Westchester Medical Center, 1972 - 1973
Internship:
Transitional, Westchester Medical Center, 1971 - 1972
Medical Degree:
M.D., Bangalore University Faculty of Medicine, 1970

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Dr. Jianyu Rao
Dr. Jianyu Rao
Dr. Jianyu Rao is an Associate Professor in Pathology and Epidemiology at David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles. He is a Director of Cytopathology Research and Director of Fellowship Program at Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He is board-certified pathologist with specialty board in cytopathology, with extensive experiences in thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration cytology. At the same time he is a faculty member of UCLA’s ACCESS graduate program and a member of Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

His laboratory research is funded by federal, state, and private sources and his research is focused on cancer chemoprevention, biomarkers, and molecular epidemiology of variety types of cancers including thyroid cancer. He has over 20 years of research experience in these areas, with near 70 publications in variety journals including PNAS, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, and International Journal of Cancer, and he is also a primary author for 4 chapters specifically related to the biomarker for cancer.

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Christiaan Schiepers, MD
Christiaan Schiepers, MD

Christiaan Schiepers, MD

Certifications:
Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, 1986

Education:
Fellowship: Diagnostic Radiology, UCLA School of Medicine, 1989 - 1990
Medicine/Nuclear Medicine, LAC + USC Medical Center, 1987 - 1989
Residency:
Cardiology, Albany Medical Center Hospital, 1986 - 1987
Medicine/Nuclear Medicine, Albany Medical Center Hospital, 1984 - 1986
Internship:
Rotating (Internship), Catharina Ziekenhuis, 1982 - 1983
Medical Degree: MD, Universiteit Utrecht, 1982

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Ali Sepahdari , MD
Ali Sepahdari , MD
Ali Sepahdari, MD

Dr. Ali Sepahdari joined the Diagnostic Neuroradiology section in the Department of Radiological Sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in 2011. He completed the Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University, where he earned his M.D., and a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. After his Diagnostic Radiology residency at the University of Illinois-Chicago, he pursued a Neuroradiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and served as a Clinical Assistant in Radiology.

Dr. Sepahdari’s clinical and research interests are in Head and Neck Imaging. He has implemented and oversees the Parathyroid CT imaging program, and interprets all Multiphasic Modified-4D Parathyroid CTs performed at UCLA.

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Haodong Xu, MD, PhD
Haodong Xu
Haodong Xu, MD, PhD

Dr. Haodong Xu, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Pathology with specialty expertise in Head and Neck pathology, and Heart and Lung pathology. Dr. Xu was recruited to UCLA in 2013 from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. During his time at Rochester, he served as Director of Thoracic Pathology and was a faculty member in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Dr. Xu received his MD and PhD degrees from the Medical College of Soochow University in Suzhou, China. He completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, followed by subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Mediastinal Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC.

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