About Dr. Tompkins

Dr. Tompkins

Brief Biography

Ronald G. Tompkins, MD, ScD, is the Sumner M. Redstone Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Founding Director of the Center for Surgery, Science & Bioengineering at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Chief of Staff Emeritus at Shriners Hospitals for Children―Boston.

The Center, a division of Surgery at Mass General, is a newly established center for research and innovation based upon the Mass General Burns Division’s collaborative track record and expertise in securing more than $200 million in federal, foundation, and industrial support for basic research and clinical programs.

It is a clinically-driven enterprise that engages in the basic sciences and engineering to solve everyday challenges in clinical medicine. The center promotes the development of new approaches to healthcare delivery and personalized medicine, minimally invasive therapies, as well as a myriad of new technologies such as re-engineered organs, smart nano-pharmaceuticals and nano-diagnostics, and living cell-based microfabricated devices for diagnostics, therapeutics, high-throughput drug screening, and basic and applied biomedical investigation.

He is a board-certified general surgeon with a doctorate in chemical engineering, which provides him with expertise not only in the clinical evaluation of critical care patients, but also in inflammation biology, genomics, proteomics, and computational biology.

Elected as a Director of the American Board of Surgery in 1994, he has received multiple honors including a fellowship from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and an honorary M.A. from Harvard University. He has served as an officer including as President and Board Member of more than a dozen national and international academic societies.

Research Summary

Dr. Tompkins has published more than 450 research papers in medicine and engineering journals and has contributed to the advancement of science and engineering through service on institutional advisory panels, moderating mini-symposia and workshops on biotechnology, and studying the genomics and proteomics of immunology and metabolism resulting from injury.

Together with his Division colleagues, nearly 300 fellows have been mentored in the Division’s training programs with many excellent success stories.

Dr. Tompkins serves as the principal investigator of the first-in-the-nation P50 award (P50-GM21700 in 1974) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and its associated NIGMS T32 Burn Research Training Grant (T32-GM07035 in 1975) for postdoctoral training in burn and trauma research.

His research as the principal investigator of the “Inflammation and the Host Response to Injury” program (U54-GM062119) — the largest award ever received by MGH and 10th largest of the extramural NIH grants — has developed the clinical infrastructure to study critically ill trauma populations, as well as the technological and bioinformatics skills to isolate leukocyte populations and probe the transcriptome as it responds to severe injury.

The development of clinical treatment protocols by consensus of the trauma and burn centers participating in this “Glue Grant” program led to improvements in survival, reduction in morbidity for injured patients, and established benchmarks for care in the fields of burns and trauma.


  • BA, Chemistry, Tualne University, 1972
  • MD, Medicine, Tulane University, 1976
  • SM, Chemical Engineering, MIT, 1983
  • ScD, Chemical Engineering, MIT, 1983

Research Thrusts