Explore This Lab

About the Lab

The clinical and translational research of Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD, in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital aims to improve care for patients with lung cancer and other diseases of the chest. Dr. Yang’s team comprises clinicians, scientists, engineers and biostatisticians with wide-ranging interests. He is a principal investigator and recipient of NIH R01 funding from the National Institutes of Health. His research goal is to answer important clinical questions and produce meaningful findings that can be used to help patients, and potentially save lives.

Research and Publications

Evaluating the Impact of Lung Cancer Screening

Dr. Yang has led studies evaluating the impact of guideline changes on screening eligibility for lung cancer and survival in patients with lung cancer. This work has been published in the British Medical Journal and JAMA Oncology and presented to the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services to support removing the “15 years since quitting” criteria from the lung cancer screening guidelines. This work has also been used to support European Union Cancer Screening Recommendations and the World Economic Forum Cancer Screening Guidelines.

Related Publications

Evaluating Outcomes of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Yang evaluates outcomes between minimally invasive surgical techniques versus traditional open procedures for thoracic cancers. The studies that he has led elucidate the role of minimally invasive thoracic surgery and have aided clinicians in selecting the most appropriate course of treatment.

Related Publications

Evaluating Treatments for Limited-stage Small-cell Lung Cancer

Dr. Yang’s grandfather passed away from small-cell lung cancer, and evaluating the role of different treatments for small-cell lung cancer has always been a top research priority. His work has been used to support national guidelines for the roles of surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy and prophylactic cranial irradiation in the treatment of limited-stage small-cell lung cancer. He is also actively designing clinical trials testing the latest and most cutting-edge treatments for small-cell lung cancer.

Related Publications

Using Advanced Statistical Modeling to Answer Key Questions in Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Yang is experienced in using advanced statistical modeling (e.g., machine learning techniques, Cox regression analysis with restricted cubic splines or penalized smoothing splines) to address important questions in thoracic surgery (e.g., optimal timing of lobectomy, impact of extended delay of surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Related Publications

Research in Older Adults (70 Years and Above) with Cancer

An important area of focus for Dr. Yang is the evaluation of practice patterns and outcomes for patients 70 years and older who have different types of thoracic cancers. This work has led to a better understanding of the role of surgery for older adults. The future goals of Dr. Yang’s team include the design of innovative perioperative interventions for older adults undergoing surgery for thoracic cancers.

Related Publications

Evaluating Outcomes of Surgical Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Yang's clinical experience taking care of and operating on patients with COVID-19 has impacted his research focus during the pandemic. He has led national analyses that have helped clarify the optimal timing of surgery for patients who have developed and recovered from COVID-19 as well as helped elucidate the impact of delayed treatment for patients with lung cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Prospective Trials to Improve Clinical Practice and Patient Outcomes

Dr. Yang previously led a multidisciplinary team that evaluated sleep in patients with leukemia, and surgical outcomes for patients receiving ipilimumab prior to surgery, which was the first-ever study of surgical outcomes after immunotherapy for lung cancer. The team’s goals are to lead innovative clinical trials and prospective studies that can change surgical practice and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Yang is currently performing the following prospective studies:

  • Using machine learning analysis of physiologic data collected from wearables to quantify recovery and to predict postoperative complications before symptom onset
  • Using a virtual reality and olfactory stimuli multimodal intervention to reduce postoperative pain and anxiety
Related Publications

Research by Mentees

One of Dr. Yang’s highest priorities is to support medical student- and resident-led research. Many of Dr. Yang’s mentees have first-authored papers in high-impact journals (highlights are listed below) and have presented at prestigious conferences.

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Mentorship and Training

Dr. Yang is excited to work with surgical residents, post-doctoral fellows, medical students and undergraduate students. He has been recognized for his teaching at Duke University, where he received the Appleseed Teaching Award in 2018, and at Harvard Medical School, where he received the Charles McCabe Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2021. Dr. Yang’s current mentees in medical school and residency include:

  • Judith Amores, PhD, research fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Jalen Benson, BS, medical student, Harvard Medical School
  • Jorind Beqari, MD, research fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Jessica Copeland, MD, research fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • John Deng, BS, medical student, UCLA Medical School
  • Arvind Kumar, BS, medical student, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Keni Lin, BS, medical student, University of Arizona College of Medicine
  • Arian Mansur, AB, medical student, Harvard Medical School
  • Camille Mathey-Andrews, MD, resident, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Nicholas Mayne, MD, resident, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Ryan Meyerhoff, MD, PhD, resident, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Nikhil Panda, MD, MPH, resident, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Vignesh Raman, MD, MHS, resident, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Shivani Shah, BS, medical student, Harvard Medical School
  • Danny Wang, MD, resident, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Yoyo Wang, BS, medical student, University of Michigan Medical School

About Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD

Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD

Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD, is an attending thoracic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree in 2011 from Harvard Medical School after receiving a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University and completing a Fulbright Fellowship (2005-06) and a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship (2009-10). He completed his general surgery residency at Duke University Medical Center (2011-2018). During his residency, Dr. Yang received the American College of Surgeons Research Fellowship, served as an administrative chief resident and was recognized for exceptional accomplishment in both clinical care (he was twice the recipient of Gold Stars) and teaching (Appleseed Teaching Award).  In 2020, he completed his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine and received several awards for clinical and research excellence, including the WTSA Norman Shumway Best Presentation Award, the AATS Foundation Surgical Robotics Fellowship and the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association/STS Traveling Fellowship, which he completed at Toronto General Hospital.

At Mass General, Dr. Yang practices all aspects of thoracic surgery, including procedures for benign and malignant conditions of the lung, esophagus, mediastinum and chest wall. He specializes in minimally invasive techniques, including using VATS and robotic approaches. As an attending thoracic surgeon at Mass General, he is known for his dedication to patient care and clinical teaching. In 2021, he received the Harvard Medical School Charles McCabe Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Yang’s research focus is in the field of thoracic oncology. He is the recipient of the 2021 AATS Foundation Surgical Investigator Award and in 2022, he received a $3.9 million NIH R01 grant as co-principal investigator and project leader. He has served as first- or senior author on several high-impact papers published in the British Medical Journal, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Medicine, JAMA Oncology, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Annals of Surgery, Chest, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Annals of Thoracic Surgery. He has over 120 publications, including over 60 as first- or senior-author. Dr. Yang’s mentees have given over 20 podium presentations at national and international conferences, including at the annual meetings of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, European Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer.

Dr. Yang serves in several leadership roles in the thoracic surgery field. He is vice chair of the Alliance Thoracic Surgery Group, an advisory board member of the Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee and a member of the Screening and Early Detection Committee of the IASLC. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Journal of Thoracic Diseases, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Online Curriculum. He is an associate editor for Pearson’s General Thoracic Surgery. In addition, he is a reviewer for several journals, including for Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, JAMA Oncology, Annals of Surgery, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Yang is actively involved in efforts to raise awareness about lung cancer and lung cancer screening through the American Lung Cancer Screening Initiative (ALCSI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit that he founded in 2018. He has worked with communities across 50 states to highlight the importance of lung cancer screening and ALCSI’s efforts have been recognized by mayors through official mayoral proclamations from all 50 states in the U.S. In 2020 and 2021, he co-drafted resolutions, S. Res. 780 and S. Res. 426, to raise awareness for lung cancer and lung cancer screening that passed in the U.S. Senate, by unanimous support from all 100 U.S. senators. In 2021, he received the Harvard Medical School Dean's Community Service Faculty Award in recognition of his efforts.