Faculty Profile

Stanley W. Ashley, MD

Frank Sawyer Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Frank Sawyer Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital

See publications


General Surgery, ASBII-3
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

Phone 617 732 6730

Email sashley@partners.org

Society Memberships

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
American Gastroenterologic Association
American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association
American Pancreatic Association
American Physiological Society
American Surgical Association
Association of Program Directors in Surgery
Association for Academic Surgery
Boston Surgical Society
Crohn’s and Colititis Foundation of America
International Association of Pancreatol
International Society for Digestive Surgery (formerly CICD)
Longmire Surgical Society
Massachusetts Medical Society
New England Surgical Society
Pacific Coast Surgical Association
Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract
Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons
Society of University Surgeons

Research Interests

The long-term goal of our research program is to develop new treatments for surgical
disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Emphasis is placed on maximizing synergy
between clinical and basic research. Specific projects are described below.

Intestinal Regeneration. Following massive small bowel resection, the epithelium of the
remnant intestine undergoes adaptive hyperplasia. If this response is quantitatively
insufficient to restore adequate mucosal surface area, a devastating disorder known as the
short bowel syndrome results. We believe an understanding of the mechanisms mediating
adaptive hyperplasia can be exploited to effect intestinal regeneration in patients
suffering from intestinal insufficiency. Ongoing work focuses on characterizing 1) the
cell cycle regulatory mechanisms underlying intestinal adaptation, 2) the mechanisms of
action of glucagon-like peptide 2, a highly potent and specific intestinal growth factor,
and 3) form and function in tissue-engineered neointestine (a promising prototype has
been developed).

Diurnal Rhythms in Intestinal Function. Therapies to enhance intestinal adaptation
following massive resection have proven ineffective. To make any further progress in this
area, we need to understand the mechanisms of such adaptation. We have recently begun
to examine diurnal or circadian rhythms, transient changes in intestinal morphology and
function of the same order of magnitude as those which require 3 to 4 weeks following
resection, but which occur daily in anticipation of feeding. We believe that these diurnal
rhythms are important in determining human intestinal function. Work focuses on
characterizing the cellular mechanisms that mediate diurnal transporter expression in rat
intestine, identifying the responsible signaling pathways and examining the diurnal
rhythm of intestinal adaptation in man. We believe that these diurnal rhythms are
important in determining human intestinal function. Understanding these diurnal rhythms
may suggest new approaches to enhancing intestinal adaptation and open up therapeutic
avenues for the treatment of other malabsorptive diseases.

Gastrointestinal Cancer. We have initiated studies on the biology of gastrointestinal
cancer invasion and metastasis. Focusing on pancreatic and colorectal cancers, we are
examining the role of matrix metalloproteinases in cancer invasion and the mechanisms
by which cancer cells target specific organs for metastasis.


C Alvarez, 1991-1993
OJ Hines Assistant Professor of Surgery, 1992-1994
AG Patel, 1992-1994
AJ Bilchik, 1992-1994
EE Whang, 1993-1995
JCY Dunn, 1994-1996
JS Lane, 1991-1997
MPN Lewis, 1994-1996
J Jasleen, 1997-1999
RS Shen, 1998-2000
A Tavakkaolizadeh, 1998-2000
A Perez, 2000-2002
H Ito, 2001-present
J Gardner-Thorpe, 2000-2002
S Farivar, 2001-2003
E Matros, 2002-present
T Waseem, 2003-present
F Rocha, 2003-present
E Benoit, 2003-present

Research Funding

Current Funding:
"A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of prophylactic meropenem therapy in subjects with severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis"
Role: Site PI

"Surgery residents and quality of care" (Mentzer RM Jr, PI)
Role: Site PI

APDS/ACS Collaborative Project
"Development of a web-based surgical core competency assessment system"
Role: Site PI

"A multicenter, open-label, randomized study to compare the safety and efficacy of once daily levofloxacin along with once daily metronidazole versus piperacillin/tazobactam in the treatment of complicated appendicitis"
Role: Co-I

Past Funding:
NIH/National Research Service Award
"Intracellular microelectrode studies of Necturus antral mucosa"
Role: PI

Council for Tobacco Research
"Gene mapping of multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I"
Role: Co-PI

SSAT/Career Development Award
"Gene mapping of multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I"
Role: PI

CURE/Pilot and Feasibility Award
"Adaptation of intestinal fluid and electrolyte transport"
Role: PI

SAGES Research Award
"Palliation for pancreatic cancer: Laparoscopic cholecystojejunostomy and gastrojejunostomy in a porcine model"

VA Research Advisory Group Award
"Pancreatic blood flow and chronic pancreatitis"
Role: PI

VA Merit Review
"Pancreatic blood flow and pancreatitis"
Role: PI

"Surgery and intestinal absorption"
Role: Co-PI

"Surgery and intestinal adaptation"
Role: PI

"Research training in alimentary tract surgery"
Role: Co-Investigator

"Surgery and intestinal adaptation"
Role: PI

SSAT/Career Development Award
"Cell cycle regulation in intestinal regeneration" (Whang EE, PI)
Role: Mentor

"Cell cycle regulation in intestinal regeneration" (Whang EE, PI)
Role: Mentor

Selected Publications

Greenberg CC, Ashley SW, Schrag D. Centralization of cancer surgery: what does it mean for surgical training?
J Clin Oncol. 2009 Oct 1;27(28):4637-9. Epub 2009 Aug 31. [PMID: 19720900]

Garfield JM, Garfield FB, Hevelone ND, Bhattacharyya N, Dedrick DF, Ashley SW, Nadel ES, Katz JT, Kim C, Mitani AA. Doctors in acute and longitudinal care specialties emphasise different professional attributes: implications for training programmes.
Med Educ. 2009 Aug;43(8):749-56. [PMID: 19659488]

Abolmaali K, Balakrishnan A, Stearns AT, Rounds J, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Circadian variation in intestinal dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression: a potential mechanism for benefits of 5FU chrono-chemotherapy.
Surgery. 2009 Aug;146(2):269-73. [PMID: 19628084]

Mitchell CC, Ashley SW, Orgill DP, Zinner MJ, Raut CP. Gauging surgeons' understanding and perceptions of an academic incentive plan.
Arch Surg. 2009 May;144(5):421-6; discussion 426. [PMID: 19451483]

Greenberg JA, Ashley SW. Invited commentary.
J Surg Educ. 2009 May-Jun;66(3):132. [PMID: 19712910]

Rocha FG, Benoit E, Zinner MJ, Whang EE, Banks PA, Ashley SW, Mortele KJ. Impact of radiologic intervention on mortality in necrotizing pancreatitis: the role of organ failure.
Arch Surg. 2009 Mar;144(3):261-5. [PMID: 19289666]

Stearns AT, Balakrishnan A, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Diurnal expression of the rat intestinal sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT1) is independent of local luminal factors. Surgery. 2009 Mar;145(3):294-302. Epub 2009 Feb 1. [PMID: 19231582]

Mortelé KJ, Girshman J, Szejnfeld D, Ashley SW, Erturk SM, Banks PA, Silverman SG. CT-guided percutaneous catheter drainage of acute necrotizing pancreatitis: clinical experience and observations in patients with sterile and infected necrosis.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2009 Jan;192(1):110-6. [PMID: 19098188]

Irani JL, Ashley SW, Brooks DC, Osteen RT, Raut CP, Russell S, Swanson RS, Whang EE, Zinner MJ, Clancy TE. Distal pancreatectomy is not associated with increased perioperative morbidity when performed as part of a multivisceral resection.
J Gastrointest Surg. 2008 Dec;12(12):2177-82. Epub 2008 Aug 2. [PMID: 18677539]

Irani JL, Cutler CS, Whang EE, Clancy TE, Russell S, Swanson RS, Ashley SW, Zinner MJ, Raut CP. Severe acute gastrointestinal graft-vs-host disease: an emerging surgical dilemma in contemporary cancer care.
Arch Surg. 2008 Nov;143(11):1041-5; discussion 1046. [PMID: 19015460]

Tatli S, Cizginer S, Wieczorek TJ, Ashley SW, Silverman SG. Solitary littoral cell angioma of the spleen: computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging features.
J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2008 Sep-Oct;32(5):772-5. [PMID:18830109]

Stearns AT, Balakrishnan A, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Diurnal rhythmicity in the transcription of jejunal drug transporters.
J Pharmacol Sci. 2008 Sep;108(1):144-8. Epub 2008 Sep 11. [PMID: 18787306]

Balakrishnan A, Stearns AT, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Defining the transcriptional regulation of the intestinal sodium-glucose cotransporter using RNA-interference mediated gene silencing.
Surgery. 2008 Aug;144(2):168-73. Epub 2008 May 9. [PMID: 18656622]

Rocha FG, Sundback CA, Krebs NJ, Leach JK, Mooney DJ, Ashley SW, Vacanti JP, Whang EE. The effect of sustained delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor on angiogenesis in tissue-engineered intestine.
Biomaterials. 2008 Jul;29(19):2884-90. Epub 2008 Apr 8. [PMID: 18396329]

Balakrishnan A, Stearns AT, Rounds J, Irani J, Giuffrida M, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Diurnal rhythmicity in glucose uptake is mediated by temporal periodicity in the expression of the sodium-glucose cotransporter (SGLT1).
Surgery. 2008 Jun;143(6):813-8. [PMID: 18549898]

Stearns AT, Balakrishnan A, Rounds J, Rhoads DB, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Capsaicin-sensitive vagal afferents modulate posttranscriptional regulation of the rat Na+/glucose cotransporter SGLT1.
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Apr;294(4):G1078-83. Epub 2008 Feb 28. [PMID: 18308853]

Bigby J, Ashley SW. Disparities in surgical care: strategies for enhancing provider-patient communication.
World J Surg. 2008 Apr;32(4):529-32. [PMID: 18210184]

Waseem T, Duxbury M, Ito H, Ashley SW, Robinson MK. Exogenous ghrelin modulates release of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in LPS-stimulated macrophages through distinct signaling pathways.
Surgery. 2008 Mar;143(3):334-42. Epub 2007 Dec 27. [PMID: 18291254]

Wallace CA, Petrov MS, Soybel DI, Ferzoco SJ, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Influence of imaging on the negative appendectomy rate in pregnancy.
J Gastrointest Surg. 2008 Jan;12(1):46-50. Epub 2007 Oct 26. [PMID: 17963012]

Hernandez A, Petrov MS, Brooks DC, Banks PA, Ashley SW, Tavakkolizadeh A. Acute pancreatitis and pregnancy: a 10-year single center experience.
J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 Dec;11(12):1623-7. Epub 2007 Oct 2. [PMID: 17909922]

Greenberg JA, Irani JL, Greenberg CC, Blanco MA, Lipsitz S, Ashley SW, Breen EM, Hafler JP. The ACGME competencies in the operating room. Surgery. 2007 Aug;142(2):180-4. [PMID: 17689683]

Liu JJ, Glickman JN, Li X, Maurer R, Ashley SW, Brooks DC, Carr-Locke DL, Saltzman JR. Smooth muscle remodeling of the gastroesophageal junction after endoluminal gastroplication.
Gastrointest Endosc. 2007 Jun;65(7):1023-7. Epub 2007 Feb 26. [PMID: 17324412]

Dellinger EP, Tellado JM, Soto NE, Ashley SW, Barie PS, Dugernier T, Imrie CW, Johnson CD, Knaebel HP, Laterre PF, Maravi-Poma E, Kissler JJ, Sanchez-Garcia M, Utzolino S. Early antibiotic treatment for severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Ann Surg. 2007 May;245(5):674-83. [PMID: 17457158]

Mitchell CC, Ashley SW, Zinner MJ, Moore FD Jr. Predicting future staffing needs at teaching hospitals: use of an analytical program with multiple variables.
Arch Surg. 2007 Apr;142(4):329-34. [PMID: 17438166]

Berzin TM, Rocha FG, Whang EE, Mortele KJ, Ashley SW, Banks PA. Prevalence of primary fungal infections in necrotizing pancreatitis.
Pancreatology. 2007;7(1):63-6. Epub 2007 Apr 18. [PMID: 17449967]

Liau SS, Ashley SW, Whang EE. Lentivirus-mediated RNA interference of HMGA1 promotes chemosensitivity to gemcitabine in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
J Gastrointest Surg. 2006 Nov;10(9):1254-62; discussion 1263. [PMID: 17114012]

Modi BP, Owens C, Ashley SW, Colson YL. Bouveret meets Boerhaave.
Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Apr;81(4):1493-5. [PMID: 16564302]

Kellogg KC, Breen E, Ferzoco SJ, Zinner MJ, Ashley SW. Resistance to change in surgical residency: an ethnographic study of work hours reform.
J Am Coll Surg. 2006 Apr;202(4):630-6. Epub 2006 Feb 17. [PMID: 16571434]

Liu JJ, Carr-Locke DL, Osterman MT, Li X, Maurer R, Brooks DC, Ashley SW, Saltzman JR. Endoscopic treatment for atypical manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Mar;101(3):440-5. [PMID: 16542278]


Rocha FG, Balakrishnan A, Ashley SW, Clancy TE. A historic perspective on the contributions of surgeons to the understanding of acute pancreatitis.
Am J Surg. 2008 Sep;196(3):442-9. Review. [PMID: 18718223]

Raut CP, Ashley SW. How I do it: surgical management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. J Gastrointest Surg. 2008 Sep;12(9):1592-9. Epub 2008 Mar 4. Review. [PMID: 18317848]

Behrns KE, Ashley SW, Hunter JG, Carr-Locke D. Early ERCP for gallstone pancreatitis: for whom and when?
J Gastrointest Surg. 2008 Apr;12(4):629-33. Review. [PMID: 17846851]

Raut CP, Morgan JA, Ashley SW. Current issues in gastrointestinal stromal tumors: incidence, molecular biology, and contemporary treatment of localized and advanced disease.
Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2007 Mar;23(2):149-58. Review. [PMID: 17268243]

Raut CP, Kulke MH, Glickman JN, Swanson RS, Ashley SW. Carcinoid tumors.
Curr Probl Surg. 2006 Jun;43(6):383-450. Review. [PMID: 16781906]

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