Welcome to the UAB Endocrine Surgery Clinical Research Program

The UAB Endocrine Surgery Clinical Research Program in the Department of Surgery has made so many important contributions to the field of Endocrine Surgery. Their research focuses on understanding the etiology and improving the outcomes of patients with endocrine disease such as thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, Cushing’s Syndrome, hyperaldosteronism, pheochromocytoma, neuroendocrine disease, multiple endocrine neoplasia, and other associated syndromes.  In addition, the group has expertise in education research, quality improvement, health services research, clinical trials and outreach. 


Dr. Herb Chen is Chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the Surgeon-in-Chief of UAB Hospital and Health System, and the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.  He is a Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, 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 studies thyroid and neuroendocrine cancers and has been received over $35 million in extramural funding.  He is the American Cancer Society MEN2 Thyroid Cancer Professor.  Dr. Chen is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Surgery. He has held several leadership positions in major academic societies including President of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons Foundation, President of Association for Academic Surgery, President of the Society of Clinical Surgery, President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and President of Surgical Biology Club II.  Dr. Chen has mentored over 130 faculty, post-doctoral fellows, residents, medical students, and undergraduates in his lab.  He has published over 670 original research and review articles and has edited 28 textbooks.  He is well-known for his passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of surgical leaders.  Dr. Chen has also been recognized as a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Brenessa Lindeman is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Medical Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she serves as Fellowship Director for Endocrine Surgery and the Associate Designated Institutional Official for the Clinical Learning Environment in the GME Office. She earned her MD from Vanderbilt University, then completed general surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, followed by fellowship in endocrine surgery at Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Lindeman earned a Master’s of Education in the Health Professions from Johns Hopkins and completed Surgical Education Research Fellowships with the Association for Surgical Education and Massachusetts General Hospital.  She served as a member of the Drafting Panels for EPAs for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Board of Surgery, and the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and is an Associate Member of the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. Her clinical focus is surgery of the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands, and her research interests are in development of competency in surgical trainees, evaluation of the learning climate/physician wellbeing, and outpatient surgery for hyperthyroidism and adrenal disorders.

Dr. Jessica Fazendin is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System. She is a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin and completed her general surgery residency in Philadelphia at Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine, before going on to complete a fellowship in endocrine surgery at the UAB. She currently serves as the 3rd Year Surgery Clerkship Director for the UABSOM. Her clinical interests include hyperparathyroidism, benign and malignant thyroid conditions, and adrenal disease. Her research interests are in clinical outcomes and education within endocrine and general surgery, with a special emphasis on normocalcemic hyperparathyroidism.

Dr. Andrea Gillis is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her M.D. from Columbia University and completed her surgical residency at Albany Medical Center in New York. She then pursued a fellowship in endocrine surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and now serves as an assitant professor of surgery in the division of Breast and Endocrine surgery at UAB. Dr. Gillis is a health outcome disparities and translational science researcher working in the field of epigenetics, specifically examining differences in gene expression in neuroendocrine tumors by race. She has been awarded an NIH grant for Early Surgeon Scientists (ESSP) in order to pursue this work. She says her desire is to improve the outcomes of all patients including those from minority and underserved backgrounds Her clinical interests include thyroid cancer, benign thyroid disease, hyperparathyroidism, adrenal disease and surgical treatment of inherited endocrine syndromes. She is a member of and serves on national committees for both American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) and Association of Academic Surgeons (AAS).