11 Nevins Street
Boston, MA 02135
© 2021 Dr. Claudius Conrad. All Rights Reserved.
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
General Complex Surgical Oncology
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery MD Anderson Cancer Center
Instructor, Surgery Harvard Medical School
Affiliated Faculty Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Director and Co-Founder, Music in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
Harvard Medical School, Boston
General Surgery, University of Munich-Grosshadern
General Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital
Research Fellowship Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Surgical Oncology Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Minimally Invasive HPB Surgery, Institut Mutualiste
Moutsouris, Paris, and University of Tokyo, Tokyo
Throughout his training and career, Dr. Conrad has pursued his passions, finding meaningful and lasting connections in seemingly unrelated areas. His work and interests have taken him not only to top medical programs, but also to famed concert hall stages. He has written leading medical textbooks and papers, improved surgical technology, and served as an expert and impartial medical witness. He has also provided options for less invasive surgery when it appeared none existed.
Two tenets continue to guide Dr. Conrad in these roles: a desire for excellence and a tireless commitment to patients. He can trace both principles to a young age.
As a child in Germany, Dr. Conrad watched his father respond to the needs of their rural community with a switch from veterinary medicine to human nephrology. He also inherited a passion for music, learning piano at age 4 and going on to study at a series of conservatories.
Rather than choose between music and medicine, Dr. Conrad pursued both — first medical school in Germany, then a doctorate in musical science, followed by surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He studied the philosophical overlap between music and healing and began investigating the biological underpinnings of music’s apparent power to heal. He also co-founded and directed MGH’s Music in Medicine program, which seeks to use music to help patients and their families.
Initially thinking he would become a medical oncologist, Dr. Conrad earned a second doctorate, in adult stem cell biology. But he felt drawn toward surgery and its similarities to playing the piano: The complex movements required and the need to keep fingers trained and agile. The tactile sensitivity to strike keys just so or respond to resistance from tissue. And the aesthetic appeal of a precise performance or operation.
Dr. Conrad completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, then wanted a less traumatic way to help patients with liver or pancreatic cancer. He pursued additional training at the Institut Mutualiste Moutsouris in Paris, home to the only laparoscopic fellowship focused on those organs in the world at the time, and went on to study with Japanese masters at the University of Tokyo.
From the start, Dr. Conrad has sought to understand how cancer forms and spreads, then translate those findings into better care — a step many find challenging. His early work looked at turning stem cells into targeted therapy. More recently, his group has investigated novel therapeutics — what factors lead to some patients doing better and how to best pair surgery with other treatments.
Dr. Conrad has also worked with industry partners to develop new devices for surgery and improve imaging in the operating room with 3-D cameras and surgical instruments. He helped create innovative procedure planning software that allows surgeons to precisely construct virtual livers.
Looking for an environment that encourages innovation and always puts patients’ needs first, Dr. Conrad joined St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in 2018. He quickly came to appreciate the teamwork his colleagues demonstrated and the commitment to improving care.
As a St. Elizabeth’s surgical oncologist and department leader, Dr. Conrad always looks to respect patient goals and provide the most appropriate treatment. Sometimes that means standard open surgery. But when possible, he performs minimally invasive surgery — either by hand with laparoscopic tools or with robotic assistance.