Research Profile: Daniel B. Jones, MD, MS

Daniel B. Jones, MD, MS

Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

Daniel JonesVice Chair, Surgery, Technology and Innovation
Chief, Division of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery
Co-Director, Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center

Research Group

George Blackburn, MD, PhD
Dale Bond, MD
Caroline Cao, PhD
Suvranu De, PhD
Jody Dushay, MD
Yu Fang, PhD
Emily Fitzpatrick, MD
David Fobert
Cullen, Jackson, PHD
Stephanie Jones, MD
Michael McBride, RN
Brian Nguyen, MD
Jaisa Olasky, MD
Kate Otto, RD
Caroline Park, MD
Ganesh Sankaranarayanan, PhD
Mandeep Sawhney, MD, MPH
Steven Schwaitzberg, MD
Darren Tavernelli, RN
Linda Trainor, RN
Christina Wee, MD, MPH

Research Focus

My education-based research has established a technical skills laboratory validating new teaching tools and instituting curriculums for medical students, residents and surgeons in practice. Using group video trainers, we demonstrated for the first time in Surgery that intense skills training improved operative performance. Computer trainers which provided immediate feedback further improved trainees’ ability to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Other simulators included novel models for laparoscopic hernia repair, common bile duct exploration, and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. Studies demonstrated error with sleep deprivation among post-call surgical residents. Furthermore, programs for medical students suggest the benefit from early exposure to simulation.

Simulation/ Education

There are six ongoing R01 NIH-funded collaborative projects among the Center for Modeling, Simulation and Imaging in Medicine (CeMSIM), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and Tufts University:

Virtual Basic Laparoscopic Skills Trainer (VBLaST) is a virtual reality trainer that replicates the FLS tasks for skills training. In this project, a specialized interface with haptic feedback was to replicate the FLS box for the VBLaST. Validation studies are conducted at the Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center.

Virtual Natural Orifice Transluminal EndoScopic Surgery (VR-NOTES) simulator provides a training and testing platform for both transgastric and transvaginal NOTES cholecystectomy. Currently the VR-NOTES simulator has virtual organ models through which a fly-through simulation can be done along the predetermined path for a transgastric approach. A haptic interface with a realistic flexible endoscope is being developed to interact with the VR-NOTES simulator.

Generation (Gen) 2 cognitive  simulator  seeks to create a Star Trek hallodeck experience by creating an environment as close to real surgery as possible,  including the operating room environment, devices, avatars, and room noises, making the training very realistic.

Virtual Electrosurgery Trainer (VEST) is an ongoing project that includes basic modules to teach ways to avoid patient injury during an electrosurgery procedure. The VEST can simulate insulation failure, capacitive and direct coupling. An interface with two ports for trocar and tool placement whose motion are captured by optical and gyroscope sensors was built to interface the VEST for testing.

Virtual Airway Simulation Trainer (VAST) develops a simulator to teach difficult airway as might be encountered in an obese patient. Cricothyroidotomy is also taught.

Virtual endoluminal surgery simulator (VESS) is used to teach advanced therapeutic endoscopy for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Other funding from the CRICO-RMF has supported our project, FUSE: Catalysts and barriers to implementation and quality initiative in the OR. We studied the adoption of the SAGES Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy in an online educational curriculum.

Bariatric Surgery

My research also focuses on the clinical outcomes. In collaboration with Christina Wee, MD, MPH (Department of Medicine, BIDMC) we have a large database from which we have published this year on the following topics: expectations for weight loss and willingness to accept risk, quality of life among obese patients, obesity-related stigmata and functional status, patient factors associated with undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding vs Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and high-risk alcohol use after weight loss surgery. This research is funded by the NIH.

In collaboration with Brown University we are funded by the NIH to better understand how we can use technology to help our bariatric surgery patients with lifestyle changes. In addition, I am PI for an NIH study, Ecological momentary assessment of behavioral and psychosocial predictors of weight loss following bariatric surgery.

Accomplishments 2016-2017

  • President, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)
  • Trustee-at-Large, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT)
  • Past President, Association for Surgical Education (ASE)
  • Chair, Essentials Task Force,
Invited Presentations
  • Visiting Professor, University of Nebraska, “Safer Surgery,” Omaha, Nebraska, 2016
  • “Safer Surgery in Bariatric Surgery,” University of Vermont Mackay-Page Lectureship, Burlington, VT, 2016
  • Visiting Professor, OHSU, “Team based operative care: in bariatric surgery,” Portland, OR, 2016
  • “Heritage of Societies - SAGES,” 38th Annual Meeting of the Korean Society of Endoscopic & Laparoscopic Surgeons (KSELS), Seoul, Korea, 2016
  • “Patient Safety”, 8th International Conference of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Stare Jablonki, Poland, 2016
  • “Who decides medical necessity: the third party payer, the docs or a judge?” International Surgery Group (ISG), Edinburgh, Scotland, 2106
  • Sigman Visiting Professor, “The simulation center as the hub for research and innovation.”  Montreal, Canada, 2016
  • “Advancing safety and improving outcomes with MBSAQIP accreditation of bariatric centers in the United States.” 15th World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery, Suzhou, China, 2016
  • The Theodore Drapanas Memorial Lectureship, “Safer surgery with simulation,” University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 2017
  • “Management of biliary tract after gastric bypass: choledocholithiasis and biliary dyskinesia.”  SAGES, Houston, TX, 2017
  • “Update on bariatric surgery.”  77th Scientific Session, American Diabetes Association, San Diego, CA, 2017
  • “Deliberate lifelong learning using simulators, simulation and the internet.” The Korean Society of Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgeons (KSELS), Busan, Korea, 2017
Recognition and Awards
  • Baylor Hospital Visiting Professor, Dallas, Texas
  • University of Nebraska Visiting Professor, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Mackay-Page Lectureship Guest of Honor to the University of Vermont
  • Oregon Health Sciences University Visiting Professor, Portland, OR
  • 12th Harvey H. Sigman Lecture in Medical Education, McGill University, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, The Edward Mason Service of Distinction Medal
  • Best Doctors in America; Top Doctors, Boston magazine,  US News & World Report; America’s Top Surgeons, Consumers Research Council of America
Editorial Roles

Editorial Board: Surgical Endoscopy, Bariatric Times, UpToDate, and Surgery for Obesity and Related Disorders

Teaching, Training, and Education

  • ASE/ACS Skills-based Simulation Curriculum for Medical School Years 1-3; Released national curriculum for medical students using educational theory and assessment metrics
  • Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy (FUSE). International curriculum and certification to advance OR safety
  • Essentials. Multidisciplinary curriculum to management of bariatric surgery patient
  • SAGES MASTERS program. Curriculum for deliberate, learning after fellowship
  • Co-Director, Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center, BIDMC
  • HMS Longitudinal Bariatric Experience
  • Site Director; OR CRICO Team Training with Simulation
  • Course Director, BIDMC Surgery Grand Rounds, weekly CME lecture series

Selected Research Support

  • Ecological momentary assessment of behavioral and psychological predictors of weight loss following bariatric surgery; NIH, 2015-2017; PI: Daniel Jones, MD, MS
  • Development and validation of virtual endoluminal surgery simulator (VESS) for the treatment of colorectal cancer; NIH, 2016-2021; PI:  Suvranu De, PHD
  • Development and validation of a virtual basic laparoscopic skill trainer (VBLAST); NIH, 2009-2017; PI: Daniel Jones, MD, MS
  • Developing physics-based virtual simulation technology for natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery; NIH, 2009-2017; PI: Daniel Jones, MD, MS
  • Development and validation of a virtual electrosurgical skill trainer (VEST); NIH, 2011-2017; PI: Daniel Jones, MD, MS
  • Physically realistic virtual surgery; NIH, 2011-2017; PI: Daniel Jones, MD, MS
  • Virtual Airway Simulation Trainer (VAST) NIH, 2014-2018; PI: Stephanie Jones, MD


  • Jones DB, Sung R, Weinberg C, Korelitz T, Andrews A. Three dimensional modeling may improve surgical education and clinical practice. Surg Innov, 23(2):189-195, 2016.
  • Robinson TN, Olasky J, Young P, Feldman LS, Fuchshuber PR, Jones SB, Madani A, Brunt LM, Mikami D, Jackson GP, Mischna J, Schwaitzberg S, Jones DB. Fundamental use of surgical energy (FUSE) certification: validation and predictors of success. Surg Endosc, 30:916-924, 2016.
  • Telem DA, Majid SF, Powers K, Demaria E, Morton J, Jones DB. Assessing national provision of care: variability in bariatric clinical care pathways Surg Obes Relat Dis, 13:281-286, 2017.
  • Schwaitzberg SD, Dorozhkin V, Sankaranarayanan G, Matthes K, Jones DB, De S. Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES): emerging trends and specifications for a virtual reality simulator, Surg Endosc 30:190-198, 2016.
  • Wee CC, Davis RB, Jones DB, Apovian CA, Chiodi S, Huskey KW, Hamel MB. Sex, race, and quality factors most important to patients’ well-being among those seeking bariatric surgery,” Obesity Surgery, 26: 1308-1316, 2016.