Thoracic Cancer Research

Learn more about thoracic cancer research at the Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute.

The Rudy L. Ruggles Research Institute at Nuvance Health® conducts research on thoracic cancer to improve early detection for high-risk patients. Thoracic cancer is any cancer in the organs, glands or structures of your thoracic cavity, or chest. Types of thoracic cancer include lung cancer, thymic cancers and tracheal (windpipe) cancer.

Lung Cancer Research at Nuvance Health

Lung cancer screening and more effective treatment options are increasing the number of lung cancer survivors. Patients with stage I lung cancer have an overall survival rate as high as 90 percent.

However, lung cancer remains a leading cause of death from cancer, and survivors have a high risk of developing lung cancer again. Guidelines for screening and management in those cases also aren’t well-defined.

Comprehensive Research on Lung Cancer

Research at Nuvance Health addresses all aspects of lung cancer. Using clinical trials and large healthcare datasets, we:

  • Evaluate the use of liquid biopsy for detection and diagnosis
  • Determine the efficacy of electromagnetic navigational localization in the staging of lung cancer
  • Study treatment patterns, prognostic factors and outcomes to determine optimal treatment modalities
  • Work to develop evidence-based guidelines for the screening and management of second primary lung cancer

We also use healthcare datasets to investigate management trends and disparities in lung cancer and other thoracic cancer treatments.

The Thoracic Cancer Research Team


Joanna Weber, PhD

Dr. Joanna Weber leads the basic and translational research for tracheal tissue engineering and regeneration in Dr. Bhora’s lab. Her background is in biological engineering and regenerative medicine with emphasis on cartilage tissue engineering and mechanotransduction. She specializes in non-traditional cell culture platforms, including various 3D scaffolded and scaffold-free methods as well as the numerous methodologies (biochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and materials testing, etc.) classically used to evaluate the newly grown tissues.


Mirza Zain Baig, MD

Dr. Baig’s work is primarily directed at clinical cancer outcomes research. His interests include optimizing treatment for second primary lung cancer, image-guided precision lung surgery and robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery outcomes. His research has also explored minimally invasive complex airway and tracheal procedures and liquid biopsies for lung cancers. His long-term goal is to pursue an academic surgery career, and he will be applying for his general surgical residency.


Zaid Muslim, MD

Dr. Zaid Muslim’s work focuses on thoracic oncology outcomes research. This involves the analysis of large population-based datasets to investigate management trends, assess survival outcomes and evaluate treatment quality for lung, esophageal and thymic cancers. He is a graduate of the Aga Khan University Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan and has a keen interest in quality improvement and disparities in the care of thoracic surgery patients.