Dana Lin, M.D. is a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeon who specializes in the surgical management of endocrine tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands, as well as malignant melanoma. Her clinical practice is based at the Stanford Cancer Center. She also serves as an attending surgeon in endocrine surgery at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Dr. Lin earned her bachelor of science degree in biology at Stanford University and medical degree at the State University of New York School of Medicine. She then completed a residency in general surgery at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, where she was awarded the Gallo Award from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for outstanding cancer research in melanoma.

To further hone her clinical interest in endocrine surgery, she completed a dedicated endocrine surgery fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. She has expertise in mini-incision thyroid and parathyroidectomy, lymph node dissection for thyroid cancer and melanoma, and laparoscopic adrenalectomy.

Dr. Lin is the author of multiple peer-reviewed publications related to endocrine disease and melanoma. Her ongoing clinical and research interests include the multidisciplinary treatment and outcomes of patients with benign and malignant tumors of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Dr. Lin is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She is an active associate member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.

Clinical Focus

  • Cancer > GI Oncology
  • Surgery
  • Endocrine Surgery
  • Melanoma Surgery
  • Adrenal Tumors
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Lymph Node Dissection
  • Melanoma
  • Multinodular Goiter
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Nodule
  • Thyroidectomy

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Curriculum Director, ACS Education Institute / Goodman Surgical Education Center, Stanford Department of Surgery (2014 - Present)
  • Unit-Based Medical Director, Project TRANSFORM / Hospital In-Situ Simulation for Patient Safety (2015 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:Stanford University School of Medicine RegistrarCA
  • Medical Education:University at Buffalo School of Medicine (2004) NY
  • Residency:UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNJ
  • Internship:UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNJ
  • Fellowship:Massachusetts General HospitalMA
  • Board Certification, American Board of Surgery, Surgery (2011)


All Publications

  • Validity evidence for Surgical Improvement of Clinical Knowledge Ops: a novel gaming platform to assess surgical decision making AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SURGERY Lin, D. T., Park, J., Liebert, C. A., Lau, J. N. 2015; 209 (1): 79-85


    Current surgical education curricula focus mainly on the acquisition of technical skill rather than clinical and operative judgment. SICKO (Surgical Improvement of Clinical Knowledge Ops) is a novel gaming platform developed to address this critical need. A pilot study was performed to collect validity evidence for SICKO as an assessment for surgical decision making.Forty-nine subjects stratified into 4 levels of expertise were recruited to play SICKO. Later, players were surveyed regarding the realism of the gaming platform as well as the clinical competencies required of them while playing SICKO.Each group of increasing expertise outperformed the less experienced groups. Mean total game scores for the novice, junior resident, senior resident, and expert groups were 5,461, 8,519, 11,404, and 13,913, respectively (P = .001). Survey results revealed high scores for realism and content.SICKO holds the potential to be not only an engaging and immersive educational tool, but also a valid assessment in the armamentarium of surgical educators.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.08.033

    View details for Web of Science ID 000346121100013

  • The Assessment of Emotional Intelligence Among Candidates Interviewing for General Surgery Residency JOURNAL OF SURGICAL EDUCATION Lin, D. T., Kannappan, A., Lau, J. N. 2013; 70 (4): 514-521
  • The Effect of Positive and Negative Verbal Feedback on Surgical Skills Performance and Motivation JOURNAL OF SURGICAL EDUCATION Kannappan, A., Yip, D. T., Lodhia, N. A., Morton, J., Lau, J. N. 2012; 69 (6): 798-801


    There is considerable effort and time invested in providing feedback to medical students and residents during their time in training. However, little effort has been made to measure the effects of positive and negative verbal feedback on skills performance and motivation to learn and practice. To probe these questions, first-year medical students (n = 25) were recruited to perform a peg transfer task on Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery box trainers. Time to completion and number of errors were recorded. The students were then randomized to receive either positive or negative verbal feedback from an expert in the field of laparoscopic surgery. After this delivery of feedback, the students repeated the peg transfer task. Differences in performance pre- and post-feedback and also between the groups who received positive feedback (PF) vs negative feedback (NF) were analyzed. A survey was then completed by all the participants. Baseline task times were similar between groups (PF 209.3 seconds; NF 203 seconds, p = 0.58). The PF group averaged 1.83 first-time errors while the NF group 1 (p = 0.84). Post-feedback task times were significantly decreased for both groups (PF 159.75 seconds, p = 0.05; NF 132.08 seconds, p = 0.002). While the NF group demonstrated a greater improvement in mean time than the PF group, this was not statistically significant. Both groups also made fewer errors (PF 0.33 errors, p = 0.04; NF 0.38 errors, p = 0.23). When surveyed about their responses to standardized feedback scenarios, the students stated that both positive and negative verbal feedback could be potent stimulants for improved performance and motivation. Further research is required to better understand the effects of feedback on learner motivation and the interpersonal dynamic between mentors and their trainees.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsurg.2012.05.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311024100021

    View details for PubMedID 23111049

  • MDM4 is a key therapeutic target in cutaneous melanoma NATURE MEDICINE Gembarska, A., Luciani, F., Fedele, C., Russell, E. A., Dewaele, M., Villar, S., Zwolinska, A., Haupt, S., de Lange, J., Yip, D., Goydos, J., Haigh, J. J., Haupt, Y., Larue, L., Jochemsen, A., Shi, H., Moriceau, G., Lo, R. S., Ghanem, G., Shackleton, M., Bernal, F., Marine, J. 2012; 18 (8): 1239-?


    The inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, which often occurs through mutations in TP53 (encoding tumor protein 53) is a common step in human cancer. However, in melanoma-a highly chemotherapy-resistant disease-TP53 mutations are rare, raising the possibility that this cancer uses alternative ways to overcome p53-mediated tumor suppression. Here we show that Mdm4 p53 binding protein homolog (MDM4), a negative regulator of p53, is upregulated in a substantial proportion (∼65%) of stage I-IV human melanomas and that melanocyte-specific Mdm4 overexpression enhanced tumorigenesis in a mouse model of melanoma induced by the oncogene Nras. MDM4 promotes the survival of human metastatic melanoma by antagonizing p53 proapoptotic function. Notably, inhibition of the MDM4-p53 interaction restored p53 function in melanoma cells, resulting in increased sensitivity to cytotoxic chemotherapy and to inhibitors of the BRAF (V600E) oncogene. Our results identify MDM4 as a key determinant of impaired p53 function in human melanoma and designate MDM4 as a promising target for antimelanoma combination therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nm.2863

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307469300030

    View details for PubMedID 22820643

  • Preoperative basal calcitonin and tumor stage correlate with postoperative calcitonin normalization in patients undergoing initial surgical management of medullary thyroid carcinoma SURGERY Yip, D. T., Hassan, M., Pazaitou-Panayiotou, K., Ruan, D. T., Gawande, A. A., Gaz, R. D., Moore, F. D., Hodin, R. A., Stephen, A. E., Sadow, P. M., Daniels, G. H., Randolph, G. W., Parangi, S., Lubitz, C. C. 2011; 150 (6): 1168-1176


    The optimal initial operative management of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) and the use of biomarkers to guide the extent of operation remain controversial. We hypothesized that preoperative serum levels of calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) correlate with extent of disease and postoperative levels reflect the extent of operation performed.We assessed retrospectively clinical and pathologic factors among patients with MTC undergoing at least total thyroidectomy; these factors were correlated with biomarkers using regression analyses.Data were obtained from 104 patients, 28% with hereditary MTC. Preoperative calcitonin correlated with tumor size (P < .001) and postoperative serum calcitonin levels (P = .01) after multivariable adjustment for lymph node positivity, extent of operation, and hereditary MTC. No patient with a preoperative calcitonin level of <53 pg/mL (n = 20) had lymph node metastases. TNM stage (P = .001) and preoperative calcitonin levels (P = .04), but not extent of operation, independently correlated with the failure to normalize postoperative calcitonin. Postoperative CEA correlated with positive margins (adjusted P = 04). Neither preoperative nor postoperative CEA was correlated with lymph node positivity or extent of surgery.Preoperative serum calcitonin and TMN stage, but not extent of operation, were independent predictors of postoperative normalization of serum calcitonin levels. Future studies should evaluate preoperative serum calcitonin levels as a determinate of the extent of initial operation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2011.09.043

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298337500039

    View details for PubMedID 22136837

  • Routine second-opinion cytopathology review of thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsies reduces diagnostic thyroidectomy SURGERY Davidov, T., Trooskin, S. Z., Shanker, B., Yip, D., Eng, O., Crystal, J., Hu, J., Chernyavsky, V. S., Deen, M. F., May, M., Artymyshyn, R. L. 2010; 148 (6): 1294-1299


    Follicular thyroid carcinoma cannot be distinguished reliably from benign follicular neoplasia by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy. Given an estimated 20% risk of malignancy, many patients with indeterminate FNA biopsies require thyroidectomy for diagnosis. Some centers have shown significant discordance when a second pathologist evaluates the same FNA biopsy. We sought to determine whether routine second-opinion cytopathology reduces the need for diagnostic thyroidectomy, especially in patients with indeterminate FNA biopsies.In all, 331 thyroid FNA biopsy specimens obtained from outside centers from 2004 to 2009 were reviewed at our institution. The FNA biopsy results were categorized into nondiagnostic (Bethesda I), benign (Bethesda II), indeterminate (follicular/Hurthle cell neoplasm, follicular/Hurthle cell lesion; Bethesda III & IV), and malignant (papillary or suspicious for papillary or other malignancy; Bethesda V and VI). Second-opinion cytology was compared with the initial opinion in 331 cases and with final operative pathology in the 250 patients who progressed to thyroidectomy.The average patient age was 51 with a predominant number of female (79%) participants. The overall cytology concordance for all 331 FNA biopsies was 66% (218/331). Concordance was highest at 86% (74/86) with malignant FNA biopsies. Concordance in the 129 patients with indeterminate FNA biopsies was only 37% (48/129). Indeterminate FNA biopsies were reread as nondiagnostic in 21% (27/129) of patients and as benign in 42% (54/129) of patients. Twenty-two patients with an indeterminate FNA biopsy reread as benign progressed to operative therapy for reasons other than cytology (eg, symptomatic nodule and radiation exposure/high risk) and were found to be benign in 95% (21/22) of patients on operative pathology for a 95% negative predictive value. An additional 11 patients with an indeterminate FNA reread as benign had follow-up FNA biopsies, each of which was benign. Indeterminate FNA biopsies on initial cytology had a malignancy rate of 13% (17/129) on operative pathology compared with 29% (14/48) for indeterminate FNA biopsies from second opinion. A second opinion improved FNA biopsy accuracy from 60% to 74%. Overall, second-opinion cytology of indeterminate FNA biopsies avoided diagnostic operation in 25% (32/129).Routine second opinion review of indeterminate thyroid FNA biopsies can potentially obviate the need for diagnostic thyroidectomy in 25% of patients without increases in false negatives.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2010.09.029

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286088900058

    View details for PubMedID 21134564

  • The EphB4 receptor promotes the growth of melanoma cells expressing the ephrin-B2 ligand PIGMENT CELL & MELANOMA RESEARCH Yang, N., Lopez-Bergami, P., Goydos, J. S., Yip, D., Walker, A. M., Pasquale, E. B., Ethell, I. M. 2010; 23 (5): 684-687
  • Papillary Thyroid Cancer Presenting As Horner Syndrome PEDIATRIC BLOOD & CANCER Yip, D., Drachtman, R., Amorosa, L., Trooskin, S. 2010; 55 (4): 739-741


    Thyroid carcinomas are an uncommon entity in childhood. We report a case of papillary thyroid cancer presenting as Horner syndrome in a 14 year-old child, which is the only reported such case in the pediatric population.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/pbc.22599

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281542900029

    View details for PubMedID 20535818

  • A Phase 0 Trial of Riluzole in Patients with Resectable Stage III and IV Melanoma CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH Yip, D., Le, M. N., Chan, J. L., Lee, J. H., Mehnert, J. A., Yudd, A., Kempf, J., Shih, W. J., Chen, S., Goydos, J. S. 2009; 15 (11): 3896-3902


    Ectopic expression of GRM1 in murine melanocytes results in transformation into a form of melanoma, and more than 60% of human melanoma samples tested ectopically express GRM1. Stimulation of this receptor in vitro results in up-regulation of activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Furthermore, a xenograft model of melanoma treated with riluzole, an oral GRM1 blocking agent, showed decreased tumor growth compared with the untreated controls. We have now completed a phase 0 trial of riluzole in patients with melanoma.Patients enrolled on this trial underwent a pretreatment biopsy, took 200 mg of oral riluzole per day for 14 days, and then underwent resection of their remaining tumor. We compared the levels of pERK and pAKT in the pretreatment and post-treatment samples and assessed the metabolic activity of pretreatment and post-treatment tumors using fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scanning.We accrued 12 patients and all expressed GRM1. We found a significant decrease in pAKT and/or pERK in post-treatment tumor samples as compared with pretreatment samples in 4 (34%) patients. These four patients had a significant decrease in FDG-PET intensity post-treatment as well. Two other patients had a clinical response with no corresponding metabolic response; five patients had similar pretreatment and post-treatment FDG-PET scan findings; and one patient had progressive disease.Our data show that glutamate blockade with riluzole can inhibit signaling through the mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT pathways and suppress the metabolic activity of melanoma. The ectopic expression of metabotropic glutamate receptors may be important in the pathogenesis of human melanoma, and targeting this pathway may be an effective therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-3303

    View details for Web of Science ID 000266659000031

    View details for PubMedID 19458050

  • Rewired ERK-JNK signaling pathways in melanoma CANCER CELL Lopez-Bergami, P., Huang, C., Goydos, J. S., Yip, D., Bar-Eli, M., Herlyn, M., Smalley, K. S., Mahale, A., Eroshkin, A., Aaronson, S., Ronai, Z. 2007; 11 (5): 447-460


    Constitutive activation of MEK-ERK signaling is often found in melanomas. Here, we identify a mechanism that links ERK with JNK signaling in human melanoma. Constitutively active ERK increases c-Jun transcription and stability, which are mediated by CREB and GSK3, respectively. Subsequently, c-Jun increases transcription of target genes, including RACK1, an adaptor protein that enables PKC to phosphorylate and enhance JNK activity, enforcing a feed-forward mechanism of the JNK-Jun pathway. Activated c-Jun is also responsible for elevated cyclin D1 expression, which is frequently overexpressed in human melanoma. Our data reveal that, in human melanoma, the rewired ERK signaling pathway upregulates JNK and activates the c-Jun oncogene and its downstream targets, including RACK1 and cyclin D1.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ccr.2007.03.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246439100007

    View details for PubMedID 17482134