Victoria Lao, MD, PHD

Specialties
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Primary Office
Address 601 North Flamingo Road
Suite 408
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028

About Me

I am a colorectal surgeon at Memorial Healthcare System. I surgically treat a wide array of colon, rectal and anal pathology, including but not limited to malignant disease (colon and rectal cancer), inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and ulcerative colitis), diverticular disease, as well as benign anorectal disease such as fistulas, fissures, perirectal abscess, pilonidal disease, hemorrhoids, fecal incontinence and rectal prolapse. I also perform colonoscopies to screen for inflammation and disease, and for surgical planning.

I was inspired to become a physician by my PhD advisor and mentor, Dr. Lawrence C. Sowers. I really enjoyed research and was well on my way to becoming a scientist when he taught me that research is only as good as the questions that one asks. I realized then that caring for patients would allow me to identify some of the most clinically relevant problems that require research time and dollars. Research and clinical work go hand-in-hand in uncovering discoveries that can shape the future of patient care.

As a colorectal surgeon, I'm able to offer options to patients with problems that can be very private and debilitating. It's rewarding to be able to diagnose and help fix a problem that, in turn, can have a huge impact on someone's daily life. I also enjoy the relationships that I develop with my patients, and empowering them with knowledge and choices about their condition.

In addition to providing patient care and research, I currently serve as a council member for the South Florida Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and am a mother of two children.

Related Medical Services

Education

Education
  • Loma Linda University School Of Medicine, 2008
Internships
  • University of Washington, 2009, Surgery
Residencies
  • University of Washington, 2017, Surgery
Fellowships
  • Cleveland Clinic Florida, 2018, Colon and Rectal Surgery
Languages
  • Thai

Achievements

Awards

  • Schilling Third Place Award for Abstract Podium Presentation 2011 
  • Schilling Resident Research Fellow Award 2009 
  • Walter E. Macpherson Society Outstanding Student Researcher Award 2007 
  • Walter E. Macpherson Society Outstanding Student Researcher Award 2006 
  • Pfizer Award-American Association for Cancer Research: Chromatin, Chromosomes, and Cancer Epigenetics 2004 
  • Young Investigator Travel Award-Gordon Research Conference: Mutagenesis and Carcinogenesis 2004 
  • Loma Linda University Seventh Annual Research Symposium, 2004, First Place for Excellent Scientific Presentation 
  • Loma Linda University Sixth Annual Research Symposium, 2003, Excellent Oral Presentation Award 
  • American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), Pacific Division, 2001 
  • Geraldine K. Lindsay Award for Excellence in the Natural Sciences for work on the characterization of KpnBI R-M system
  • American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), Pacific Division, 2001 First Place Award in Biological Sciences for work on the characterization of KpnBI R-M system
  • Loma Linda University Fourth Annual Research Symposium, 2001, Third Place for Poster Presentation University of California Berkeley Alumni Scholar Award, 1995

Professional Organizations

  • American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 
  • American College of Surgeons 
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Epsilon Chapter, California 
  • American Medical Association

Research

I enjoy research just as much as my clinical practice of caring for patients. My research focuses on mechanisms for the link between inflammation and the development of cancer, as well as studying molecular markers for response to chemotherapy therapy for colon and rectal cancers.

Recently, my research interests expanded to include studying the effects of different techniques of rectal cancer resection on the quality of the pathology specimen. I am interested in identifying serum markers for early identification of anastomotic leaks, and in investigating strategies for decreasing infertility rates in women after pelvic operations, particularly in J-pouch operations.

Presentations

  • Academic Surgical Congress February 2013, New Orleans, LA Podium presentation: Altered RecQ Helicase Expression in Sporadic Primary Colorectal Cancers
  • Academic Surgical Congress February 2012, Las Vegas, NV 
    Podium Presentation: The Role of TIMP3 in the Pathogenesis of Colorectal Cancer and TIMP3 Promoter Methylation as a Potential Predictive Marker for EGFR Inhibitor Therapy 
  • Frontiers in Gastroenterology, University of Washington, 2011, Seattle, WA Invited Speaker: Novel Molecular Signatures of Colorectal Cancer 
  • Friday Night Seminar Series, Division of Basic Sciences and Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 2011, Seattle, WA 
    Invited Speaker: Methylated TIMP3 is a Potential Predictive Marker for EGFR Inhibitor Therapy in Colorectal Cancer 
  • American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, 2011 
    Podium Presentation: Methylated TIMP3: A Potential Predictive Marker for EGFR Inhibitor Therapy in Colorectal Cancers, Vancouver BC 
  • Schilling Annual Resident Research Symposium, University of Washington, 2011, Seattle, WA 
    Podium Presentation: Methylated TIMP3 is a Potential Predictive Marker for EGFR Inhibitor Therapy in Colorectal Cancers 
  • UNMC Surgical Research Forum, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2010 Omaha, NE 
    Invited Speaker: Cancer Epigenetics American Chemical Society National Meeting, 2008, Philadelphia, PA Invited Speaker: Inflammation Mediated DNA Damage Induces Epigenetic Changes 
  • Environmental Mutagen Society Annual Meeting, 2006, Vancouver BC 
    Invited Speaker: Impact of DNA damage on epigenetic signals Loma Linda University Sixth Annual Research Symposium, 2003, Loma Linda, CA Podium Presentation: Oxidative DNA damage can alter epigenetic patterns

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