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Dr. James Donahue

Dr. James Donahue

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. James Donahue is an associate professor and section chief of thoracic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Cancer Center, handling cases of pleural mesothelioma.

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About James Donahue

  • Pleural and Lung Cancer icon

    Pleural and Lung Cancer

  • Research Excellence icon

    Excellence in Research

  • Board Certified icon

    Board Certified in Surgery

Get to Know Dr. James Donahue

Thoracic surgeon Dr. James Donahue, a former Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan, joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center in a leadership role as section chief in 2017.

Donahue served previously at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he helped build the thoracic oncology program at the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

His clinical specialties include lung cancer, esophageal cancer and pleural mesothelioma cancer. He has expertise in chest wall surgery and tracheal resection and reconstruction.

For the treatment of mesothelioma, Donahue has embraced the multidisciplinary approach that includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, along with the novel immunotherapy drugs that have improved the lives of so many cancer patients.

His research focuses on post-transcriptional gene regulation in esophageal cancer cells, which are used in identifying novel therapeutic targets for management of the disease.

“As a scientist, I was struck by UAB’s commitment to basic science research and the spirit of collaboration that I sensed throughout the institution,” Donahue said. “I’ve been extremely impressed with the experience and dedication of the thoracic surgery team.”

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Specialties of Dr. James Donahue

  • Pleural mesothelioma

  • Pleurectomy and decortication surgery

  • Lung cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Chest wall tumors

  • Minimally invasive surgery

  • Mediastinal tumors

  • Pneumothorax

Dr. James Donahue’s Experience and Medical Education

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Baltimore VA Medical Center

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (Residency)

  • Mayo Clinic (Fellowship)

  • Harvard Medical School (MD)

Awards and Other Recognitions

  • American Board of Surgery (Certification)

  • Associate professor of surgery

  • James H. Estes Family Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research

  • Navy reservist

  • Top-Performing Provider, UAB Medicine

  • Society of University Surgeons (Member)

Publications of Dr. James Donahue

  • Phatak, P. et al. (2018, June). MiR-199a-3p decreases esophageal cancer cell proliferation by targeting p21 activated kinase 4. Oncotarget.

  • Towe, C.W. et al. (2018, May). Restrictive Transfusion Practices After Esophagectomy Are Associated With Improved Outcome: A Review of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Database. Annals of Surgery.

  • Kumar, R., Donahue, J. (2018, January). Editorial for economic impact of enhanced recovery pathway for lung resection. Journal of Thoracic Disease.

  • Gaissert, H.A. et al. (2016, November). The Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery Database: 2016 Update on Research. Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Disclaimer: Dr. James Donahue has no professional affiliation with

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1 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. UAB Medicine. About James Donahue. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

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Last Modified August 20, 2020

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