Dr. Robert Taylor Ripley

Dr. Taylor Ripley

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Taylor Ripley is the Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine’s Lung Institute. He was personally selected by Dr. Sugarbaker to be his successor after proving his capabilities in mesothelioma treatment, surgical oncology and cardiothoracic research.

  • Procedure Robotic Surgery
  • Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine 6620 Main St. Suite 1325, Houston, Texas 77030

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About Dr. Ripley

Dr. Taylor Ripley previously worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Dr. Ripley’s surgical experience is well-balanced, yet focuses heavily on thoracic oncology, including mesothelioma. He is also a proponent of minimally invasive surgical techniques and is leading ground-breaking research in cancer profiling and mesothelioma cell mutation.

Dr. Ripley’s Background

Dr. Robert Taylor Ripley, known more commonly as Dr. Taylor Ripley, began his studies in biochemistry at Boston College, before pursuing medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and graduating in 2004.

Dr. Ripley completed his general surgery residency at the University of Colorado, followed by a fellowship in thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, focusing on thoracic surgical oncology.

During his work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Ripley worked alongside many of the most significant names in mesothelioma research and surgery. Later, Dr. Ripley became a Thoracic Surgeon and Principal Investigator for the NCI.

Dr. Ripley made a name for himself while working at NCI as an associate professor of surgery for the Thoracic and Oncologic Surgery Branch.

His research work on esophageal adenocarcinoma discovered specific p53-mutations that could be recognized during treatment to determine the likelihood of a favorable outcome, and this discovery won the NCI Director’s Innovation Award in 2016.

Dr. Ripley also created and served on the NCI’s Foregut Team, which focuses on research and clinical trials for patients with tumors in the foregut. This Foregut Team is a multidisciplinary team that operates out of the National Institute of Health.

Baylor College of Medicine

In 2018, Dr. Taylor Ripley was recruited by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker to take his place at Baylor College of Medicine’s St. Luke’s Medical Center, as Director of the world-class Mesothelioma Treatment Center.

He is also an Associate Professor Surgery for Baylor College of Medicine’s thoracic surgery division.

Dr. Ripley’s priority is treating patients with mesothelioma, although he also works with patients who have lung cancer, thymic cancer, esophageal cancer, and metastatic disease.

“My primary clinical focus is on the treatment of patients in the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, I treat patients with all thoracic cancers including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, thymic cancers, and metastatic disease.”  – Dr. Taylor Ripley

As well as running Baylor’s mesothelioma program, Dr. Ripley continues his groundbreaking research that profiles mitochondrial pathways and protein signals as a method of assessing thoracic cancer outcomes.

This research has displayed promising results and may lead to a significant breakthrough in diagnosing and treating thoracic cancers in the future.

Awards and Contributions

  • 2016 NCI Director’s Innovation Award
  • Dean’s Scholar
  • Dan May Scholarship
  • Albert J. McGuinn Award

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Board of Thoracic Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery

Medical Specializations

Dr. Ripley has several medical specializations, including thoracic surgery, minimally invasive robotic surgery, and cancer profiling research.

Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Ripley has over ten years’ experience working with mesothelioma patients and is board-certified in cardiothoracic surgery.

Most of his career has focused on thoracic medicine, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and thymic cancer.

He is professionally interested in chest wall tumors and chest wall reconstruction, making him well-suited to working with pleural mesothelioma patients.

Robotic and VATS Surgery

Dr. Ripley has also been drawn to robotic thoracic surgery and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and has ample experience with these minimally invasive surgical techniques.

VATS can be used during the initial diagnosis of mesothelioma and other chest cancers and during numerous smaller surgical procedures.

“I utilize robotic surgery to minimize the size of surgical incisions whenever feasible.” – Dr. Taylor Ripley

Although minimally invasive surgery isn’t possible with mesothelioma treatment, having a surgeon who understands when “less is more” is essential.

Patients of Dr. Ripley can rest assured that they are in safe hands, as he is at the forefront of medical innovation and will only do as much as medically necessary to combat any issues.

Dynamic BH3 Cancer Profiling Research

Dr. Ripley is leading new research that helps diagnose and develop better treatment plans for patients with squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Dr. Ripley’s research has made a significant discovery about mitochondria and the way they interact with cancer cells. This discovery helps predict how successful treatment may be.

“My clinical and research interests are in the treatment of mesothelioma and esophageal cancer through changing the cellular energetics with a technique called Dynamic BH3 Profiling.” – Dr. Taylor Ripley

The standard treatment for esophageal cancer patients is neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, followed by surgery.

Dr. Ripley and his colleagues observed that mitochondria play an essential roll in cell death (apoptosis) and developed a method of measuring proteins in mitochondria that indicate whether a cell is likely to die soon.

This technique is called Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3) and would be used after chemoradiotherapy but before surgery to determine whether a patient’s tumor is likely to die.

Dr. Ripley is applying this research to mesothelioma cells as well. His team is currently working to map the evolution of mesothelial cells into mesothelioma cells, in an attempt to better understand the mutation process.

Once the process is better understood, Dr. Ripley and his colleagues can find new ways to interrupt or stop the mutation. It’s this biochemical research that very well may lead the world to a cure for mesothelioma.

Getting Specialized Mesothelioma Treatment

Knowing you have pleural mesothelioma can be scary and overwhelming, but Dr. Ripley gives patients their best chance at survival.

As Director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College, Dr. Ripley has the expertise, skills, and resources to help mesothelioma fight their diagnosis.

People who work with Dr. Ripley recognize him as a highly intelligent expert in his field. He can help patients review their options and develop a treatment plan that works for their personal needs.

If you’re interested in working with Dr. Ripley, or any other pleural mesothelioma experts, contact our Justice Support Team.

Call us at (888) 360-4215 or request our FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide for more helpful information on choosing a mesothelioma specialist.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Cancer Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

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