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Associate Professor John Tam


Senior Consultant

Division of Surgical Oncology (Thoracic Surgery), National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS)  

Head and Senior Consultant

Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS)  

Associate Professor

Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)


A/Prof John Tam is a Senior Consultant and the founding Head of Thoracic Surgery at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore. He is also an Associate Professor, with tenure, with Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS. 


A/Prof Tam is a thoracic surgeon who performs the full spectrum of thoracic surgery, including benign and malignant diseases in the lung, mediastinum, pleura, chest wall, and diaphragm. Common conditions include lung cancer, mediastinal tumor, pneumothorax, empyema, pleural effusion, chest trauma, chest wall tumor, and pectus excavatum.


A/Prof Tam specializes in performing minimally invasive keyhole surgery using advanced Uniportal Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (UVATS) techniques.  He is a world-pioneer in Uniportal VATS lobectomy, performing the first one in June 25, 2009. UVATS techniques are well-liked by patients as they gain faster recovery and significantly less pain after surgery.


A/Prof Tam has many research publications in high impact refereed journals including Cell, Immunity, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature and top international journals in the field of Thoracic Surgery.  He is a member of the Residency Advisory Committee for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at the National level, and also holds various leadership and administrative appointments within the National University Hospital of Singapore. 


A/Prof Tam was awarded the SPRING Singapore Excellent Service Gold Awards in 2008 and 2009 in recognition of his excellent service to patients. He was awarded the NUS Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for 3 consecutive years from 2007 to 2010.


A/Prof Tam is certified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC). He was a Clinical Instructor at the Advance Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Center at the University of Pittsburgh in USA. Prior to that, he obtained the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree at the University of Alberta and underwent Thoracic Surgery training at the University of Manitoba in Canada. He also holds degrees in the Master of Education, Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with First Class Honors from Canada.


Education and Fellowship

HonBSc, MD, MSc, MEd, FRCSC (Thoracic Surgery)


Specialty Interests


Awards and Honours

  • SPRING Singapore Excellent Service Gold Awards (2008 - 2009)
  • NUS Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (2007- 2010)


Selected Publications

  1. Are medical students’ views of an ideal physician eroding? A study on perceived qualities of a “role model” doctor before and after housemanship and between two cohorts five years apart. Annals of Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Koh GCH, Tam J, Lee JNE, Agrawal N, Koh DR, Samarasekera D, Tan CH.
  2. Total Muscle Sparing Uniportal Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery Lobectomy. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2013;96(6):1982-6, Tam J & Lim KS.
  3. Massive pulmonary tuberculosis cavity misdiagnosed as pneumothorax. Respirology Case Reports 2013;1(2):23-25. Tam J & Lim KS.  
  4. Anti-malarial drug Artesunate inhibits primary human cultured airway smooth muscle cell proliferation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2014;50(2):451-458. Tan S, Ong B, Cheng C, Ho W, Tam J, Stewart AG, Harris T, Wong WSF & Tran T. 
  5. Laminin drives survival signals to promote a contractile smooth muscle phenotype and airway hyperreactivity. FASEB J 2013;27(10):3991-4003. Tran T, Teoh CM, Tam J, Qiao Y, Chin CY, Chong OK, Stewart AG, Harris T, Wong WS, Guan SP, Leung BP, Gerthoffer WT, Unruh H & Halayko AJ. 
  6. IRF4 Transcription Factor-Dependent CD11b+ Dendritic Cells in Human and Mouse Control Mucosal IL-17 Cytokine Responses. Immunity 2013;38(5):970-983. Schlitzer A, McGovern N, Teo P, Zelante T, Atarashi K, Low D, Ho AW, See P, Shin A, Wasan PS, Hoeffel G, Malleret B, Heiseke A, Chew S, Jardine L, Purvis HA, Hilkens CM, Tam J, Poidinger M, Stanley ER, Krug AB, Renia L, Sivasankar B, Ng LG, Collin M, Ricciardi-Castagnoli P, Honda K, Haniffa M & Ginhoux F. 
  7. Video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) repair of subclavian artery injury following central venous catheterization: A new approach. Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery 2013 Jul;17(1):13-5. Tam J, Asmat A & Tan AK. 
  8. Ethical Issues in Using Bronchial Biopsies for Asthma Research. Asian Bioethics Review 2012;4(3):183-197. Teoh CM, Tam J & Tran T. 
  9. Integrin and GPCR Crosstalk in the Regulation of ASM Contraction Signaling in Asthma. J Allergy 2012;2012:341282. Teoh CM, Tam J & Tran T. 
  10. Human tissues contain CD141(hi) cross-presenting dendritic cells with functional homology to mouse CD103(+) nonlymphoid dendritic cells. Immunity 2012;37:1–14. Haniffa M, Shin A, Bigley V, McGovern N, Teo P, See P, Wasan PS, Wang XN, Malinarich F, Malleret B, Larbi A, Tan P, Zhao H, Poidinger M, Pagan S, Cookson S, Dickinson R, Dimmick I, Jarrett RF, Renia L, Tam J, Song C, Connolly J, Chan JK, Gehring A, Bertoletti A, Collin M & Ginhoux F. 

Updated as of 21 September 2017