Joshua R. Sonett, MD

Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery (Board Certified, Primary Specialty)
Transplant Surgery
Cardiac Surgery (Board Certified)
Surgery, General (Board Certified)
Cancer Care
Office Phone: (212) 305-3408
One of America's Top Doctors
Rated one of New York Magazine's Best Doctors


Joshua R. Sonett MD FACS is the Edward C. and Anne K. Weiskopf Professor of Surgical Oncology (in Surgery) at CUMC, Chief of General Thoracic Surgery and Director, The Price Family Center for Comprehensive Chest Care, Lung and Esophageal Center. He is instrumental in making the Thoracic Surgery section at Columbia University Medical Center one of the best in the U.S. and he is one of the youngest professors of surgery at a major academic institution in the United States. Dr. Sonett is best known for his work on the multidisciplinary treatment of lung and esophageal malignancies. Leading work in minimally invasive treatment of lung and esophageal cancer, Dr. Sonett and his team at Columbia are innovators in the development and teaching techniques of Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) and Minimally Invasive Esophageal (MIE) surgery, allowing surgeons to incorporate these techniques into their daily practices. Dr. Sonett and his team make up one of the few programs in the country to employ a combination of maximal chemo and radiation and surgical therapies in the treatment of locally advanced lung malignancies. He is also a leader in multi-modality therapies for lung and esophageal cancers, and a pioneer in endo-bronchial palliation of benign and malignant airway stenosis. In the clinical area of lung transplantation, Dr. Sonett is best known for developing an extended-donor lung transplant criteria protocol. Extended donor criteria (EDC) applies to the use of organs that don't meet the usual criteria for transplantation due to various health problems, but are still healthy enough for a successful transplant (Liver MD 2006). Dr. Sonett and his team have been aggressively trying to alleviate the donor shortage by evaluating lungs that may be rejected from other centers (CS News 2005). Between 2001 and 2003, 53 percent of the lungs transplanted at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia were extended donor criteria lungs, with no difference in survival between EDC lung recipients and regular lung recipients. The Columbia programs has a 95% survival rate after one year and 83% after three years, which far surpasses the national average of 79% and 62% respectively (CS Lung News 2006). Dr. Sonett has been an invited speaker and principal and co- investigator of numerous clinical trials, author of numerous publications in renown journals such as the Journal of The American College of Cardiology, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, and the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplant, among many others. Dr. Sonett received his MD from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University Medical School, and completed his surgical residency at the University of Massachusetts, and Thoracic Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Professional Memberships include the New York Thoracic Society, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgeons Dr. Sonett has received numerous award and honors including annual awards to America's Top Doctors, Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors for Cancer, New York Magazine's Best Doctors, the Barbara Neibauer Celebration of Life Award, Foundation for Thymic Cancer and the Humanitarian Award, Chesed of New Square. 

Area of Expertise

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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield [PPO]

Medicaid [CT, NJ, NY]

Medicare [Medicare, Railroad]


Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine

Internship: University of Massachusetts Medical Center

Residency: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Fellowship: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY


Journals - Peer Reviewed

  1. Shah L., Walter KL, Borczuk AC, Kawut SM, Sonett JR, et al. Expression of syndecan-1 and expression of epidermal growth factor receptor are associated with survival in patients with nonsmall cell lung carcinoma. Cancer, August 23. 2004
  2. Merlo, C.A., Studer, S.M., Conte, J.V., Yang, S.C., Sonett, J.R., Orens, J.B. The course of neurofibromatiosis Type 1 on immunosuppression after lung transplantation: Report of 2 cases. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 2004;23:774-6
  3. III Jaretzki, A., Steinglass, K.M., Sonett, J.R., Thymectomy in the Management of Myasthenia Gravis. Seminars in Neurology, March 24(1): 49-62. 2004
  4. III Jaretzki, A., Steinglass, K.M., Sonett, J.R., Thymectomy for myasthenia gravis: a review of the controversies, Osp ital chir, Febbraio 10: 38-44. 2004
  5. Morgan, J.A., Ginsburg, M.E., Sonett, J.R., Argenziano M. Thoracoscopic Lobectomy using Robotic Technology. Heart Surgical Form; 6(6): 167-9.2003
  6. Sonett, J.R., Suntharalingam, M., Edelman, M.J., Patel, A.B., et al. Induction curative intent radiotherapy (>59Gy) and concurrent chemotherapy with surgical resection in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Operative feasibility and mid-term survival. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, October 2004.
  7. Mercer, B.A., Kolesnikova N, Sonett, J.R., D’Armiento J. Extracellular regulated kinase/mitogen activated protein kinase is up-regulated in pulmonary emphysema and mediates matrix metalloproteinase-1 induction by cigarette smoke. Journal of Biological Chemistry, April 23; 279(19): 17690-6. 2004
  8. Morgan, J.A., Ginsburg, M.E., Sonett J.R., Morales D.L.S., Kohmoto T, Gorenstein, L.A., Smith C.R., Argenziano M. Advanced Thoracoscopic Procedures are Facilitated by Computer-Aided Robotic Technology. European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, June 23 (6): 883-887.2003
  9. Jiao X, Sonett J.R., Gamliel Z, Doyle A, Schuetz, Greenwald B, Suntharalingam M, Krasna M.J. Trimodality treatment verus surgery alone for esophageal cancer. A Stratified analysis with minimally invasive pretreatment staging. Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery, Aug 43 (4): 531-537.2002
  10. Krasna, M.J., Jiao X, Mao YS, Sonett, J.R., Gamliel Z, Kwong K, Burrows W, Flowers J.L., Greenwald B, White C. Thorascoscopy/ Laproscopy in the staging of Esophageal cancer: Maryland experience. Surgical Laparoscopy Endoscopy Percutaneous Technology, Aug.12 (4): 213-218.2002
  11. Krasna, M.J., Jiao, Xiaolong, Sonett J.R., Gamliel, Z, Eslami, A, Raefaly Y, Mao, Y. Thoracoscopic and Laparoscopic Lymph Node Staging in Esophageal Cancer: Do Clinicopathaological factors affect the outcome?. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, June 73: (6) 1710-1713.2002
  12. Suntharalingam, M., Haas, M.L., Sonett J.R., Doyle, L.A., Hausner P.F., Schuetz, J., Greenwald B., Krasna M.J. Accurate Lymph Node Assessment Prior to Trimodality therapy for esophageal carcinoma. The Cancer Journal, Nov-Dec.7 (6): 509-515.2001
  13. Sonett, J.R. Local complication of non-small-cell-lung cancer. The Cancer Journal, Nov-Dec. 7(6):509-515.2001
  14. Jiao X, Krasna MJ, Sonett J.R., Gamliel Z., Suntharallingam M., Doyle A., Greenwald B. Pretreatment surgical lymph node staging predicts results of trimodality therapy in esophageal cancer. European Journal Cardiothoracic Surgery, June19 (6): 880-886.2001
  15. Sonett,J.R. Esophagectomy: The role of the intrathoracic anastomosis. Chest Clinics of North America, 10(3):519-530. 2000.
  16. Kennedy,A.S., Sonett,J.R., Orens,J.B., & King,K. High dose rate brachytherapy to prevent recurrent benign hyperplasia in lung transplant bronchi: theorectical and clinical considerations. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 19(2):155-159. 2000.
  17. Krasna,M.J., Jiao,X., Sonett,J.R., Gamliel,Z., King,K. Thoracoscopic sympathectomy. Surgical Laparoscopy & Endoscopy, 10:314-318. 2000.
  18. Suntharalingam M., Sonett J.R., Haas M.L., Doyle L.A. Hausner P.F., Schuetz J., Krasna M.J. The use of concurrent chemotherapy with high-dose radiation before surgical resection in patients presenting with apical sulcus tumors. The Cancer Journal, Nov-Dec;6(6): 365-371.2000
  19. Sonett, J.R., Krasna,M.J., Suntharalingam,M., Schuetz,J., Gamliel,Z., & McLaughlin, J. Safe pulmonary resection after chemotherapy and high dose thoracic radiation. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 68: 368-420.1999.
  20. Sonett, J.R. VATS and thoracic oncology: Anathema or opportunity. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 68: 795-796. 1999.

Book Chapters

  1. Krasna M.J., Sonett J.R., Gamliel Z.: Video-assisted approaches to staging of esophageal carcinoma, In Pearson, G.F., Cooper J.D., Deslauriers, J., Ginsberg R.J., Heibert, C.A., Patterson, G.A. and Urschel, H.C. Jr. Esophageal Surgery. Churchill Livingston, 694-704. 2002
  2. Sonett, J.R. Esophagectomy: The role of the intrathoracic anastomosis. Chest Clinics of North America, 10(3):519-530. 2000
  3. Sonett, J.R., Krasna,M.J., Thoracoscopic staging for intrathoracic malignancy, In: Yim,A.P., Hazelrigg,S., Izzat,M.B., Landreneau,R., Mack,M., & Naunheim,K. (Eds.), Minimal Access Cardiothoracic Surgery. Philadelphia: WB Saunders,183-193. 1999.
  4. Sonett JR: Lung Volume Reduction Surgery: Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Approaches, In Argenziano, M, Ginsburg ME (Eds), Lung Volume Reduction Surgery. Humana Press Inc., Towtowa, NJ.
  5. Sonett JR: Bronchoscopy: Diagnostic and endobronchial treatment of benign and malignant disease, Yang, S, Cameron, D (Eds), Current Therapy in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Harcourt, Philadelphia, PA.
  6. Sonett JR: Pulmonary Nodules and Masses. Demmy, TL (ed), Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS). Landes bioscience. Georgetown, TX.

Herbert Irving Pavilion

161 Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY 10032

Phone: (212) 305-3408

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Edward C. and Anne K. Weiskopf Professor of Surgical Oncology (in Surgery) at CUMC

  • America's Top Doctors, 2015
  • Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors for Cancer, 2014
  • New York Magazine's Best Doctors 2001-2016
  • Barbara Neibauer Celebration of Life Award, Foundation for Thymic Cancer, 2014
  • Humanitarian Award, Chesed of New Square
  • Honoree, First Annual Emerald Ball
  • National Cancer Prevention Fund, AMC Chesapeake Chapter, 1999
  • Research Grant, International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, 1990
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, 1988
  • Alternate Brody Fellow, 1984-1988
  • Phi Lambda Upsilon National Chemistry Honor Society, 1984