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Home > Our Doctors > Our Doctors > Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery > Associate Professor John Tam Kit Chung

Associate Professor John Tam Kit Chung

BSc (Honors), MD, MSc, MEd, FRCSC (Thoracic Surgery)


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

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

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


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


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.


Prof Tam specializes in performing minimally invasive keyhole surgery using advanced  techniques in Uniportal Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (UVATS).  He is a world-pioneer in Uniportal VATS lobectomy, performing the first one in June 25, 2009. Since then, thousands of patients have benefitted from this technique. UVATS techniques are well-liked by patients as they gain faster recovery and significantly less pain after surgery. Prof Tam is a champion of pain reduction and enhanced recovery protocols after surgery to maximize patient comfort and well-being.


Prof Tam is a surgical innovator and has many research publications in high impact refereed journals including Nature, Cell, Immunity, New England Journal of Medicine, 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 holds many leadership and administrative appointments within the National University Health System and National University of Singapore. 


Prof Tam is a passionate educator and has a proven track record of leadership and mentorship in higher education. He was an Associate of the Centre of Medical Education at NUS, and was a lead faculty of numerous faculty development and pedagogical development workshops and programs. He was invited as faculty-facilitator for five courses in the Harvard Medical International-NUS “Essentials for Clinician Teachers” series. He was the Director of Undergraduate Medical Education in both the Department of Surgery and the Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery (CTVS) in 2006 to 2011, during which he successful led a major reform of the entire undergraduate curriculum in surgery. He is an examiner of the FRCS Cardio-Thoracic exit examination in Singapore held jointly with Royal college of Edinburgh and College of Hong Kong since 2007. He is core faculty of both the Cardio-Thoracic Surgery and General Surgery residency programs. He is Director of the Advanced Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Fellowship Program in the National University Hospital (NUH), and Chairman of the Program Evaluation Committee in the Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Residency Program at NUHS.


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 in 2007-2010. He achieved the Public Healthcare Clinician Special Recognition Award in 2013. He is recognized as a key opinion leader in lung surgery, and was featured as an invited panel speaker in the televised ChannelNewsAsia Perspective series on lung cancer treatment in 2017.


Prof Tam is 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 earned degrees in Master of Education, Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with First Class Honors in Canada.


Specialty Interest(s):

  • General Thoracic Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery
  • Uniportal Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (UVATS)
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)


Specializes in Diseases and Conditions:

Lung cancer


Mediastinal cancer


Tumors within the chest


Fluid or infection within the pleural cavity



Chest wall deformities or pectus excavatum




Thoracic trauma


Treatment of end stage lung disease


Awards and Honours

  • SPRING Singapore Excellent Service Gold Awards, 2008-2009
  • NUHS Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards, 2007-2010


News Article


  1. Human Fetal Dendritic Cells Promote Prenatal T-Cell Immune Suppression Through Arginase-2. Nature 2017;546(7660):662-66. McGovern N, Shin A, Low G, Low D, Duan K, Yao LJ, Msallam R, Low I, Shadan NB, Sumatoh HR, Soon E, Lum J, Mok E, Hubert S, See P, Kunxiang EH, Lee YH, Janela B, Choolani M, Mattar CNZ, Fan Y, Lim TKH, Hong DK, Tan KK, Tam JKC, Schuster C, Elbe-Burger A, Wang XN, Bigley V, Collin M, Haniffa M, Schlitzer A, Poidinger M, Albani S, Larbi A, Newell EW, Chan JKY, Ginhoux F.

  2. CD151, a Laminin Receptor showing Increased Expression in Asthmatic Patients, contributes to Airway Hyperresponsiveness through Calcium Signaling. J Allergy Cln Immunol 2017;139(1):82-92. Qiao Y, Tam JK, Tan SS, Tai YK, Chin CY, Stewart AG, Ashman L, Sekiquchi K, Langenbach S, Stelmack G, Halayko AJ, Tran T.

  3. Resonance Imaging for Assessing Surgical Resectability of Mediastinal Tumors. Cardiovasc Imaging Asia 2017;1(2):116-123. Ong CC, Seet JE, Tam J, Teo LL. The Diagnostic Utility of Cardiac-Gated Magnetic

  4. The Impact of Education Reform: An Asian Medical School’s Experience. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2016;45(5):198-204. Koh GCH, Lee JNE, Tam J, Samarasekera D, Koh DR, Wong JEL.

  5. Quantitative Accuracy and Lesion Detectability of Low-Dose FDG-PET for Lung Cancer Screening. J Nucl Med 2016;58(3):399-405. Schaefferkoettter JD, Yan J, Sjoholm T, Townsend DW, Conti M, Tam JK, Soo RA, Tham I.

  6. An Evaluation of a Student-Led Faculty-Supported Inter-Professional Student Medical-Nursing Education Conference (SMEC). The Singapore Family Physician 2016;42(3):70-74. Kee AR, Durnford JR, Lim FY, Chow EWX, Qian KHO, Prakash P, Tam JKC, Koh GCH.

  7. A High-Dimensional Atlas of Human T Cell Diversity Reveals Tissue-Specific Trafficking and Cytokine Signatures. Immunity 2016;45(2):442-56. Wong MT, Ong DEH, Lim, FSH, Teng KWW, McGovern N, Narayanan S, Ho WQ, Cerny D, Tan HKK, Anicete R, Tan BK, Lim TKH, Chan CY, Cheow PC, Lee, SY, Takano A, Tan EH, Tam JKC, Tan EY, Chan JKY, Fink K, Bertoletti A, Ginhoux F, de Lafaille MAC, Newell EW.

  8. 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.

  9. Total Muscle Sparing Uniportal Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery Lobectomy. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2013;96(6):1982-6. Tam J & Lim KS.

  10. Massive pulmonary tuberculosis cavity misdiagnosed as pneumothorax. Respirology Case Reports 2013;1(2):23-25. Tam J & Lim KS.  

  11. 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. 

  12. 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. 

  13. 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. 

  14. 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. 

  15. Ethical Issues in Using Bronchial Biopsies for Asthma Research. Asian Bioethics Review 2012;4(3):183-197. Teoh CM, Tam J & Tran T. 

  16. Integrin and GPCR Crosstalk in the Regulation of ASM Contraction Signaling in Asthma. J Allergy 2012;2012:341282. Teoh CM, Tam J & Tran T. 

  17. 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. 


For more publications, click here. 

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