Rochester, Minnesota


Thiels.Cornelius@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


Health services researcher Cornelius A. Thiels, D.O., M.B.A., focuses on quality improvement, implementation science, outcomes research and surgical clinical trials. The goal of his research is to improve outcomes for patients with advanced and rare abdominal cancers who undergo surgery at Mayo Clinic.

As a cancer surgeon, Dr. Theils specializes in the surgical management of patients with sarcomas, pancreatic cancer and metastatic colon cancer. He has special expertise in multimodal treatment for advanced or metastatic cancers, in which surgery is combined with radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Dr. Thiels uses minimally invasive techniques to perform a variety of operations, including robotic surgery. He also leads the hepatic artery infusion pump program at Mayo Clinic.

Focus areas

  • Patient-reported outcomes after cancer surgery. Dr. Thiels' lab conducts studies aimed at improving the quality of life in patients undergoing cancer surgery. His prior research investigated long-term survivors of pancreas cancer, patients undergoing minimally invasive cancer operations and patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
  • Process optimization. Dr. Thiels' research focuses on methodologies to optimize surgical practice, including increasing the efficiency, safety and value of care. His lab analyzes data from numerous large, structured data sets using traditional statistical methodologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Hepatic artery infusion pump chemotherapy. Dr. Thiels leads a prospective trial aimed at understanding the impact of intensive cancer treatment strategies, such as hepatic artery infusion pump chemotherapy on patient quality of life.
  • Health policy research. Dr. Thiels' prior work on outpatient surgery, opioid prescribing and patient care perspectives has numerous health policy implications. In a related position, he also serves as the state chair of the Minnesota Commission on Cancer.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Thiels' work is aimed at improving how patients with cancer receive care and on the outcomes of that care. Though much of his work uses large databases at the system level, the ultimate goal of his research is to improve the care that each individual patient receives.

Professional highlights

  • Minnesota state chair, Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons, 2022-2025.
  • Career Development Award, Mayo Clinic Department of Surgery, 2021.
  • Dr. Murray F. Brennan/Gorin Fellowship Endowment, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 2020.
  • H.K. Gray Travel Award, Mayo Clinic, 2018.
  • Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award, Mayo Clinic, 2018.
  • Dr. Kaare K. Nygaard Travel Award, Mayo Clinic, 2017.
  • Inlow Award, Mayo Clinic, 2017.


Primary Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant, Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery, Department of Surgery

Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Surgery
  2. Assistant Professor of Health Services Research


  1. Chief Fellow - Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowshp Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  2. Resident Surgery, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. Chief Resident Mayo Clinic
  4. Research Scholar - Surgical Outcomes Research Fellowship Mayo Clinic
  5. Internship - General Surgery Mayo Clinic
  6. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
  7. MBA - Healthcare Administration Rockhurst University
  8. BA - Zoology Miami University

Clinical Studies

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