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R. Serene Perkins, MD, FACS

Director, Surgical and Clinical Research
Director, Legacy Institute for Surgical Education and Innovation
Program Director, Legacy Tumor Bank
Legacy Research Institute

Contact Info:

Telephone: 503-413-4343 | Fax: 503-413-4942 | Email:


Peer reviewed publications

Short Bio:

Dr. Perkins is the Director of Surgical and Clinical Research at the Legacy Research Institute, and a surgeon specializing in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgical oncology and abdominal organ transplantation. She is also the Director of the Legacy Institute for Surgical Education and Innovation, a Comprehensive Education Institute accredited by the American College of Surgeons, and the Legacy Tumor Bank, a College of American Pathologists accredited biorepository. She is also Co-Director of the institute’s Cancer Research Initiative.

She completed her M.D. from the Chicago Medical School, her surgical residency at Thomas Jefferson University, and her fellowship in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgical Oncology and Abdominal Organ Transplantation from the University of Toronto. She has extensive experience with multiple aspects of surgical education, with a focus on team training and innovation in educational modalities. She is an active member of several academic surgical organizations and has served on multiple committees committed to advancing global surgical education.

Dr. Perkins also leads the Department of Clinical and Outcomes Research, a vibrant team that oversees all clinical trials at Legacy Health, as well as investigator-initiated clinical outcomes research studies across our seven-hospital system. One of the major aims of this department is to prioritize patient outcomes as an indicator for health system functioning, as well as a tool for care transformation.

Publication Highlights:

Roadmap to Wellness: Exploring Live Customized Music at the Bedside for Hospitalized Children.
Perkins RS, Boyce M, Byrtek MC, Ellis RC, Hill C, Fitzpatrick PS and Demirel S
Front. Oncol. 2018 8:21.

Progressive Consent and Specimen Accrual Models to Address Sustainability: A Decade's Experience at an Oregon Biorepository.
Ost JA, Newton PW, Neilson DR, Cioffi JA, Wackym PA, Perkins RS.
Biopreserv Biobank. 2017 Feb;15(1):3-8.

Model for Team Training Using the Advanced Trauma Operative Management Course: Pilot Study Analysis.
Perkins RS, Lehner KA, Armstrong R, Gardiner SK, Karmy-Jones RC, Izenberg SD, Long WB 3rd, Wackym PA.
J Surg Educ. 2015 Nov-Dec;72(6):1200-8.

The Impact of a Hospital Garden on Pregnant Women and Their Partners.
Ulrich RS, Perkins RS.
J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2017 Apr/Jun;31(2):186-187.

Research Interests:

  • Hepato-pancreato-biliary cancer and transplantation
  • Surgical team training and coaching
  • Clinical trials and outcomes research
  • Biorepository standards and best practices
  • Adenosine kinase gene therapy for cancer

Research Focus:

Dr. Perkins has spearheaded, developed, and led academic scientific research programs that span the gamut of clinical, bench, and applied research. Her vision has been to provide interdisciplinary forums for the application of research methodologies in the clinical arena, with an ultimate goal to transform healthcare standards and practice.

  • Clinical and Outcomes Research. Dr. Perkins’s clinical and outcomes research team oversees all clinical trials at Legacy Health, as well as investigator-initiated clinical outcomes research studies across our seven-hospital system. Clinical trial research directly impacts patients and the greater medical community by providing information on whether a previously untested intervention works, is safe, and is better than currently available treatments. The availability of clinical trials within our Legacy Health is a direct indicator of our commitment to care transformation and performance excellence. Outcomes research assesses current treatment and system models functioning, and can be a powerful tool for care transformation. There has been ever-increasing demand for outcomes research at Legacy Health, as we strive to provide value based care to our growing Pacific Northwest population. One new initiative that this department has developed is a partnership between Randall Children’s Hospital and LRI called the Researching Outcomes Collaborative for Kids (ROCK), a strategic and intentional program to increase high quality pediatric research at Legacy Health.

  • Surgical Education and Coaching. Since her leadership of LISEI began in 2015, Dr. Perkins has strived to support the growing vision of the surgical community at large, and the American College of Surgeons and Committee on Trauma, to prioritize team training in order to optimize surgical care. Patients require high functioning teams that are nimble and flexible, in order to respond to rapid changes in the treatment environment. LISEI was the first in the nation to develop a simulation based team training model in partnership with Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, the first Level 1 trauma center in the Pacific Northwest. “ATOM(S)” – Advanced Trauma Operative Management for Scrubs – has been shown to demonstrate significant improvement in surgical team members’ knowledge and operations around trauma surgery (Journal of Surgical Education 2015;72(6):1200-8). LISEI’s comprehensive program includes surgical education courses that involve complex procedures such as robotic, advanced laparoscopic, and microvascular surgery. This program is vital as surgeon credentialing for complex procedures evolves, and adds value to current methods of surgical nurse and technician training and coaching. In 2017, LISEI was reaccredited as a Comprehensive Education Institute by the American College of Surgeons.

  • Surgical Oncology. For the past 15 years, Dr. Perkins has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer and other surgical diseases. She has a particular research interest in advanced, borderline resectable, unresectable, and metastatic cancers. The need for access to appropriately acquired and adequately stored tumor tissue has limited treatment options for these difficult-to-treat cancers, and ultimately patient outcomes. Her leadership of the Legacy Tumor Bank, which is a collaboration between patients, surgeons, and pathologists, has led to the accrual of a robust and diverse collection of nearly 8000 solid tumor samples, along with matched paired controls, as frozen, paraffin-embedded, and cell culture ready specimens. These specimens are provided to researchers both internally and externally for cancer research, with the hope that new discoveries will ultimately lead to improved cancer outcomes. As the Co-Director of LRI’s Cancer Research Initiative, she has leveraged the Legacy Tumor Bank to propel a home-grown and innovative research program which she aims to be a fruitful example of the bench-to-bedside model.