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Ajay Maker


Surgical oncologist
Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology

Dr. Ajay V. Maker is a surgical oncologist and chief of the UCSF Division of Surgical Oncology. He is an expert in surgically treating complex gastrointestinal and hepatopancreatobiliary diseases (those affecting the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts), as well as melanomas and sarcomas.

Maker's research aims to improve early detection of pancreas cancer and to develop new therapies for treating metastases (cancers that have spread from a primary site in the body). Under grants awarded by the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health (NIH), he works on designing novel immunotherapies (treatments that harness the immune system to fight tumors), particularly for liver metastases from colon cancer.

Maker earned his medical degree at Yale School of Medicine. He completed a residency in general surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. He trained in surgical oncology at the NIH and completed postdoctoral studies in tumor immunology at the National Cancer Institute; this research included working in trials that led to approval by the Food and Drug Administration of ipilimumab as a new treatment for metastatic melanoma. He later completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and then gained experience in minimally invasive surgical techniques at the University of Paris. He came to UCSF from his hometown of Chicago, where he was a tenured professor of surgery and of microbiology and immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In 2015, Maker was the European Society of Surgical Oncology's international traveling fellow and was later honored with the Society of Surgical Oncology's Clinical Investigator Award. He has published more than 170 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters, and he lectures all over the world. He serves on the editorial boards of many surgical and scientific journals; serves on NIH study sections, which evaluate the merit of proposed research; and has held leadership positions in numerous academic and scientific societies, including program chair of the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association and chair of the Society of Surgical Oncology's gastrointestinal working group. He is also active in various medical societies, including the Surgical Biology Club, Western Surgical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology and Pancreas Club. He has been named numerous times to Castle Connolly's Top Doctors and Top Doctors for Cancer lists. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and Society of Surgical Oncology.

  • Education

    Yale School of Medicine, MD, 2001

  • Residencies

    Brigham and Women's Hospital, Surgery, 2008

  • Fellowships

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Surgical Oncology, 2010

  • Academic Title


"Our mission is to take care of patients the best way we know how. It is a very personal mission."

Where I see patients (4)

    My work

    Dr. Maker at work

    Spend a day with this surgical oncologist as he cares for a patient with cancer and shares what drives his passion for medicine, including growing up with a doctor for a dad.

    Cancer surgery has been my calling since I did rounds with my father as a child, and I dedicated my career to providing skillful, compassionate care.

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    114 Ratings
    About our process
    Nov 16, 2023
    Outstanding care and concern
    Nov 11, 2023
    I don't think the care provider had the sense of urgency that my primary oncologist had conveyed to him regarding my surgery.
    Sep 14, 2023
    Very good care from A to Z .
    Jun 17, 2023
    Dr. Maker said he try and straignten out the confusion and outline the steps in MyChart. Unfortunately this has been an delay in my treatment. Hem/Onc comunicated with me before GI and Head and Neck.
    Feb 07, 2023
    I would definitely recommend to everyone I know.
    Dec 08, 2022
    I really appreciate and like Dr. Maker
    Dec 01, 2022
    This review is for Dr. Ajay Maker the chief of UCSF's Surgical Oncology department who just cured my stomach cancer! Three months ago when I was diagnosed for stomach cancer I started the journey of finding the best team to help me fighting this tough disease. I was fortunate to meet Dr. Maker during my chemo treatment. My first consultation with him went really well. I was very impressed by Dr. Maker's expertise integrity and his particular way of approaching patient care. I trust him not just because he is THE top oncology surgeon but also his clear focus on me his patient. He made sure the surgery would be beneficial to my condition before I made the decision; he is one of the few surgeons (nationwide I think) who's experienced to perform a D2 lymphadenotomy which provides higher confidence level of a complete cancer removal; in addition to a clean surgery removing all cancers he also tried to save me as much stomach as possible so I can enjoy a better quality life for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for Dr. Maker! If you or your loved one are in the same shoes I would highly recommend Dr. Maker with my heart and full confidence. Thanks again Dr. Maker for curing my cancer! I am forever grateful ^_^
    Nov 11, 2022
    I am eternally grateful to Dr. Maker for saving my life. I cannot say enough wonderful things about him! I am so lucky he joined UCSF last year. He is the best of the best!
    Nov 03, 2022
    Dr A J Maker was outstanding in every way and all of his staff was so good and helpful. I was so scared when I came in and he helped me through!
    Aug 19, 2022
    He was very polite and he explained me everything in very detail. I thank him for that.
    Jul 28, 2022
    Everything was very professional and timely and wonderful experience
    Jul 10, 2022
    An excellent experience
    Apr 28, 2022
    Thanks for everything
    Apr 23, 2022
    Dr Maker was extraordinary. He made me feel like I could have total confidence in him.
    Please check with your health insurance plan regarding coverage for this type of care. Not all providers at UCSF are covered by every insurance plan.