Faculty Profile: Francois Luks, MD, PhD

Francois Luks
Francois Luks, MD, PhD
Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics
Work: +1 401-228-0556
Our laboratory work over the last 10 years has centered around fetal lung development and the feasibility of endoscopic fetal surgery. More recently, this research experience has been translated into a clinical application, with the creation of the Fetal Treatment Program at Brown (www.fetal-program.org).


Dr. Francois Luks is Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is a member of the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Hasbro Children's/Rhode Island Hospital. He is Co-Director of the Fetal Treatment Program and Director of the Brown Program in Fetal Medicine. He is Course Director for the Multidisciplinary Fetal Medicine Course (BIOL 6505), a pre-clinical seminar taught to PLME and medical students. He has authored or co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and over 100 abstracts. His research interests include fetal development and fetal surgery, and in particular the etiology of Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome. He was the site Principal Investigator for the first randomized study on endoscopic fetal surgery for this syndrome; the Brown Fetal Treatment Program was the only North-American center participating in the study. The Program is a founding member of the North American Fetal Treatment Network (NAFTNet).



Research Description

Our laboratory work over the last 10 years has centered around fetal lung development and the feasibility of endoscopic fetal surgery. More recently, this research experience has been translated into a clinical application, with the creation of the Fetal Treatment Program at Brown (www.fetal-program.org).

The Fetal Treatment Program offers the possibility of fetal surgical intervention for selected conditions, particularly severe Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome. This surgical procedure is available in only a few centers nation-wide, and Brown is the only such center in New England. In 2004, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a multicenter, randomized trial (www.eurofoetus.org), which included Brown, showing a significant survival advantages for fetuses undergoing this procedure.

We are pursuing clinical research in that field, as well as in other aspects of fetal medicine and surgery. Most recently, we obtained an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the FDA - one of only two such studies approved in the U.S. - to treat severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia by endoscopic fetal surgery.

Ongoing and future research projects include a laboratory model of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, the search for prognostic indicators in TTTS and the application of newer monitoring technology in endoscopic fetal surgery (the latter in conjunction with the Division of Engineering)

Grants and Awards

1993 - 1994 Doctoral Scholarship, Research Council of the Catholic University of Leuven
1992 - 1993 Research Scholarship, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven
1998 Master of Arts ad eundem, Brown University
Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Surgery, Brown Medical School (199902000, 2007-2008, 2010-2011)

2007 Faculty election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Brown University Chapter


American Surgical Association
International Fetal Medicine & Surgery Society (President 2014)
American College of Surgeons (Fellow since 1997)
Trauma Association of Canada
Société Française de Chirurgie Pédiatrique
Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons (member, Committee on laparoscopy and Publications Committee)
Belgian Association of Pediatric Surgery
Providence Surgical Society/R.I. Chapter, A.C.S.
American Academy of Pediatrics (Specialty Fellow, Surgical Section)
Pediatric Oncology Group/Children's Oncology Group
Pediatric Surgery Biology Club
International Pediatric Endosurgery Group (member, Standards/Ethics Committee)
American Pediatric Surgical Association (member, Publications Committee; Chair, Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Committee)
New England Surgical Society
Society of University Surgeons (member, Membership Committee)
Birth Defects Surveillance Advisory Committee, R.I. Department of Health
National Institutes of Health Workshop: Fetal Treatment: Needs Assessment And Future (invited participant)
North-American Fetal Therapy Network (Chair, Steering Committee; Chair, Web site Committee; member, Executive Committee)

Funded Research

Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research grant # 3.0122.94
("Fetal surgery through intra-uterine endoscopy")
Principal Researcher
$ 35,000

Rhode Island Foundation Grant # 5477
("Tracheal obstruction to promote lung growth in the fetal lamb")
Principal Investigator
$ 5,000

American Lung Association Research Grant # RG-159-N
("The tracheal ligation model of accelerated fetal lung growth")
Principal Investigator
$ 24,300

renewed 1998-99
$ 25,000

Lifespan Research Advisory Committee Developmental Grant # DG1142
("Role of the KGF/KGFr axis in normal, hypoplastic and experimentally accelerated
fetal lung development")
(Monique E. De Paepe, M.D. - P.I.)
$ 24,500

Eurofoetus: Endoscopic Access to the Fetoplacental Unit
Biomed 2 Programme of the European Commission-Directorate XII Grant # PL
("Management of Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. An Open multicentre
randomized trial for the evaluation of serial amniodrainage vs endoscopic placental
laser surgery with amniodrainage.")
Center P.I.
(Yves Ville, M.D. – P.I.)
€ 250,000

Grant # P20-RR018728 NIH NCRR COBRE
("Biological basis for perinatal transition", James F. Padbury, M.D. – P.I.)
(Monique E. De Paepe, M.D. – P.I. subproject IV :
"Role of Fas-mediated apoptosis in perinatal lung remodeling")
$ 129,000/year for subproject IV

Investigational Device Exemption #G080077
Food and Drug Administration
Detachable balloon for fetal tracheal occlusion
Principal Investigator and Sponsor

Small Business Industrial Research (SBIR) Grant
National Institutes of Health
(Lung nodule detection using 3D "visual palpation" via standard thoracoscopes")
Co-Principal Investigator, with Jason Harry
$171,328 in direct costs

Teaching Experience

In addition to our involvement in the teaching of pediatric surgery to medical students, surgical residents and a dedicated fellow (pediatric surgery residency, one of only 30 positions in North-America), we are involved in the Fetal Medicine Program at Brown (www.fetal-program.org), the first program of its kind to teach fetal medicine at the Medical School level. A multidisciplinary course seminar is offered to 1st and 2nd year medical students and undergraduate PLME students (BIOL 6505).

Courses Taught

  • Independent study (BI0196)
  • Introduction to Multidisciplinary Fetal Medicine (BIOL 6505)

Selected Publications

  • Thakkar RK, Steigman SA, Aidlen JT, Luks FI. Individualized Image Display Improves Performance in Laparoscopic Surgery. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Proc 2012 Jun 25. [Epub ahead of print] (2012)
  • Kowitt B, Watson-Smith D, Tucker R, Muratore CS, O'Brien BM, Vohr B, Carr SR, Luks FI. Long-term morbidity after fetal endoscopic surgery for severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. J Pediatr Surg 47:51-56, 2012. (2012)
  • Lombardo M, Watson-Smith D, Muratore CS, Carr SR, O'Brien BM, Luks FI. Laser ablation of placental vessels in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome – a paradigm for endoscopic fetal surgery. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Proc 21;869-872, 2011. (2011)
  • De Paepe ME, Shapiro S, Hanley LC, Chu S, Luks FI. Correlation between cord insertion type and superficial choriovasculature in diamniotic-monochorionic twin placentas. Placenta 32:901-905, 2011. (2011)
  • Skupski DW, Luks FI, Walker M, Papanna R, Bebbington M, Ryan G, O'Shaugnessy R, Moldenhauer J, Bahtiyar O. Pre-operative predictors of death in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome treated with laser ablation of placental anastomoses. Am J Obstet Gynecol 203:388e.1-388.e11, 2010. (2010)
  • Ahmed S, Luks FI, O'Brien BM, Muratore CS, Carr SR. Influence of experience, case-load and stage distribution on outcome of endoscopic laser surgery for TTTS – A review. Prenatal Diagn 30:314-319, 2010. (2010)
  • De Paepe ME, Shapiro S, Greco D, Luks VL, Abellar RG, Luks CH, Luks FI. Placental markers of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in diamniotic-monochorionic twins: A morphometric analysis of deep artery-to-vein anastomoses. Placenta 31:269-276, 2010. (2010)
  • O'Brien BM, Feltovitch HM, Carr SR, Luks FI. Feto-fetal transfusion syndrome in mono¬chorionic quadruplets. Obstet Gynecol 115:470472, 2010. (2010)
  • Curran S, McMurdy JW, Carr SR, Muratore CS, O'Brien BM, Crawford GP, Luks FI. Reflectance spectrometry for real-time hemoglobin determination of placental vessels during endoscopic laser surgery for TTTS. J Pediatr Surg 45:59-64, 2010. (2010)
  • Abodeely AA, Cheah YL, Ryder BA, Aidlen JT, Luks FI. Eliminating the effect of paradoxical imaging during laparoscopic surgery. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Proc 20:31-34, 2010. (2010)
  • De Paepe ME, Shapiro S, Young LE, Luks FI. Placental characteristics of selective birth weight discordance in diamniotic-monochorionic twin gestations. Placenta 31:380-386, 2010. (2010)
  • Narsule CK, Kahle EJ, Kim DS, Anderson AC, Luks FI. Effect of delay in presentation on rate of perforation in children with appendicitis. Am J Emerg Med (Epub July 12, 2010) (2010)
  • Muratore CS, Luks FI, Zhou Y, Harty M, Tracy TF, Jr. Endotoxin alters early fetal lung morphogenesis. J Surg Res 155:225-230, 2009. (2009)
  • Prendergast CJ, Ryder BA, Abodeely A, Muratore CS, Crawford GP, Luks FI. Surgical performance with head-mounted displays in laparoscopic surgery. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech 19:S237-S240, 2009. (2009)
  • Muratore CS, Carr SR, Lewi L, Devlieger R, Carpenter MW, Jani J, Deprest JA, Luks FI. Survival after laser surgery for TTTS: When are they out of the woods? J Pediatr Surg 44:66-70, 2009. (2009)
  • Aidlen JT, Glick S, Silverman K, Silverman HF, Luks FI. Head-motion-controlled video goggles: Preliminary concept for an interactive Laparoscopic Image Display (i-LID). J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech 19:595-598, 2009. (2009)
  • Luks FI, Carr SR, Muratore CS, O'Brien BM, Tracy TF, Jr. The pediatric surgeons' approach to in-utero treatment of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Ann Surg 250:456-462, 2009. (2009)
  • De Paepe ME, Gundavarapu S, Tantravahi U, Pepperell JR, Haley SA, Luks FI, Mao Q. Fas-Ligand-induced apoptosis of respiratory epithelial cells causes disruption of postcanalicular alveolar development. Am J Pathol 173:42-56, 2008. (2008)
  • Mao Q, Gundavarapu S, Patel C, Tsai A, Luks FI, De Paepe ME. The Fas system confers protection against alveolar disruption in hyperoxia-exposed newborn mice. Am J Resp Cell Molec Biol 39:717-729, 2008. (2008)
  • Truitt AK, Sorrells DL, Jr., Carr SR, Kurkchubasche AG, Tracy TF, Jr., Luks FI. Perinatal management of congenital cystic lung lesions in the age of minimally invasive surgery. J Pediatr Surg 41:893-896, 2006. (2006)
  • Chang J, Carr SR, Tracy TF, Jr., Luks FI. Port insertion and removal techniques to minimize premature rupture of the membranes in endoscopic fetal surgery. J Pediatr Surg 41:905-9, 2006. (2006)
  • Luks FI, Carr SR, De Paepe ME, Tracy TF, Jr. What – and why – the pediatric surgeon should know about twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. J Pediatr Surg 40:1063-1069, 2005. (2005)
  • Poch M, Luks FI, Carr SR, De Paepe ME. Intratwin arteriovenous fistula of the placenta in a case of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Am J Perinatol 22:3-6, 2005. (2005)
  • De Paepe ME, Mao Q, Luks FI. Expression of apoptosis-related genes after fetal tracheal occlusion in rabbits. J Pediatr Surg 39:1616-1625, 2004. (2004)
  • Carr SR, Luks FI, Tracy TF, Jr., Plevyak M. Antenatal Necrotic Injury in Severe Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. A Case and Review. Fetal Diagn Ther 19:370-372, 2004. (2004)
  • Luks FI, Carr SR, Plevyak M, Craigo SD, Athannasiou A, Ralston SJ, Tracy, TF, Jr. Limited prognostic value of a staging system for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Fetal Diagn Ther 19:301-304, 2004. (2004)
  • Bussey JG, III, Luks FI, Carr SR, Plevyak M, Tracy TF, Jr. Minimal access fetal surgery for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Surg Endosc 18:83-86, 2004. (2004)
  • De Paepe ME, Friedman R, Poch M, Hansen K, Carr SR, Luks FI. Placental findings after laser ablation of communicating vessels in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Pediatr Dev Pathol 7:159-165, 2004. (2004)
  • De Paepe ME, Mao Q, Embree-Ku M, Rubin LP, Luks FI. Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis in perinatal murine lungs. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 287:L730-L742, 2004. (2004)
  • Luks FI, Carr SR, Feit LR, Rubin LP. Experience with a Multidiscipinary Antenatal Diagnosis And Management model in fetal medicine. J Mat Fet Neonat Med 14:333-337, 2003. (2003)
  • De Paepe ME, Stopa E, Huang C, Hansen K, Luks FI. Renal tubular apoptosis in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Pediatr Dev Pathol 6:215-225, 2003. (2003)
  • De Paepe ME, Burke S, Luks FI, Pinar H, Singer DB. Demonstration of placental vascular anatomy in monochorionic twin gestations. Pediatr Dev Pathol 5:37-44, 2002. (2002)
  • Huang J, Kurkchubasche AG, Carr SR, Wesselhoeft CW, Jr., Tracy TF, Jr., Luks FI. Benefits of term delivery in infants with antenatally diagnosed gastroschisis. Obstet Gynecol 100:695-9, 2002. (2002)
  • Luks FI, Carr SR, Ponte B, Rogg JM, Tracy TF, Jr. Preoperative planning with magnetic resonance imaging and computerized volume rendering in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol 185:216-219, 2001. (2001)
  • Luks FI. Fetal surgery. Med Health RI 84:169-170, 2001. (2001)
  • Luks FI, Roggin KK, Wild YK, Piasecki GJ, Lesieur-Brooks AM, De Paepe ME. Effect of lung fluid composition on type II cellular activity after tracheal occlusion in the fetal lamb. J Pediatr Surg 36:196-201, 2001. (2001)
  • De Paepe ME, Rubin LP, Jude C, Lesieur-Brooks AM, Mills DR, Luks FI. Fas-Ligand expression coincides with alveolar cell apoptosis in late-gestation fetal lung development. Am J Physiol 279:L967-976, 2000. (2000)
  • Luks FI. Requirements for fetal surgery: The diaphragmatic hernia model. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 92:115-118, 2000. (2000)
  • Luks FI, Wild YK, Piasecki GJ, De Paepe ME. Short-term tracheal occlusion corrects pulmonary vascular anomalies in the fetal lamb with diaphragmatic hernia. Surgery 128:266-272, 2000. (2000)
  • Liao SL, Luks FI, Piasecki GJ, Wild YK, Papadakis K, De Paepe ME. Late-gestation tracheal occlusion in the fetal lamb causes rapid lung growth with type II cell preservation. J Surg Res 92:64-70, 2000. (2000)
  • Wild YK, Piasecki GJ, De Paepe ME, Luks FI. Short-term tracheal occlusion in fetal lambs with diaphragmatic hernia improves lung function, even in the absence of lung growth. J Pediatr Surg 35:775-779, 2000. (2000)
  • De Paepe ME, Johnson BD, Papadakis K, Luks FI: Lung growth response after tracheal occlusion in fetal rabbits is gestational age-dependent. Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol 21:65-76, 1999. (1999)
  • Luks FI, Logan J, Papadakis K, Breuer CK, Kurkchubasche AG, Wesselhoeft CW, Jr., Tracy TF: Cost-effectiveness of laparoscopy in children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 153:965-8, 1999. (1999)
  • Luks FI, Deprest JA, Peers KH, Steegers EA, van der Wildt B. Gelatin sponge plug to seal fetos¬copy port sites: technique in ovine and primate models. Am J Obstet Gynecol 181:995-6, 1999. (1999)
  • Deprest JA, Luks FI, Peers KHE, D'Olieslager J, Van Ginderdeuren R: Natural protective mechanisms against endoscopic white-light injury in the fetal lamb eye. Obstet Gynecol 94:124-127, 1999. (1999)
  • Tackett LD, Breuer CK, Luks FI, Caldamone AA, Efthemiou E, Wesselhoeft CW, Jr.: Incidence of contralateral inguinal hernia: a prospective analysis. J Pediatr Surg 34:684-688, 1999. (1999)
  • De Paepe ME, Sardesai MP, Johnson BD, Papadakis K, Luks FI: Role of apoptosis in normal and accelerated lung development in fetal rabbits. J Pediatr Surg 34:863-871, 1999. (1999)
  • Luks FI, Johnson BD, Papadakis K, Traore M, Piasecki GJ. Predictive value of monitoring parameters in fetal surgery. J Pediatr Surg 33:1297-1301, 1998. (1998)
  • Papadakis K, De Paepe ME, Tackett LD, Piasecki GJ, Luks FI. Temporary tracheal occlusion causes catch-up lung maturation in a fetal model of diaphragmatic hernia. J Pediatr Surg 33:1030-1037, 1998. (1998)
  • Papadakis K, Luks FI, Deprest JA, Evrard V, Flageole H, Miserez M, Lerut TE. Single-port tracheoscopic surgery in the fetal lamb. J Pediatr Surg 33:918-920, 1998. (1998)
  • De Paepe ME, Papadakis K, Johnson BD, Luks F I. Temporal pattern of accelerated lung growth in the fetal rabbit. Am J Pathol 152:179-190, 1998. (1998)
  • De Paepe ME, Papadakis K, Johnson BD, Luks FI. Fate of the type II pneumocyte following tracheal occlusion in utero: A time-course study in fetal sheep. Virchows Arch 432:7-16, 1998. (1998)
  • Luks FI, Deprest JA, Gilchrist BF, Peers KHE, van der wildt B, Steegers EAP, Vandenberghe K. Access techniques in endoscopic fetal surgery. Eur J Pediatr Surg 7:131-134, 1997. (1997)
  • Papadakis K, Luks FI, De Paepe ME, Piasecki GJ, Wesselhoeft CW, Jr. Fetal lung growth after tracheal ligation is not solely a pressure phenomenon. J Pediatr Surg 32:347-351, 1997. (1997)
  • Evrard VAC, Verbeke K, Peers KH, Luks FI, Lerut AE, Vandenberghe K, Deprest JAM. Amnioinfusion with Hartmann's solution: A safe distention medium for endoscopic fetal surgery in the ovine model. Fetal Diagn Ther 12:188-192, 1997. (1997)
  • Luks FI, Peers KHE, Deprest JA, Lerut TE, Vandenberghe K: The effect of open and endoscopic fetal surgery on uteroplacental oxygen delivery in the sheep. J Pediatr Surg 31:310-314, 1996. (1996)
  • Luks FI, Gilchrist BF, Jackson BT, Piasecki GJ: Endoscopic tracheal obstruction with an expand¬ing device in a fetal lamb model. Preliminary considerations. Fetal Diagn Ther 11:67-71, 1996. (1996)
  • Deprest JA, Luks FI, Vandenberghe K, Brosens IA, Lerut T, Van Assche FA: Intra-uterine video-endoscopic creation of lower urinary tract obstruction in the fetal lamb. Am J Obstet Gynecol 172:1422-1426, 1995. (1995)
  • van der Wildt B, Luks FI, Steegers EAP, Deprest JA, Peers KHE: Absence of electrical uterine activity after endoscopic access for fetal surgery in the Rhesus monkey. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 58:213-214, 1995. (1995)
  • Luks FI, Deprest JA, Peers KHE, Desimpelaere L, Vandenberghe K: Infrared fetoscopy in the sheep. Fetal Diagn Ther 9:327-330, 1994. (1994)
  • Luks FI, Deprest JA, Vandenberghe K, Brosens IA, Lerut T: A model for fetal surgery through intra-uterine endoscopy. J Pediatr Surg 29:1007-1009, 1994. (1994)
  • Luks FI, Deprest JA, Vandenberghe K, Laermans I, Desimpelaere L, Brosens IA, Lerut T: Fetoscopy-guided fetal endoscopy in a sheep model. J Am Coll Surg 178:609-612, 1994. (1994)
  • Luks FI, Deprest J, Marcus M, Vandenberghe K, Vertommen JD, Lerut T, Brosens I: Carbon dioxide pneumoamnios causes acidosis in fetal lamb. Fetal Diagn Ther 9:105-109, 1994. (1994)