Dr. Taylor Ripley

Dr. Taylor Ripley

Thoracic Surgeon

  • Robotic Surgery
Address Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
Baylor College of Medicine

1 Baylor Plaza
Houston TX, 77030

Talented Surgeon and Mesothelioma Advocate

Dr. R. Taylor Ripley is a well-known mesothelioma specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He replaced renowned mesothelioma doctor David Sugarbaker at Baylor after the latter's passing in August 2018.

Dr. Ripley has more than 15 years of experience in treating mesothelioma. He specializes in pleural mesothelioma (which forms in the lining of the lungs).

Dr. Ripley serves as the director of Baylor's Mesothelioma Treatment Center, having been recruited by Dr. Sugarbaker himself. He also works closely with the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (also located in Houston), which treats veterans with mesothelioma.

Get the answers you need from Dr. Ripley and other specialists with our 14 Questions to Ask Your Mesothelioma Doctor checklist.

14 Questions To Ask Your Doctor
14 Questions to Ask Your Doctor
  • Finding Top Treatments
  • Affording Treatments
  • Joining a Clinical Trial

Get Your Free Checklist

How Dr. Ripley Treats Mesothelioma

With the precision of a top-class surgeon and the empathy of a family doctor, Dr. Ripley’s unique approach sets him apart as a leader in mesothelioma treatment. He takes a multi-step approach to diagnosing and treating mesothelioma patients.

First, he and his team will assess the patient's overall health and how far the cancer has spread. Using this information, Dr. Ripley can develop the best treatment plan.

Dr. Ripley often uses a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation to treat mesothelioma.

"I don't see a single agent or a single approach as being adequate ... and that we will have to take a multiprong attack to ultimately provide patients with much better survival with this disease."

— Dr. Taylor Ripley

Notably, Dr. Ripley can perform the two most common pleural mesothelioma surgeries.

These surgeries are:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): This removes the lung closest to the cancer, as well as the lung lining (pleura) and all visible mesothelioma tumors.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): Here, neither lung is removed but the pleura and cancer tumors are still taken out.

Dr. Ripley also prefers robotic surgery to minimize the size of surgical incisions. This decreases the risk of infection and reduces recovery time.

Dr. Ripley’s Medical Background

Dr. Ripley earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University and completed a two-year surgery residency at the University of Colorado.

He then secured two fellowships in thoracic surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He also served as an Associate Professor of Surgery at the NCI prior to joining the Baylor team.

Notably, Dr. Ripley has had the opportunity to train with some of the best mesothelioma surgeons. These include the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, Dr. Raffit Hassan, and Dr. Valerie Rusch, who he credits with piquing his interest in mesothelioma during his fellowship at the MSKCC.

Ripley says he was also drawn to the family-centered approach to caring for mesothelioma patients while working with Dr. Hassan.

We can help you connect with top mesothelioma doctors like Dr. Ripley. Contact us now to get started.

Highlights of Dr. Ripley’s Medical Career

Dr. Ripley has worked with mesothelioma patients for over a decade, dedicating most of his career to finding ways to perform surgery on eligible patients. In the process, he has earned numerous accolades.

Achievements and Awards

  • Certified by the American Board of Surgery
  • Certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery
  • Dan May Scholarship recipient (2001)
  • Received the NCI Director’s Innovation Award (2016 & 2020)
  • Serves on the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation board of directors

Research and Published Works

Dr. Ripley has written and co-written numerous case studies and presentations on treating mesothelioma and other cancers.

  • Notable articles include:

    • Carbone, M., Ripley, R., et al. "Medical and Surgical Care of Patients With Mesothelioma and Their Relatives Carrying Germline BAP1 Mutations." Published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, July 2022.
    • Lin, Y., et al. "Clonal gene signatures predict prognosis in mesothelioma and lung adenocarcinoma." Published in npj Precision Oncology, February 2024.
    • Medina, C., et al. "International Prognostic Modeling: A Platform for Collaborative Approach for Patients With Mesothelioma." Published in Journal of Thoracic Oncology, December 2023.
    • Ripley, R. "Extended Pleurectomy and Decortication for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma." Published in Thoracic Surgery Clinics, September 2020.
    • Ripley, R., et al. "The Staging of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma." Published in Thoracic Surgery Clinics, September 2020.

Dr. Ripley's Current Research

Dr. Ripley’s clinical focus is on the treatment of mesothelioma patients at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Ripley continues to study robotic surgery — a cutting-edge field that allows surgeons to perform invasive procedures in a much less aggressive manner.

Did you know?

Dr. Ripley believes that robotic surgery prevents unnecessary incisions and helps patients — particularly older and weaker ones — recover more quickly.

Dr. Ripley also focuses on increasing the mesothelioma program at Baylor to ensure a steady flow of clinical trials. Finally, his research lab studies tumor energetics, which Dr. Ripley believes will make mesothelioma tumors easier to kill.

His work is helping mesothelioma patients live longer, fuller lives.

"Patients assume when they have the disease, that they can't survive and can't actually live with the disease, even though many of our patients are walking around living relatively normal lives."

— Dr. Taylor Ripley

Working With Specialists Like Dr. Ripley

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s critical to see a specialist such as Dr. Taylor Ripley. He and other top mesothelioma doctors can recommend treatments to help you live longer.

Thankfully, you can find top mesothelioma doctors faster when you work with the Mesothelioma Veterans Center. We have relationships with top specialists treating this cancer.

Further, our team can also help you apply for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — which includes health care from top VA mesothelioma doctors.

Connect with our team now to get started.


The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Taylor Ripley. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Taylor Ripley directly.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Baylor College of Medicine (n.d.). Robert Taylor Ripley, M.D. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.bcm.edu/people-search/robert-ripley-29324
  2. Baylor College of Medicine (2019, February 5). Symptoms and Diagnosis of Mesothelioma. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnoJVWZJyCU
  3. Doximity (n.d). R. Taylor Ripley, MD. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.doximity.com/cv/robert-ripley-md-slash-3
  4. St. Luke's Health (n.d.). Robert Ripley, MD. Retrieved March 5, 2024, https://www.stlukeshealth.org/find-a-doctor/1154477784-robert-ripley
  5. U.S. News & World Report. Dr. R. Taylor Ripley, MD. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://health.usnews.com/doctors/r-taylor-ripley-581814