J. Michael Millis

UChicago Faculty Physicians

J. Michael Millis, MD

Professor of Surgery Vice Chair, Global Surgery

I am Michael Millis. I'm a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago. I have been here since 1994. My specialty is hepatobiliary pancreatic surgery, which is a long way of saying liver, bile ducts, and pancreas surgery. I am a trained liver transplant surgeon. And for all of those years, I have been involved in the liver transplant program. For the past several years, I have focused more on my non-transplant hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, so surgery of the liver or the bile ducts and the pancreas but without the transplant component.

I became a physician because I love taking care of patients and serving patients who have severe medical problems. And it kind of runs in my family. My maternal, well, my paternal great grandmother was a nurse midwife. My grandfather was a general practitioner in the hills of Tennessee. And my father was an obstetrician gynecologist. And so it kind of runs in our family that we like to serve patients when they have medical needs.

My philosophy of care is to kind of go deep and quickly into patients in their surgical problems. For the whole time I've been at the University of Chicago since 1994, I've taken care of very, very sick patients who need urgent care from a surgeon. And so I've been able to provide that care and allow many of their other medical problems to be taken care of by other specialists.

I have been involved in a number of different projects at the University of Chicago that have provided me new skills and new ways to think about things. I have been involved in research throughout my whole 29 years here at the University of Chicago, everything from cellular transplant and research to immunosuppressive trials, new surgical techniques, and even was the primary Western collaborator for the Chinese Ministry of Health to develop an ethical system and regulation for their transplant industry, including developing a voluntary citizen based organ donation system in China.

So all of those skills and aspects have been fun and exciting. But my heart fills with the joy that I can provide patients by helping them with their surgical problems.

Michael Millis, MD, is an expert in adult and pediatric transplant surgery. His clinical interests include liver transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery. He has performed more liver transplants than any other surgeon in the region. Dr. Millis has pioneered new techniques of operating on the liver, and his innovations have helped the University of Chicago perform more liver transplants than any other program in the region over the past 15 years.

Dr. Millis's research explores the application of cellular technology to patient care. For instance, he is investigating how hepatocyte transplantation, extracorporeal assist technology and stem cells can assist in the care of patients with liver disease or liver tumors. His research interests also include health and policy ethics. He is a consultant to the Chinese Ministry of Health to help them transform their transplant system, including the development of a donor system for volunteer citizen deceased donors.


Areas of Expertise

Board Certifications

  • Surgery

Memberships & Medical Societies

  • Society of University Surgeons
  • American Society of Transplantation
  • International Pediatric Transplant Association
  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons
  • American College of Surgeons

Practicing Since

  • 1994

Languages Spoken

  • English

Medical Education

  • University of Tennessee


  • UCLA Health


  • UCLA Medical Center


  • University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; University of California Los Angeles Health; UCLA Medical Center

News & Research

View Published Papers
  • Aetna HMO (specialists only)
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • BCBS Blue Precision HMO (specialists only)
  • BCBS HMO (HMOI) (specialists only)
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • CountyCare *see insurance page
  • Aetna Better Health *see insurance page
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan PPO
  • United Choice Plus POS/PPO
  • United Options (PPO)
  • United Select (HMO & EPO) (specialists only)
  • United W500 Emergent Wrap
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • BCBS Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Choice PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Choice PFFS
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Plus HMO
  • United Choice HMO (specialists only)
  • University of Chicago Health Plan (UCHP)

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