Meet Our Staff — Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Robert W. Thompson, MD
Robert ThompsonDirector of the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Dr. Thompson was raised in Ann Arbor (MI) and graduated from Hope College (BA, 1979) and the University of Michigan School of Medicine (MD, 1983), followed by residency training in general surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (MA) (1983-1990). During residency, he obtained laboratory research training at The Children’s Hospital Boston under the mentorship of Drs. Patricia A. D’Amore and Judah Folkman, where he focused on cell biology, angiogenesis, and vascular disease. After serving an additional year as the assistant to the surgeon-in-chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Thompson completed a specialty fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (1991-1992). He then joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he has been in academic practice for 17 years. Dr. Thompson is currently professor of surgery (Section of Vascular Surgery), radiology, and cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Thompson is an experienced research investigator with more than 12 years of grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for which he directs a basic science laboratory focused on the pathophysiology and drug therapy of aortic aneurysms, a translational research program on the impact of metabolic syndrome and vascular disease, and clinical outcomes research on patients undergoing treatment for TOS. He has published more than 80 original manuscripts and over 60 chapters and reviews on various topics. Dr. Thompson is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Surgical Association, the Society for Vascular Surgery, and the American Heart Association, and he has been a regular member of several NIH research study sections and scientific journal editorial boards. Dr. Thompson is vice-chair for rResearch in the Department of Surgery and an active participant in the Washington University Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

Dr. Thompson’s clinical practice is focused on all forms of thoracic outlet syndrome and upper extremity neurovascular compression disorders. The surgical management of patients with TOS is an area for which Dr. Thompson has acquired an unusually rich experience and for which his expertise is widely sought. In building a nationally recognized referral center for patients with TOS at Washington University, Dr. Thompson has worked to develop a highly knowledgable staff and an effective multidisciplinary team, which includes experts in physical therapy and rehabilitation, anesthesia and pain management, diagnostic and interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, hand surgery, sports medicine, occupational and environmental health, and a number of other specialties. Dr. Thompson and his team currently evaluate more than 300 patients with all forms of TOS and perform approximately 150 surgical procedures for these conditions each year, representing an unusually large clinical experience for this group of rare disorders.

Dr. Thompson's CV 

Chandu Vemuri, MD
Surgeon
Chandu VemuriDr. Vemuri received a medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine (2004), followed by surgical residency training at the University of Michigan, a surgical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, and a fellowship in vascular surgery at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Vemuri is a vascular specialist who treats thoracic outlet syndrome, along with all other aspects of vascular disease. He performs both open vascular and endovascular surgery. He is board-certified in vascular surgery.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Vemuri is actively involved in postgraduate education – serving as assistant program director for the vascular surgery residency and fellowship – and in basic science research and a number of clinical trials.

Dr. Vemuri's CV

Verdella Brink
Administrative Assistant for Dr. Thompson and the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Della originally grew up on a dairy farm in southern Illinois. She subsequently moved to the metropolitan St. Louis area in 1970, initially to attend Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and to work in the food services industry. In 1987, she took a position working with a general and vascular surgeon at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, and has continued in various roles with the Section of Vascular Surgery at Washington University since that time. Della joined Dr. Thompson in 1995, first as a clinical secretary and then assuming responsibilities as his academic administrative assistant. She has worked with diligence and to extraordinary effect to help build and improve our care for patients with TOS, always putting the complicated needs of our patients in the forefront, and has served a key role in the development of the Center for TOS. This past year, she celebrated her 20-year anniversary at Washington University and hopes to exceed this milestone with many more years to come. When she is outside the office — admittedly a rare occurrence — Della enjoys playing volleyball or badminton, fishing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, playing with her dog and three cats, and traveling, and she especially loves to cook.

Lauren McLaughlin, RN MSN ACNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner for the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Lauren is a lifelong St. Louis, Missouri resident and attended Saint Louis University for both her undergraduate degrees; the first a degree in premed/psychology in 2004 and the second in nursing with a focus on critical care in 2008. Lauren was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society for nurses, in 2008. In December 2011, she completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree, also from the Saint Louis University School of Nursing, and gained board certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner through the ANCC. Lauren’s nursing background includes experience in the Emergency Department, Operating Room, PACU, Orthopedic Surgery/Sports Medicine, and Hospitalist Medicine. She has a particular interest in nerve injuries and injuries in athletes. Lauren joined the TOS Center in July 2013. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at Saint Louis University. Lauren is a member of the Saint Louis University Cycling Team and the Saint Louis Triathlon Club and in her spare time enjoys running, cycling, Bikram Yoga, and spending time with her huge Irish family.