Nisha Rathode (Editor)

James Doty (physician)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  James Doty

James Doty (physician) httpscapstanfordeduprofilesviewImageprofil

Conversations on compassion with dr james doty moderated by jon kabat zinn

James R. Doty, M.D., FACS, FICS (born 1 December 1955) is a Clinical Professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, a part of the Stanford Institute of Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart published by Penguin Random House on February 2, 2016. It has been translated into 19 languages.



Doty is an American neurosurgeon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He received his undergraduate training in biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine, leaving in 1977 without a degree following acceptance to Tulane University School of Medicine where he graduated in 1981. He was later awarded his undergraduate degree from Irvine in 1978. He accepted a U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship completing his internship at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI in 1982 and his neurosurgery residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in 1987. He completed pediatric neurosurgery training at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and completed a research fellowship in neurophysiology. He received board certification by the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 1990. Doty spent 9 years on active duty service in the U.S. Army Medical Department, attaining the rank of Major.

Research career

Doty’s past research interests have focused on the development of technologies using focused beams of radiation in conjunction with robotics and image-guidance techniques to treat solid tumors and other pathologies in the brain and spinal cord. He is recognized as an expert in stereotactic radiosurgery and complex and minimally invasive spine surgery. Additionally, he has multiple patents including a device for spine stabilization and an electrode for monitoring of brain activity.

Following a sabbatical, Doty returned to Stanford University in 2007 and began collaborative research explorations into the neuroscience of compassion and altruism with Stanford colleagues. As part of his interest in this area, he met with the Dalai Lama who was so intrigued by the work that Doty had begun that he spontaneously made a personal donation of $150,000 which was soon thereafter followed by donations of over $2m. As a result, what had begun as an informal research initiative called “Project Compassion” was formalized within the School of Medicine by then Dean Phil Pizzo as the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). CCARE is now recognized throughout the world as a leading research and educational institution and the only such institution solely focused on the study of compassion, altruism and empathy.

As Director of CCARE, Dr. Doty has collaborated on a number of research projects focused on compassion and altruism including the use of neuro-economic models to assess altruism, use of the CCARE-developed compassion cultivation training (CCT) in individuals and its effect, assessment of compassionate and altruistic judgment utilizing implanted brain electrodes and the use of optogenetic techniques to assess nurturing pathways in rodents. Presently, he is developing collaborative research projects to assess the effect of compassion training on immunologic and other physiologic determinants of health, the use of mentoring as a method of instilling compassion in students and the use of compassion training to decrease pain.

Doty’s interests stem from growing up in a family on public assistance. As a result, he saw the paradox of why those with power, influence or position would not intervene in situations where others were suffering and conversely saw those with little or nothing often giving everything to help someone. His own life changed at age 13 years when he walked into a magic shop during the summer. The owner of the magic shop was not there but his mother was and, after talking with Doty for a period, offered to teach him something that “could change your life” if he agreed to meet with her daily for the remaining six weeks of summer. He met with her and during that time she taught Friends of New Orleans, a meditation and visualization practice combined with self-hypnosis and a “sprinkling” of the power of positive thinking. He states, “She changed my life by changing my perspective from one of limited to no possibilities to one of endless possibilities.” Prior to this, Doty says that oftentimes he felt he was “like a leaf being blown by an ill wind.” “The son of an invalid mother, raised in poverty, he worked hard in school so that when he got into Tulane University he could work even harder. He got into the medical school, became a doctor and helped people.”

He is also on the advisory board to the Fogarty Institute of Innovation. Additionally, Doty is on the board of a number of non-profit organizations including the Dalai Lama Foundation, where he is Chairman, the Senior Advisory Board of the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religion, a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Southern California Brain and Creativity Institute and Friends of New Orleans. He also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

Innovation and Invention

In the late 1980s, following a conversation with his colleague, John Adler, M.D., at the time a resident at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, he was introduced to the concept of the CyberKnife and later invested in the company that manufactures the device, Accuray, Inc. Following development of the prototype device at Stanford University, Doty was so convinced of its potential to change the manner in which radiation therapy was delivered that he convinced an investor to set up the first CyberKnife facility in the U.S. prior to FDA approval under an Investigational Device Exemption. Within one year of the facility opening, Accuray was effectively bankrupt having exhausted all means of raising further capital. Doty then provided ongoing funding to Accuray and became CEO. He ultimately convinced a venture firm in Taiwan to provide an infusion of funds and restructured the company, which soon thereafter received FDA approval for their CyberKnife technology. Accuray went public in 2007 (NASDAQ:ARAY) with a market cap of $1.3bn. The CyberKnife technology has revolutionized the field of radiation therapy and presently there are over 300 installations throughout the world.

Doty had been very successful as an entrepreneur during the dot com heyday acting as an angel investor in a number of start-up companies. Following the dot com crash, he watched his fortune evaporate and became effectively bankrupt having to sell the majority of his assets to live up to his financial obligations. Having made a number of commitments to charitable organizations, Doty donated all of the stock of Accuray ultimately donating $29,000,000 to charity.

Doty remains a consultant and advisor to medical technology and device companies and a variety of venture capital firms. He is an operating partner at Capricorn Health and Special Opportunities Fund (a part of Capricorn Investment Group).


Doty is also a philanthropist having given support to a number of charitable organizations. He has set-up health clinics throughout the world through his donation to Global Healing and created programs to support AIDS-HIV programs through Family and Children Services.

His donation to Stanford University School of Medicine is one of the largest of any graduate or faculty member. He endowed the Chair of the Dean of the School of Medicine at Tulane University following hurricane Katrina and refurbished its library, in addition to setting up a scholarship for socioeconomically disadvantaged students to commit to a career of service. He remains on the Tulane University School of Medicine Board of Governors.

Awards and honors

Member, Founder's Circle Stanford University (2009)

Member (Outstanding Alumnus-Tulane University), The Paul Tulane Society (2008)

"Healthcare Hero", New Orleans City Business Journal (2008)

Select Publications

  • Seppala, E. M., Hutcherson, C. A., Nguyen, D. T. H., Doty, J. R., & Gross, J. J. (2014). "Loving-kindness Meditation: A tool to improve healthcare provider compassion, resilience, and patient care.". Journal of Compassionate Healthcare. 1: 1–9. doi:10.1186/s40639-014-0005-9. Retrieved 1 May 2015. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Martin, D., Seppala, E., Heineberg, Y., Rossomando, T., Doty, J., Zimbardo, P., Shiuel, T.- T., Berger, R., & Zhou, Y. Y. (2014). "The impact of social dominance orientation and economic systems justification.". Journal of Business Ethics. 129: 237–249. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2157-0. Retrieved 1 May 2015. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Ruchelli, G., Chapin, H., Darnall, B., Seppala, E., Doty, J., & Mackey, S. (2014). "Compassion meditation training for people living with chronic pain and their significant others: a pilot study and mixed-methods analysis.". The Journal of Pain. 15: S117. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2014.01.479. Retrieved 1 May 2015. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Seppala, E., Rossomando, T., & Doty, J. (2013). "Social connection and compassion: Important predictors of health and well-being.". Social Research. 80: 411–430. Retrieved 10 October 2013. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Jazaieri, H., McGonigal, K., Jinpa, G. T., Doty, J. R., Gross, J. J., & Goldin, P. R. (2013). "A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation.". Motivation and Emotion. 38: 23–35. doi:10.1007/s11031-013-9368-z. Retrieved 10 October 2013. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Jazaieri, H., Jinpa, G. T., McGonigal, K., Rosenberg, E. L. Finkelstein, J., Simon-Thomas, E., Cullen, M., Doty, J., Gross, J. J., & Goldin, P. R. (2012). "Enhancing compassion: A randomized controlled trial of a Compassion Cultivation Training program" (PDF). Journal of Happiness Studies. 1: 1–14. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9373-z. Retrieved 3 July 2013. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Chang, S. D., Murphy, M., Geis, P., Martin, D. P., Hancock, S. L., Doty, J. R., & Adler, J. R. (1998). "Clinical experience with image-guided robotic radiosurgery (the Cyberknife) in the treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors". Neurologia Medico-chirurgica (Tokyo). 38 (11): 780–783. doi:10.2176/nmc.38.780. Retrieved 3 July 2013. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Adler, J. R., Chang, S. D., Murphy M. J., Doty, J., Geis, P., & Hancock, S. L. (1997). "The Cyberknife: A frameless robotic system for radiosurgery". Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. 69 (1-4 Pt2): 124–128. PMID 9711744. doi:10.1159/000099863. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Doty, J. R., Thomson, J., Simonds, G., Rengachary, S. S., & Gunby, E. N. (1989). "Occult intrasacral meningocele: Clinical and radiographic diagnosis". Neurosurgery. 24 (4): 616–25. PMID 2710309. doi:10.1097/00006123-198904000-00023. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Doty, J. R., Alving, B. M., McDonnell, D. E., & Ondra, S. L. (1986). "Heparin-associated Thrombocytopenia in the neurosurgical patient". Congress of Neurological Surgeons. 19 (1): 69–72. doi:10.1227/00006123-198607000-00010. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • References

    James Doty (physician) Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Escape from the Dark
    Tobias Regner
    Nabil Salameh