Jelle Ruurda attended medical school in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After finishing, in 2000, he joined the surgical department he University Medical Center Utrecht, to perform research on the first experiences with robot-assisted surgery. In 2003 he received his PhD, the first PhD on robotic surgery worldwide. Hereafter, he started his residency and was registered as general surgeon in 2010. In 2010-2011, he worked as a fellow in digestive surgery in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. He was appointed as staff surgeon at the University Medical Center Utrecht in 2011. From 2019 he is a full professor with his chair in robot-assisted and minimally invasive surgery. His clinical interest is upper gastrointestinal tract surgery and he is the clinical lead for malignancies of the upper gastro-intestinal tract. Jelle Ruurda started with robotic surgery already in 2000 and since his return in Utrecht fully focusses on robot-assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy and gastrectomy. Research is focused on minimally invasive and robotic surgery, but also surgical imaging and innovations are topics of research. He founded the Dutch biobank for esophageal and gastric cancer patients, which holds both blood and tissue samples of patients undergoing treatment His research efforts are dedicated to defining the patient groups that benefit most from surgical treatment and making that surgical treatment possible with a minimum of side effects. He has authored and co-authored over 15 chapters in textbooks and over 250 articles in international peer-reviewed journals.
He is a past board member of the Dutch Society for gastrointestinal surgery, founder and chair of the Dutch Robotic surgery working group and also leads the working group for surgical innovation of the Dutch Surgical Society. He is a board member of the Dutch Federation of Medical Specialists, where he chairs the committee for science, innovation and healthcare evaluation. He also is the chairman of the scientific committee, and member of the educational committee of the Upper GI International Robotic Association (UGIRA)