Headshot photo of Vahagn C. Nikolian, M.D.

Vahagn C. Nikolian, M.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery, School of Medicine
  • Co-Director, Surgical Core Clinical Experience, Surgery, School of Medicine
  • Member, Hernia & Abdominal Wall Center (HAWC), School of Medicine


Dr. Vahagn Nikolian is a board-certified General Surgeon with advanced training and expertise in abdominal wall reconstruction. He is a member of a talented team of surgeons at OHSU where he uses his experience and research to help advance the treatment of patients with hernias and abdominal wall defects.

Dr. Nikolian was raised in Southern California, where he attended medical school and graduated with honors from the University of Southern California. He completed his surgical residency at the University of Michigan. He completed his complex abdominal wall reconstruction fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, where he mastered techniques in minimally invasive and robotic hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction. 

His research and commentaries have been published in several prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and Annals of Surgery. His research at OHSU involves utilizing technology to improve patient care. Specifically, he directs his efforts towards improving access to digital health and improving outcomes in hernia surgery using minimally invasive and robotic surgical technology. To date, he has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters focused on general surgery, resident education, and digital health. He has received numerous national awards as well as funding from the National Institutes of Health and other surgical societies.

Dr. Nikolian aims to work with patients, their families, and primary care doctors to develop patient-centered treatment plans. He looks forward to collaborating with other specialists to give patients the most options and the best possible outcomes.

Education and training

    • B.A., 2007, University of Southern California
    • M.D., 2012, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
  • Internship

    • General Surgery, University of Michigan, 2013
  • Residency

    • General Surgery, University of Michigan, 2019
  • Fellowship

    • Trauma Research, University of Michigan Trauma Laboratory (mentor: Hasan Alam), 2015-2017
    • Complex Abdominal Wall Reconstruction, Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian, 2020
  • Certifications

    • American Board of Surgery, General Surgery, 2020

Memberships and associations:

  • Americas Hernia Society
  • European Hernia Society
  • Association for Academic Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Coller Surgical Society of the University of Michigan
  • John Jones Surgical Society of Columbia University
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
  • Diplomat of the American Boards of Surgery

Areas of interest

  • Outcomes in abdominal wall reconstruction
  • Robotic and laparoscopic approaches for hernia repair
  • Telemedicine and digital health strategies in surgery
  • Telesurgery and artificial intelligence in surgery
  • Surgical education and coaching

Honors and awards

  • New York Presbyterian High Value Care Shark Tank Award Recipient—Telemedicine in Surgery, 2020
  • Coller Society of the University of Michigan Traveling Fellowship , 2018
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, 2012
  • ACS Excellence in Basic Science Research Award, 2016
  • Outstanding Poster Award, Massey Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Conference, 2015
  • Recognition of Excellence Award, University of Michigan Learning Environment Task Force, 2017
  • University of Michigan Bronze Beeper Teaching Award, 2015
  • Faculty Flame Teaching Award, OHSU School of Medicine, 2021
  • Faculty Flame Mentor Award, OHSU School of Medicine, 2022
  • Faculty Flame Teaching Award, OHSU School of Medicine, 2022


Elsevier pure profile


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