Residency Research

Our residents have the option to spend a full academic year in their third or fourth year of residency as a research resident. Permission to do a research year is highly competitive and requires that the resident attend and present at several research conferences throughout the year. Research residents have the opportunity to explore a variety of research within our divisions, and often present their work at local, regional, national and international meetings.

How to apply

Residents interested in research must choose a primary mentor from the Department of Surgery faculty, and then develop a research proposal. Applications for the Research Year are due by November 1 prior to the beginning of the Research Year. Once approved by the Research Committee, the residents will then complete one year of research under the direction of Sandy Fang, M.D., and Jonathan Brody, Ph.D. Additional research years are occasionally possible, as is research at external institutions. 

Contact Dr. Sandy Fang for more information on the program and how to apply.

Residency Research Leadership

Sandy Fang M.D.

Sandy Fang, M.D., is a colorectal surgeon who joined us from Johns Hopkins University where she was the Director of the High-Resolution Anoscopy Clinic, Surgical Director for the Anal Cancer Center of Excellence, and the Director of Surgery Apprenticeship Program. Dr. Fang is a high-volume robotics and minimally invasive colorectal surgeon, who specializes in complex abdominal operations to treat colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other benign colorectal disease processes, such as diverticulitis, as well as anorectal disease. She is the is the program director for the High Resolution Anoscopy Clinic, which is a screening tool used to detect anal pre-cancerous lesions or cancer.

She completed her Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship through the Salvati Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and her surgical residency at the University of Iowa. 

After completion of colon and rectal surgery fellowship, Dr. Fang practiced colorectal surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for 9 years.  During her time at Johns Hopkins, she established herself as a robotic surgeon and has become internationally known for her clinical and research programs in anal cancer, innovative surgical techniques, clinical trials, surgical outcomes, and quality improvement.  She is Co-Director of the International Consortium for Anal Cancer Screening.  

Dr. Fang has won multiple teaching awards in general surgery residency and as an attending colorectal surgeon.  In 2016, Dr. Fang was inducted into The Distinguished Teaching Society of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Jonathan Brody, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Surgery Research

Jonathan Brody, Ph.D., is the Vice Chair of Research for the Dept. of Surgery and is the Assoc. Director of the Brenden-Colson Pancreatic Center for Patient Care. He was a member and co-leader of the GI Cancer Program at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (Thomas Jefferson University). Dr. Brody received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his thesis specialized in studying the molecular aspects of cancer and cancer genetics. He patented, with Dr. Scott Kern, novel buffers for DNA identification (DNA electrophoresis buffer), that have changed the format of this molecular biology technique used to detect DNA. He was elected Chair of the Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), Department of Defense council and serves on many international study sections, including currently being the Chair of the Tumor Biology and Genomics study section for the American Cancer Society and a permanent member of the Cancer Prevention Study Section NCI study section panel. He has published over 135 peer review publications in many top tier scientific and cancer journals. Additionally, he was an American Cancer Society Research Scholar, is NIH (NCI, R01) funded, and won the American Association of Cancer Research, Pancreatic Cancer Career Development Award in 2010.  His lab focuses on many molecular aspects of pancreatic cancer, including developing ways to target a novel pro-survival network in pancreatic cancer cells and optimizing current targeted therapies used in the clinic (i.e., an interest in personalizing therapy for pancreatic cancer patients, PanCAN, RAN grant PI).  Specifically, his lab is focused on an RNA binding protein, HuR, that is a involved in regulating a pro-survival network in various microenvironment settings involved with pancreatic cancer and targeting the DNA repair pathway (i.e., BRCAness) in pancreatic cancer.

Past Research Resident Publications

2022 Research Resident publications coming soon.

  • Affi Koprowski M, Nagengast AK, Finlayson E, Brasel KJ. Perceptions of older adults among surgical trainees and the development of geriatric surgical curricula: a scoping review. Journal of Surgical Education. 2021 (accepted, not yet in print)
  • Affi Koprowski M, Sutton TL, Nabavizadeh N, Thomas Jr C, Chen EY, Kardosh A, Lopez CD, Mayo SC, Lu K, Herzig DL, Tsikitis VL. Early Versus Late Recurrence in Rectal Cancer: Does Timing Matter? Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. 2021 Aug 5. doi: 10.1007/s11605-021-05100-3. Online ahead of print. 
  • Affi Koprowski M, Lu K. Colorectal Cancer Screening and Post-Polypectomy Surveillance. Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. 2021 Aug 1;64(8):932-935.  
  • Affi Koprowski M, Sutton TL, Brinkerhoff BT, Grossberg A, Sheppard BC, Mayo SC. Oncologic Outcomes in Resected Ampullary Cancer: Relevance of Histologic Subtype and Adjuvant Chemotherapy. Oncologic outcomes in resected ampullary cancer: Relevance of histologic subtype and adjuvant chemotherapy. American Journal of Surgery. 2021;221(6):1128-1134.  
  • Gardner IH, Kelley KA, Abdelmoaty WF, Sharata A, Hayman AV, and Whiteford MH. Transanal total mesorectal excision outcomes for advanced rectal cancer in a complex surgical population. Surgical Endoscopy 2021. Online ahead of print.
  • Gardner IH, Siddharthan RV, Watson KM, Dewey EN, Ruhl R, Khou S, Guan X, Xia Z, Tsikitis VL, and Anand S. A distinct innate immune signature in the immune microenvironment of early onset colorectal cancer. ImmunoHorizons 2021; 5(6): 489-499.
  • Sweet AL, Brasel KJ, Cushman TE. The Importance of Advance Care Planning for Palliative Procedures. J Palliat Care Med. 2021;11(1): 387-388.
  • Wonn SM, Ratzlaff AN, Pommier SJ, Limbach KE, Bassale S, McCully BH, Pommier RF. Evaluation of the prognosis for N2 status in patients with small bowel neuroendocrine tumors. Am J Surg. 2021 Jun;221(6):1135-1140. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2021.03.036. Epub 2021 Mar 24. PMID: 33785207.
  • Wonn SM, Ratzlaff AN, Pommier SJ, McCully BH, Pommier RF. A prospective study of carcinoid crisis with no perioperative octreotide. Surgery. 2021 Jul 3:S0039-6060(21)00452-9. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2021.03.063. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34226047.

  • Gardner IH, Siddharthan RV, and Tsikitis VL. Benign anorectal disease: hemorrhoids, fissures, and fistulas. Annals of Gastroenterology 2020; 33:9-18.
  • Gardner IH and Watson KM. Resident’s Corner: Diagnosis and Treatment of Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum 2020; 63(10):1358-1361.
  • Watson KM*, Gardner IH*, Byrne R, Ruhl R, Lanciault C, Dewey E, Anand S, and Tsikitis VL. Differential expression of PEG10 contributes to aggressive disease in early vs. late onset colorectal cancer. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum 2020; 63(12):1610-1620. *Shared first authorship
  • Robins B, Sweet A. Vaccine Approval and Public Trust: The Dynamic Factors Influencing When a COVID-19 Vaccine is “Safe Enough.” Posted October 14, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2021.
  • Sweet A, Blanke C, Kelly B, Mendz GL, Kissane DW. Letters to the Editor. J Law Med Ethics. 2020;48(4):800-804.
  • Wonn SM, Limbach KE, Pommier SJ, et al. Outcomes of cytoreductive operations for peritoneal carcinomatosis with or without liver cytoreduction in patients with small bowel neuroendocrine tumors. Surgery. 2020;S0039-6060(20)30174-4. doi:10.1016/j.surg.2020.03.030

  • Siddharthan RV, Gardner IH, and Lu KC. Diverticulitis in the immunocompromised patient. Seminars in Colon and Rectal Surgery 2019; 30(3).