2014-2015 Research Resident Experience

Chris Connelly, M.D.

Trauma Lab

Mentored by Martin Schreiber, M.D. and Belinda McCully, Ph.D.
My primary interests involve the coagulopathy of trauma, specifically the role the vascular endothelium plays in traumatic injury.  I am currently investigating the expression of endothelial protein receptor C, thrombomodulin and other associated coagulation proteins using a rat model of obesity and hemorrhagic shock. I am also working on prospective randomized studies evaluating rates of venous thromboembolism and bleeding complications in trauma and surgical patients who receive dose adjusted prophylactic lovenox using thromboelastography.

Jeff Crawford, M.D.

Knight Cardiovascular Research Institute

Mentored by Greg Moneta, M.D.and Erica Mitchell, M.D.
I research clinical outcomes in vascular surgery focusing on radiographic predictors of rupture AAA, utility of tibial artery velocities to predict limb loss and outcomes of blunt cerebrovascular injury. Additionally, I have a translational project using contrast enhanced ultrasound to determine affect of lower extremity revascularization on microcapillary perfusion.

Jen Pasko, M.D.

Transplant Surgery Lab

Mentored by Susan Orloff, M.D. and Scott Naugler, M.D.
I am doing mostly clinical research in liver transplant and hepatocellular carcinoma. We currently are looking at gender disparities among patients with HCC and other factors that may affect stage at presentation for these patients. My translational project involves attempting to repopulate mice livers with human hepatocytes.

Mary D'Alelio, M.D.

Surgical Oncology Lab

Mentored by SuEllen Pommier, Ph.D.
My clinical project revolves around understanding intraoperative carcinoid crisis. I am examining both the efficacy of prophylaxsis and treatment strategies as well as studying the physiology of hemodynamic instability during crisis. My basic science project focuses on breast cancer stem cells. We are trying to identify them in blood and characterize structures that they grow in 3D culture matrix.

Nikki Wieghard, M.D.

Colorectal Surgery Lab

Mentored by Lianna Tsikitis, M.D. and Missy Wong, Ph.D.
My work is a translational focus on the genetics of colon cancer, and in particular identifying biomarkers to predict aggressive disease. Specifically, I am evaluating the role of miRNAs and stem cell EMT trait acquisition in the development of colorectal cancer metastases. Clinically, I am involved in several projects, including incidence, treatment and outcomes of small bowel adenocarcinoma in Crohn’s disease, outcomes of colonoscopies through stomas, and the role of HIV positivity in anal cancer.

Patrick J. Worth, M.D.

Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care

Mentored by Brett Sheppard, M.D. and Rosalie Sears, Ph.D.
I am investigating the plasticity and heterogeneity of cancer cells in regards to function/dysregulation of the cell cycle and metabolism.  I am also investigating the role of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflex and how this contributes to the tumor microenvironment and host response.  Clinically, I am working to generate a nomogram for predicting outcomes after adjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer, as well as a large state-wide review of the role of perioperative glycemic control on surgical outcomes.

Vicente Undurraga, M.D.

Trauma Lab

Mentored by Martin Schreiber, M.D.
This is my second year in Dr. Schreiber's Trauma lab. As part of being in the lab, I work in multiple projects including randomized trials in surgical nutrition and DVT treatment, as well as using lyophilized plasma in a swine model of hemorrhage and injectable foam to control hemorrhage. In addition to trauma, I'm interested in rural surgery; especially how surgical training prepares residents to work in a rural practice.