Summer Research Projects

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  2011 Surgical Summer Research Students

The Department of Surgery faculty host summer students annually, providing funded research opportunities to enrich their education.  The goal of the program is for students to have an opportunity to learn more about research, complete a project and have an opportunity to potentially publish their work or present their findings at local and national meetings.  At the end of the summer, all students participate in a poster session at the medical school.  This year, ten students are participating in research in the department.

Clark DuMontierStudent:  Clark DuMontier
Preceptor:  Dr. Karen Brasel
Title:  The Association Between Frailty and Outcome in an Elderly Trauma Population

Frailty is a state of increased vulnerability to health-related stressors that is measured by evaluating certain, quantifiable traits that are present in an individual.  Our project seeks to assess associations between frailty traits, discharge destination and outcomes in elderly trauma victims.  One of the difficulties in the trauma population is the inability to perform some of the tests incorporated in measures of frailty may be due to injury rather than frailty.  We hope to determine which measures will perform well in the injured elderly, and whether these are the same or different than measures that perform well in the uninjured elderly.  We will research these associations via a literature review followed by both a retrospective and prospective cohort study.  Our aim is to derive a measure of frailty that can be used to inform patients and their families about their recovery and future status.

Berry FairchildStudent:  Berry Fairchild
Preceptor:  Dr. Travis Webb
Title:  Sarcopenia and Frailty in Elderly Trauma Patients

The terms frailty and sarcopenia are used widely throughout the geriatric literature to describe the condition of elderly patients and identify those at risk of adverse health outcomes.  Measures of frailty and sarcopenia have not been studied as predictors of outcome in elderly trauma patients.  We will be conducting a retrospective chart review aimed at identifying risk in elderly blunt trauma victims that can effect discharge disposition. This study will include a review of CT scans obtaining anthropomorphic measurements directly from the imaging. Conducting this study will facilitate our ability to determine whether or not certain frailty characteristics predict outcome in elderly trauma patients and help facilitate appropriate discharge planning, anticipate prognosis and direct individualized treatment in future patients.

Michelle HofmeisterStudent:  Michelle Hofmeister
Preceptors:  Dr. Karen Brasel, Dr. Terri deRoon-Cassini
Title:  Partnership to Improve Care for Adolescent and Young Adult Violence Survivors

Patients who experience traumatic injury as a result of violent assault, as opposed to non-violent means, are at an increased risk for trauma-related psychopathology, such as development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our project will be looking at young adults who have been exposed to interpersonal violence, and how health care disparities affect the long-term mental health consequences of such an experience.  We are focusing on the uninsured adolescent population, as the rate of violence-related traumatic injury is higher in adolescents from ethnic minority backgrounds and low socioeconomic status (SES) groups than in Caucasian and high SES youth. We will be surveying trauma patients at the Saturday Free Clinic to determine if they have a lower rate of follow-up medical care after a traumatic event, what factors prevent them from seeking follow-up medical care, and how this correlates to their mental health status and PTSD-related symptoms. We hope these data can be used for a future project creating an intervention to improve follow-up medical care after a traumatic event, and that this intervention may reduce the rate of PTSD in this population.

Bart ImielskiStudent:  Bart Imielski
Preceptor:  Dr. James Tweddell
Title:  Outcomes following the Fontan procedure in subjects with single ventricle congenital heart disease

Single ventricle congenital heart disease, for example hypoplastic left heart syndrome, may require palliative surgical treatment to restore adequate blood flow to either the systemic or pulmonary circulation. Depending on the congenital anomaly, multiple surgeries are usually performed; however, most patients will typically require Glenn and Fontan procedures at some point during early childhood. The aim of these two surgeries is to redirect venous return, bypassing the right side of the heart, so that it passively drains into the right pulmonary artery. This allows for the remaining single ventricle to solely pump blood into the systemic circuit.   Our aim is to investigate the post operative outcomes in patients who underwent fenestrated Fontan procedures for univentricular congenital cardiac anomalies. Fenestration refers to a shunt created between an external conduit, connecting the inferior vena cava and the pulmonary artery, and the right atrium.  We aim to compare patients whose fenestrations were closed either surgically, with a subcutaneous stitch, with a catheter device, or spontaneously to those whose fenestrations were kept patent. In addition to quantifying these outcomes, we will identify clinical indications for fenestration closure and correlate these with survival outcomes. The overarching goal is to gain greater appreciation for when fenestrations should be closed to maximize long term patient health.

Torsten JoergerStudent:  Torsten Joerger
Preceptors:  Dr. Raymond Fedderly and Dr. Michael Mitchell
Title:  Use of monocusp reconstruction of the right ventricle outflow tract (RVOT) in patients with congenital heart disease

Several surgical strategies have evolved for re-creation of the RVOT in patients with severe RVOT obstruction.  A transannular patch is currently the most widely used strategy.  This allows for relief of the RVOT obstruction, however it does allow free pulmonary insufficiency.  Homografts and heterografts placed in this position during the initial primary repair allow for valve function and have the potential to limit pulmonary insufficiency, however these grafts are prone to develop insufficiency as well as stenosis as the patient grows.   The use of  monocusp reconstruction allows for relief of the RVOT obstruction and gives the theoretical advantage of limiting the degree of pulmonary insufficiency without the use of a heterograft or a homograft.  Few studies have compared the transannular patch vs. the monocusp at a single institution.  Specifically lacking is data from the post-operative PICU period.  We will be studying patients who have undergone RVOT reconstruction either with a transannular patch or with a transannular patch and monocusp reconstruction, or with a heterograft or with a homograft.  Our hypothesis is that the use of monocusp reconstruction is of both short and intermediate term benefit for patients with congenital heart disease who required RVOT reconstruction and who would have otherwise received a transannular patch across the RVOT, a homograft, or a heterograft.

Deborah KarmStudent:  Deborah Karm
Preceptor:  Dr. Amanda Kong
Title:  Vascular calcifications on mammography: A marker for coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. Although many risk factors for this disease are known, it is currently difficult for physicians to diagnose CAD due to the lack of screening tools.  Studies have shown that several risk factors for CAD, such as diabetes and hypertension, are also associated with vascular breast calcifications seen on screening mammograms.  We will be analyzing the records of women who have had a cardiac catheterization and mammogram within the past two years of the cardiac catheterization for the past ten years. These women will be categorized into two groups, those who were diagnosed with CAD and those who were not diagnosed with CAD by receiving cardiac catheterization reports.    The most recent mammogram taken within the past two years will then be examined by a single breast radiologist to assess for benign vascular breast calcifications.  We will also identify other significant clinical variables such as smoking and diabetes.  Our goal is to identify a correlation between CAD and an increase in benign vascular breast calcifications on mammograms.  If a correlation is identified, screening mammograms could potentially be used as a screening tool for CAD.

Bilikisu Ashley LawalStudent:  Bilikisu Ashley Lawal
Preceptors:  Dr. Andrea Winthrop and Dr. Timothy Corden
Title:  Epidemiology of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Teen Drivers and occupants in Southeastern Wisconsin: Compliance with the Graduated Drivers License Regulations

The overall hypothesis of our research study is that teenage drivers and occupants that were involved in a MVC (motor vehicle crash) have inconsistent compliance with Graduated Drivers License (GDL) guidelines. The aim of the research project is to evaluate the epidemiology of MVC’s involving teenage drivers and occupants in the 7 Southeastern Wisconsin counties. This study will be a retrospective review specifically evaluating current driving behaviors, compliance with the components of the GDL, MVC patterns, and resulting injuries.  Our findings will also provide a baseline analysis that can be used in the future to evaluate the impact of the new Text Message Ban implemented on December 1, 2010. This research study will provide important information to inform our community partners and assist in the design of prevention programs targeting teen drivers in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Andrew LeikerStudent:  Andrew Leiker
Preceptor:  Dr. Tracy Wang
Title:  An Analysis of Intraoperative Parathyroid Hormone Kinetics in Elderly Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism

To date, parathyroidectomy is the only cure for primary hyperparathyroidism.  With the advent of intraoperative parathyroid hormone (IOPTH) monitoring and improved preoperative gland localization, surgical practice calls for the implementation of minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) in the absence of multigland disease, in contrast to a full neck exploration.  Intraoperative PTH monitoring allows the surgeon to monitor PTH levels in the operating room and determine whether or not additional hypersecretory glands need resection.  Current criterion for intraoperative biochemical cure utilizing IOPTH monitoring does not take into account age-related differences in PTH kinetics.  Our research aims to identify age-related differences in intraoperative PTH kinetics through the implementation of one phase exponential decay modeling.  Assuming age related PTH kinetic differences exist, a new intraoperative PTH algorithm for elderly patients based on multivariate analysis will be developed, which will include real time kinetic modeling of intraoperative PTH levels during parathyroidectomy.  This work is supported by the National Institute on Aging T35 Training Grant.

David PelozaStudent:  David Peloza
Preceptor:  Dr. Alonzo Walker
Title:  Assessing the Use of Stress Management Techniques and Biological Readings in the Breast Cancer Patient Population

We will be investigating the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the breast cancer patient population.  Specifically, we will be exploring the use of Biofeedback tools, including bio-thermal measurements and pulse rate, in order to allow patients to both monitor and help manage stress.  We will also be teaching patients a breathing technique that can be used to reduce stress and impact Biofeedback levels.  Additionally, we will assist in analyzing quality of life data from several tools, which will be reported by the patients throughout the study.  The goal of the project is to gather preliminary data on the effects of stress management techniques and Biofeedback tools in the breast cancer patient population to better understand these strategies for future use in therapy.

Kai YangStudent:  Kai Yang
Preceptor:  Dr. Cheryl Brosig
Title:  Behavioral Functioning and Quality of Life in Children with Congenital Heart Disease

Research suggests that children with congenital heart disease are at higher risk for neurodevelopmental and psychosocial problems.  The purpose of our study is to describe the behavioral functioning and quality of life of children referred for psychological services within the Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The specific goals of this project are describing the patient population based on demographic data, reasons for referral, cardiac diagnoses, and psychological diagnoses.  We will also compare this population to a normative population based on measures of behavioral functioning, specifically the Child Behavior Checklist and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. This study is part of a larger, IRB-approved study that was initiated in 2008.

  2012 Surgical Summer Research Students

Ben BiesterveldStudent: Ben Biesterveld
Ranked among top ten of 128 posters - received $500 prize
Preceptor: Dr. David Gourlay
Title: Inhibition of Alkaline Phosphatase and Progression of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a complex disease of the neonatal GI tract. It is characterized as a hyper-inflammatory state with severe intestinal damage and gut barrier breakdown. Bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is implicated as mediator of NEC by signaling its receptor, TLR4 and causing a robust inflammatory response. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) is an endogenous enzyme produced on the brush border of enterocytes that has been shown to dephosphorylate LPS, preventing interaction with TLR4. Our lab has shown that AP activity is significantly decreased in a neonatal rat model of NEC. Additionally, we have shown that enteral IAP supplementation is successful at attenuating NEC-associated symptoms. It is unclear whether the decrease in AP activity in NEC pups is a factor contributing to the disease progression, or a consequence of the loss of intestinal tissue that express IAP during NEC. My project is aimed at using inhibitors specific to IAP and tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphates (TNAP) to answer that question. I hypothesize that inhibition of IAP and not TNAP heightens sensitivity to LPS, leading to more severe NEC. I will be analyzing AP activity, intestinal injury, and expression of IAP, TNAP, TLR4 and inflammatory factors downstream of TLR4 to test my hypothesis.

Michael CainStudent: Michael Cain
Preceptor: Dr. Ronald Woods
Title: Major Neonatal Biventricular Cardiac Repair and Assessment of Optimal Timing of Surgery

Dextro-transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA) is the most common cyanotic cardiac anomaly, affecting 20-30 per 100,000 children and comprising nearly 10 percent of all congenital malformations. Anatomically, d-TGA is characterized by discordance of the ventriculoarterial connections of the heart, such that the aorta arises from the morphological right ventricle and the pulmonary artery arises from the morphological left ventricle, and therefore causes a separation of the systemic and pulmonary circulation. Due to development of severe cyanosis, short term catheter and/or pharmacological palliation followed by neonatal repair with an arterial switch operation prior to hospital discharge has become the standard of care. The current study aims to evaluate the impact of timing of the arterial switch operation in a cohort of patients presenting to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin between January of 2000 and May of 2011 so as to better elucidate the optimal postnatal time of intervention. Previous studies on timing of repair have focused only on the risk of left ventricular de-conditioning associated with surgical correction after 1-2 months of age. Despite a general perception that slightly older neonates respond more favorably to surgical stress, there is a paucity of data evaluating outcomes and timing of repair within 2-3 weeks of life. The purpose of the study is to provide further insight into the optimal timing of surgical correction of d-TGA by investigating the relationship of morbidity and mortality with the timing of surgical intervention during the first month of life.

Brock CardonStudent: Brock Cardon
Preceptors: Dr. Terri deRoon-Cassini, Dr. Karen Brasel
Title: Efficacy of a Four-Item PTSD Screen in Trauma Patients with Long-Term Psychological Distress

Development of psychiatric disorders after traumatic injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often causes major complications in patients' future recovery. Since 2007, the MCW trauma team has instituted the use of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist—Civilian version (PCLC), a 17-item questionnaire, to screen patients immediately following and six months after traumatic injury. Use of this screening procedure has greatly enhanced our ability to help patients with acute and chronic PTSD symptoms. Recently, a shorter, four-item questionnaire consisting of items currently on the PCLC has been shown to identify patients with acute PTSD symptoms with similar effectiveness. Our project seeks to examine the specificity and sensitivity of this shorter questionnaire in identifying patients with chronic PTSD symptoms at six months. To do so, we will retrospectively analyze the PCLC data compiled since 2007 from patients who completed surveys, both immediately following their injury as well as six months after. Our overall aim is to further improve and simplify our ability to identify patients with acute and chronic PTSD symptoms in order to target treatment to those most at risk for long-term psychological distress.

Michael ConnollyStudent: Michael Connolly
Preceptor: Dr. Jon Gould
Title: Validation of a Virtual Reality Based Robotic Surgical Skills Curriculum

The clinical application of robotic assisted surgery (RAS) is rapidly increasing. The skills necessary to perform robotic surgery are unique from those required for both open and laparoscopic surgery. A validated laparoscopic surgical skills curriculum has transformed the way surgeons acquire laparoscopic skills, but no such curriculum exists for robotic skills. Based on previously published data and expert opinion, we developed a robotic skills curriculum. We sought to evaluate this curriculum for evidence of construct validity (ability to discriminate between users of different skill levels). Four expert surgeons (defined as having performed >20 RAS) and twelve novice surgeons (second-year medical students with no surgical or RAS experience) were evaluated. The curriculum comprised five tasks utilizing the daVinci™ Skills Simulator (Pick & Place, Camera Targeting 2, Peg Board 2, Matchboard 2, and Suture Sponge 3). All subjects completed three consecutive repetitions of each task. Computer-derived performance metrics included time, economy of motion, master work space, instrument collisions, excessive force, distance of instruments out of view, drops, missed targets (in the case of the suture sponge), and overall score (a composite of all metrics). Performance of the two groups was compared using the Wilcoxon Rank Sum test with p <0.05 considered significant.

Brett FlanaganStudent: Brett Flanagan
Preceptors: Dr. Karen Brasel, Dr. Terri deRoon-Cassini
Title: Development of a Trauma Specific Quality of Life Measure

Patient quality of life can be used as an overarching assessment of how a patient is physically and mentally coping after traumatic injury. Many quality of life measures have been developed, including a generalized version called the SF-36. The goal of our study is to analyze a newly developed, trauma-specific, quality of life measure three months post-injury. Common types of trauma include falls, motor vehicle/motorcycle crashes, hand injuries, and gunshot wounds, all of which can be considered injurious disease. The survey questions, generated from qualitative analysis in trauma patient interviews, should assess their quality of life and correlate with the generalized SF-36 assessment. Trained research assistants administer the surveys via telephone to improve the completion rate. An exploratory factor analysis will help eliminate irrelevant or repeated questions and aid in question grouping. Additionally, concurrent validity will be explored with SF-36 and the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) measure. Trauma summaries and additional narrative information is also being collected to aid future studies. Hopefully the trauma specific quality of life assessment will be a more successful tool in assessing quality of life in traumatically injured samples.

Michael HwangStudent: Michael Hwang
Preceptor: Dr. Kiran Turaga
Title: Systematic Review of Patients Undergoing Hepatic Resection in the Setting of Extra-Hepatic Disease

Survival for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer has improved significantly over the years due to improvements in systemic chemotherapy in conjunction with aggressive surgical resection and multi-modality therapies. Patients with liver-only metastases have a very favorable five-year survival and a possibility of cure when they undergo a complete resection. However, patients with metastases outside of the liver historically have been considered poor candidates for surgery, given the concern for systemic spread of the disease past the liver. With the advancement of chemotherapy agents and longer survival in recent years, there are now several reports of improved survival for patients undergoing resection of their extra-hepatic disease along with a hepatic resection. This strategy promises patients the ability to become disease free after careful selection. We will conduct a systematic review of the literature to collect and analyze the survival data of patients undergoing hepatic resection in the setting of resectable extrahepatic disease.

Bill KrauseStudent: Bill Krause
Preceptor: Dr. Travis Webb
Title: Retrospective Review of Geriatric Small Bowel Obstruction Treatment and Outcomes Compared to a Younger Cohort

As the segment of Americans 65 years of age and older rapidly increases, the number of emergency surgeries for that population also is increasing. To help prevent medical injury and reduce societal costs, research must be implemented to study specific emergency surgeries and their outcomes in the geriatric population. One such surgery is emergency abdominal surgery to treat a small bowel obstruction (SBO). We will be conducting a retrospective chart review of patients admitting from the emergency department with an SBO, and will compare a geriatric population to a younger cohort. We will be measuring different treatment factors and outcome results. Given the great impact of SBO treatment on the elderly and the increasing burden of elderly trauma on the healthcare system, it is imperative that more research is performed to provide guidance to clinicians attempting to achieve excellence in the emergency surgical care of the geriatric patient. By comparing the variances in treatment and outcomes of SBO management, we may be able detect certain differences in the geriatric population that will lead to better results and avoid unnecessary harm.

Jonathan LinStudent: Jonathan Lin
Preceptor: Dr. Amanda Kong
Title: Risk of Associated Tubular Carcinoma after Surgical Excision of a Complex Sclerosing Lesion or Radial Scar Diagnosed on Core Needle Biopsy of the Breast

Radial scars (RS) and complex sclerosing lesions (CSL) are benign breast lesions of unknown etiology that usually are found incidentally or upon screening mammography. There is currently no consensus among studies on whether the these lesions represent an independent risk factor for breast malignancy, are susceptible to malignant transformation themselves, or are simply a benign finding. Despite this lack of agreement, the current treatment for these lesions is excision upon diagnosis due to their possible association with breast cancer. In this study, we will analyze the medical records of women who have had a RS/CSL diagnosed on core needle biopsy to determine the incidence of carcinoma upon excision, the development of cancer in these patients following lesion excision, the characteristics of RS/CSL associated with malignancy, and the outcome of those RS/CSL that are not excised. We will also investigate other clinical variables associated with the presence of a RS/CSL such as body mass index, past hormonal use, family history of breast cancer, and clinical presentation of the lesion. The study aims to provide more information regarding the management of patients with a RS/CSL.

Tami MooreStudent: Tami Moore
Preceptor: Dr. Parvaneh Rafiee
Title: Wnt 5a as a Tumor Suppressor in OE 33 Esophageal Cancer Cells

Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), a change in the epithelial lining of the esophagus, is a complication often associated with the exposure to acidic environments due to gastroesophageal reflux disease. BE is often asymptomatic and benign, but in a small percentage of people with this disorder, BE progresses to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (EAC), a highly malignant form of esophageal cancer. The family of Wnt proteins is important during development and embryogenesis, and they have been found to be involved in Wnt canonical pathways leading to cell survival and proliferation, as well as non-canonical Wnt pathways, which can lead to inhibition of canonical pathways possibly through Wnt 5a proteins. In support of this, it has been shown that there is a downregulation of Wnt 5a expression in both BE and EAC.  
My goal is to determine the role of Wnt 5a in cell proliferation and migration in OE33 esophageal cancer cell lines as well as its exact effect on the Wnt canonical pathways. I expect that Wnt 5a expression will lead to decreased proliferation and migration via inhibition of the Wnt canonical pathway in OE33 cell lines. Using various assays, I will determine cell proliferation and cell migration in cancer cells treated with recombinant Wnt 5a protein.

Ryan ScottStudent: Ryan Scott
Preceptor: Dr. Susan Tsai
Title: Evaluation of hENT-1 and RRM1 as prognostic markers in pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Given the aggressive tumor biology of pancreatic cancer, early administration of effective agents is important and aids in the selection of individuals for surgical resection. Two biomarkers have been identified from retrospective series to have predictive value for pancreatic cancer chemosensitivity to gemcitabine, ribonucleoside-diphosphate reductase 1 (RRM1) and human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT-1). However, the expression levels of these biomarkers and their correlative effects can be mixed (e.g., hENT-1 expression suggests gemcitabine sensitivity, while RRM1 expression suggests gemcitabine resistance). The overall objective of this project is to assess the relative impact of hENT-1 versus RRM1 expression in pancreatic cancer sensitivity to gemcitabine. The aims of this project are twofold. The first is to compare the hENT-1 and RRM1 immunohistochemical profiling of resected pancreatic specimens as it relates to disease-free and overall survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients. The second is to correlate hENT-1 and RRM1 expression with gemcitabine-induced apoptosis using established and primary pancreatic cancer cell lines. The results of this study could potentially be used in the future for a more personalized treatment plan for PDAC based on the expression levels of these different biomarkers.

Jonathan SeligmanStudent: Jonathan Seligman
Preceptor: Dr. Jon Gould
Title: Retrospective, Population-Based Analysis of Emergent versus Non-Emergent Paraesophageal Hernia Repair Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample

A large hiatal (paraesophageal) hernia that is mostly asymptomatic is often managed expectantly (no surgery). This is based largely on data from more than a decade ago, which suggest that the risks associated with elective repair exceed the risks of hernia progression and the potential need for emergent surgery related to the hernia. As the population ages and surgeons become more adept at treating these massive stomach hernias laparoscopically, it may be time to reconsider this approach. The aim of this project is to characterize and compare the clinical outcomes of patients admitted to the hospital who undergo repair of intrathoracic stomach either emergently or non-emergently. Our hypothesis is that increases in age and comorbidities, along with an emergent presentation are associated with increases in hospital morbidity and mortality rates following surgical repair of paraesophageal hernias. We also believe that a laparoscopic approach is independently associated with decreased morbidity and mortality rates compared to alternative approaches (open abdominal or thoracic). To investigate these questions, we will use data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (years 2005–2009).

Holly YongStudent: Holly Yong
Preceptor: Dr. Tracy Wang
Title: Thyroid Follicular Neoplasms in the Elderly: Does the Risk of Malignancy Justify Thyroidectomy?

Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is a sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for preoperative determination of thyroid malignancy. However, approximately 20–30% of thyroid nodules will be classified as “atypical”, and require thyroidectomy to definitively rule out carcinoma. Although thyroidectomy is associated with low rates of morbidity and mortality, recent studies have shown the elderly to have higher postoperative complication and readmission rates. The purpose of this study is to investigate the malignancy rates of elderly patients undergoing thyroidectomy for atypical follicular lesions. A retrospective chart review will be performed of all patients who underwent thyroidectomy by MCW endocrine surgeons since July 2009; for patients with atypical follicular cytology, preoperative cytology and postoperative histology results will be compared by age groups to determine rates of malignancy and postoperative morbidity, including emergency room visits, hospital readmissions, and endocrine-specific complications, including hypoparathyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. This work is supported by the National Institute on Aging T35 Training Grant.

  2013 Surgical Summer Research Students

The Department of Surgery faculty host summer students annually, providing funded research opportunities to enrich their education.  Through MCW’s Medical Student Summer Research Program, students are integrated into the research environment and actively participate on the research team.  Students have the opportunity to complete a project and submit their findings for potential publication at local and national meetings.  At the end of the summer, all students participate in a poster session held at MCW.  As the Department of Surgery and its various divisions continue to support student research, these students continue to add great value to the Department’s research efforts.  The 2013 summer research student list along with research project information is listed below.

Justin D. Bric

Student: Justin D. Bric
Preceptor: Jon Gould, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (General Surgery)
Project Title: Validation of a robotic surgical skills curriculum

Peter Dietrich

Student: Peter Dietrich
Preceptor: Karen Brasel, MD and Terri deRoon-Cassini, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery (Trauma)
Project Title: Determination of the Prevalence of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and its Correlation to the Development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Hospitalized Civilian Trauma Survivors

Samuel G. Dillman

Student: Samuel G. Dillman
Preceptor: David Gourlay, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (Pediatric)
Project Title: (400-06-1) the impact of vascular biology on necrotizing enterocolitis

Ryan Graf

Student: Ryan Graf
Preceptor: Ronald Woods, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (Cardiothoracic)
Project Title: The Impact of Intrauterine Growth Restriction On Outcomes of Congenital Heart Surgery

Ashley N. Krepline

Student: Ashley N. Krepline
Preceptor: Susan Tsai, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (Oncology)
Project Title: Incidence and risk factors for developing venous thromboembolism in pancreas cancer patients

Justin La

Student: Justin La
Preceptor: Tina Yen, MD MS
Department/Division: Surgery (Oncology)
Project Title: Effects of parathyroidectomy on sleep patterns and behaviors in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism

Alex Lois

Student: Alex W. Lois
Preceptor: Jon Gould, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (General)
Project Title: Gastrojejunostomy technique during laparoscopic RYGB: hand-sewn anastomosis (HAS) and circular-stapled anastomosis (CSA)

Matthew R. Mohorek

Student: Matthew R. Mohorek
Preceptor: Travis Webb, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (Trauma)
Project Title: Evaluating success of 2011 evidence-based guidelines for management of geriatric patients

Christopher R. Rettenmaier

Student: Christopher R. Rettenmaier
Preceptor: Matthew Goldblatt, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (General)
Project Title: Open Ventral Hernia Repair: Outcomes and Experiences at a Single Institution

Jacob M. Wilson

Student: Jacob M. Wilson
Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD
Department/Division: Surgery (Oncology)
Project Title: Molecular analysis of cholangiocarcinoma

Anthony J. Zacharias

Student: Anthony J. Zacharias
Preceptor: Kiran Turaga, MD MPH
Department/Division: Surgery (Oncology)
Project Title: Regional Therapy for Unrespectable Hepatic Metastases in Geriatric Patients: A Comparative Effectiveness Analysis

Diana W. Zhao

Student: Diana W. Zhao
Preceptor: Tracy Wang, MD MPH
Department/Division: Surgery (Oncology)
Project Title: Does parathyroidectomy improve bone density in elderly patients with primary hyperparathyroidism

  2014 Surgical Summer Research Students

The Department of Surgery faculty host summer students annually, providing funded research opportunities to enrich their education.  Through MCW’s Medical Student Summer Research Program, students are integrated into the research environment and actively participate on the research team.  Students have the opportunity to complete a project and submit their findings for potential publication at local and national meetings.  At the end of the summer, all students participate in a poster session held at MCW.  As the Department of Surgery and its various divisions continue to support student research, these students continue to add great value to the Department’s research efforts.  The 2014 summer research student list is below.

Katherine S. Becker

Student Name and Year: Katherine Becker (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: David M. Gourlay, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Pediatric Surgery
Project Title: Absence of IAP Leads to Increased Inflammation in the Newborn Intestine

Connor P. Callahan

Student Name and Year: Connor Callahan (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Ronald K. Woods, MD, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
Project Title: Relationship Between Outcomes and Approach for Neonatal Coarctation of the Aorta and Arch Hypoplasia – A Value Improvement Initiative

Reece K. DeHaan

Student Name and Year: Reece DeHaan (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Jon C. Gould, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/General Surgery
Abstract Title: Is Fundoplication Necessary Following Heller Myotomy?

Jonathan W. Heimler

Student Name and Year: Jon Heimler (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Susan Tsai, MD, MHS
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Survival Outcome of Patients with Resectable Pancreatic Cancer (PC) Receiving Neoadjuvant Therapy

Sierra Jin

Student Name and Year: Sierra Jin (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Tracy S. Wang, MD, MPH
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Frailty Markers and Thyroid/Parathyroid Surgical Outcomes in the Elderly

Colin M. Johnson

Student Name and Year: Colin Johnson (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Timothy J. Ridolfi, MD
Additional Authors: John M. Longo, MD; Beth Erickson, MD; Kirk A Ludwig, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Colorectal Surgery
Project Title: The Addition of a Staging PET-CT Alters Anal Cancer Treatment

Jean Kim

Student Name and Year: Jean Kim (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Tina W. F. Yen, MD, MS
Additional authors: Tracy S. Wang, MD, MPH; Kara Doffek, BS; Douglas B. Evans, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Racial Disparities in Presentation and Management in Hyperthyroidism Patients Prior to Surgical Referral

Steven T. Koprowski

Student Name and Year: Steven Koprowski (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD, MS and Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Curcumin-Mediated Regulation of Notch1/HES1/Survivin Pathway Signaling: Molecular Targeting in Cholangiocarcinoma

Lauren M. North

Student Name and Year: Lauren North (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Aoy Tomita-Mitchell, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
Project Title: Assessing Genetic Risk in a Familial Case of Ebstein’s Anomaly

Eric M. Ohlrogge

Student Name and Year: Eric Ohlrogge (M2)
Principal Investigator: Travis Webb, MD, MHPE
Collaborators: Kathleen O’Connell, MD (PGY-5, Resident, General Surgery)
Department/Division: Surgery/Trauma and Critical Care
Project Title: Identifying Risk Factors for Complications Following Ventral Hernia Repair in the Elderly Patient

Sandra H. Park

Student Name and Year: Sandra Hyunsoo Park (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Christopher P. Johnson, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Transplant Surgery
Project Title: Incidence and Significance of Posttransplant Donor-Specific HLA Antibody in Renal Transplantation

Mary Potkonjak

Student Name and Year: Mary Potkonjak (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD, MS
Additional Authors: Miura J, Turaga KK, Johnston F, Tsai S, Christians K
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma and Gallbladder Cancer: Distinguishing Molecular Profiles to Guide Potential Therapy

Irene S. Pourladian

Student Name and Year: Irene Pourladian (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Matthew I. Goldblatt, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/General Surgery
Project Title: Acetazolamide Reduces Postoperative Pain Following Laparoscopic Inguinal Herniorrhaphy

Max A. Schumm

Student Name and Year: Max Schumm (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Jon C. Gould, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/General Surgery
Project Title: Symptomatic Outcomes and Side Effects Following Fundoplication According to Gastroesophageal Junction Integrity

Yurie Sekigami

Student Name and Year: Yurie Sekigami (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Impact of Morbidity of Curative Cancer Surgery on Suicide Risk

Kathleen Wilcox

Student Name and Year: Kathleen Wilcox (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Terri deRoon-Cassini, PhD and Karen Brasel, MD, MPH
Department/Division: Surgery/Trauma and Critical Care
Project Title: Trauma-Specific Quality of Life: Evaluation of a New Instrument for Use with Older Adults

  2015 Surgical Summer Research Students

The Department of Surgery faculty host summer students annually, providing funded research opportunities to enrich their education. Through MCW’s Medical Student Summer Research Program, students are integrated into the research environment and actively participate on the research team. Students have the opportunity to complete a project and submit their findings for potential publication at local and national meetings. At the end of the summer, all students participate in a poster session held at MCW. As the Department of Surgery and its various divisions continue to support student research, these students continue to add great value to the Department’s research efforts. The 2015 summer research student list is below.

David Baltrusaitis (M2)

Student Name and Year: David Baltrusaitis (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Fabian Johnston, MD, MHS
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Multi-institutional evaluation of the role timing of non-surgical therapy on survival in gastric cancer

Alexander Barr (M2)

Student Name and Year: Alexander Barr (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Jon Gould, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/General Surgery
Project Title: Gastrojejunostomy technique during RYGB: analysis of Circular-stapled anastomosis (CSA) and Linear-stapled anastomosis (LSA)

Juliann Cho (M2)

Student Name and Year: Juliann Cho (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Matthew Goldblatt, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/General Surgery
Project Title: A retrospective review of ventral hernia repair using BIO-A for midline fascial closure reinforcement

Sarah Chrabaszcz (M2)

Student Name and Year: Sarah Chrabaszcz (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Time to progression: A prognostic tool for colorectal cancer

Paul Dyrud (M2)

Student Name and Year: Paul Dyrud (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Aoy Tomita-Mitchell, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery (Pediatric)
Project Title: Impact of MYH6 variants on biomechanical properties of cardiomyocytes in HLHS

Stephen Erickson (M2)

Student Name and Year: Stephen Erickson (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD, MS and Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: The Roles and Functional Differences between GSK-3α and β in Regulating Notch3-Mediated Neuroblastoma Growth

Kyla Fredrickson (M2)

Student Name and Year: Kyla Fredrickson (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Jasmeet Paul, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Trauma and Critical Care
Project Title: Improving Quality of Life after Rib Fracture in the Multiple Injured Elderly Trauma Patient through Targeted Psychological Intervention

William Hollabaugh (M2)

Student Name and Year: William Hollabaugh (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Ronald Woods, MD, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery (Pediatric)
Project Title: Comparison of Patch Materials for Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction

Joseph Katz (M2)

Student Name and Year: Joseph Katz (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: David Gourlay, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Pediatric Surgery
Project Title: Necrotizing Enterocolitis: the Role of Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase in Regulating Intestinal Permeability

Brittany Klooster (M2)

Student Name and Year: Brittany Klooster (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Peer review based system for selection of chemotherapy for metastatic colon cancer in elderly patients

Jacob Kream (M2)

Student Name and Year: Jacob Kream (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Kirk Ludwig, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Colorectal Surgery
Project Title: Anastomotic Outcomes after Colorectal Resections with a Pelvic Anastomosis

Caitlin Moore (M2)

Student Name and Year: Caitlin Moore (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Jasmeet Paul, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Trauma and Critical Care
Project Title: Non-operative management of blunt splenic injury without routine angioembolization

Eunice Paul Rajamanickam (M2)

Student Name and Year: Eunice Paul Rajamanickam (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Susan Tsai, MD, MHS
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Abstract Title: Prognostic value of elevated HbA1c in localized pancreatic cancer survival

Enio Perez (M2)

Student Name and Year: Enio Perez (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Christopher Johnson, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Transplant Surgery
Project Title: Analyzing the economic, public health impact and perception of establishing a kidney donor compensation program within Wisconsin

Caitlin Quinn (M2)

Student Name and Year: Caitlin Quinn (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Panna Codner, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Trauma and Critical Care
Project Title: Identifying Post Intensive Care Syndrome to Rehabilitate ICU Survivors

Michael Tanious (M2)

Student Name and Year: Michael Tanious (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD, MS
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: The role of external beam radiation to treat small sHCC lesions and compare it to microwave ablation

Elliot Toy (M2)

Student Name and Year: Elliot Toy (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Tim Ridolfi, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Colorectal Surgery
Project Title: Quality of Life following LAR versus APR for rectal cancer in the elderly

Connie Truong (M2)

Student Name and Year: Connie Truong (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: Cheong Jun (CJ) Lee, MD
Department/Division: Surgery/Vascular Surgery
Project Title: Outcomes after EVAR

Daniel Walden (M2)

Student Name and Year: Daniel Walden (M2)
Faculty Preceptor: T. Clark Gamblin, MD, MS and Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Surgical Oncology
Project Title: Xanthohumol reduces cholangiocarcinoma proliferative potential through decreasing notch expression

Nicholas Wleklinski (M2)

Student Name and Year: Nicholas Wleklinski (M2)
Principal Investigator: Aoy Tomita-Mitchell, PhD
Department/Division: Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery (Pediatric)
Project Title: Validation of a newborn screening test for 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome utilizing a TBX1/CRKL MQPCR Assay

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