Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Anesthesiology STAT Program

Our post-graduate Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), the STAT Program - short for Specialized Training in Anesthesiology Team Science - is supported by a prestigious NIH T32 grant and designed to develop exceptional clinicians and scholars through individualized training plans, mentorship, interdisciplinary research and career development.
The main goal of the Specialized Training in Anesthesiology Team Science (STAT) Program is to develop competent investigative anesthesiologists in broad areas of research including basic, clinical/translational, and outcomes. Our novel training plan allows for the creation of an interdisciplinary team of mentors to form innovative research projects using a collaborative team science approach. 

The MCW Department of Anesthesiology is fortunate to have been awarded a T32 grant through the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support the STAT Program, which is led by Drs. Julie Freed and Quinn Hogan.

Our program structure ensures that each STAT trainee will have a unique individualized training plan that will assist them into entry-level, full-time, academic faculty positions in Anesthesiology. A mentorship team will be created for each STAT trainee, which includes both extramurally-funded biomedical researchers and leaders with Anesthesiology to help guide their career development. A total of 32 participating faculty mentors representing 17 departments are categorized into the three main areas of research; basic science, clinical/translational, and outcomes. STAT trainees will be exposed to interdisciplinary research and undergo formalized training in grant/manuscript writing, biostatistics, rigor and responsibility in research, and cover ethical topics in research. The STAT track allows for a research-intensive experience during their clinical training, which includes research elective time followed by 12-24 months of NIH-supported research following the completion of their residency.


Benefits of the program

  • The flexibility to choose a research pathway that suits the trainee's needs
  • Research stipend provided for each year of integrated research fellowship
  • Provision of annual academic allowance for travel to meetings and to fund training–related expenses
  • Academic mentorship from strong clinician educators
  • Mentorship to enhance the transition from trainee to independent investigator


To apply

Interested applicants should contact STAT Recruitment Coordinator, Dr. Christopher Roberts, at croberts@mcw.edu

STAT Mentors and Research Interests

Basic Science

  • Jeffrey Binder, MD: Focuses on neural systems underlying language processes using fMRI and other neuroimaging modalities, predictors of cognitive outcome following neurosurgery, and neural basis for consciousness and awareness. Trainees will have the opportunity to perform investigation of cognition in humans using fMRI and large database analysis.
  • Yi-Guang Chen, PhD: Uses animal models to evaluate susceptibility to type 1 diabetes mellitus. Genetically modified mice allow for the study of diabetes development at both the molecular and cellular levels. Trainees will be able to learn how to conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS) as it relates to type 1 diabetes.
  • Justin Grobe, PhD: Focuses on understanding the neural control of cardiovascular & metabolic function, with a particular focus upon the local brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and its effectors, vasopressin (AVP) and the sympathetic nervous system. Trainees will have the opportunity to conduct research regarding the neurobiology controlling blood pressure and resting metabolic rate.
  • Cecilia Hillard, PhD: Focuses on endocannabinoid signaling in the regulation of the stress response, regulation of glycogen synthase kinase 3, and modulation of the sympathetic nervous system by cannabinoid receptors during hypertension. Her participation will enable trainees to investigate receptor neuropharmacology during stress and disease.
  • Matthew Hodges, PhD: Focuses on understanding brainstem mechanisms controlling vital, homeostatic control systems including breathing and cardiovascular function in animal models of health and disease. Trainees will have the opportunity to conduct research regarding respiratory function and dysfunction. **Dr. Hodges is the PD for the predoctoral T32 in the Department of Physiology and will serve on the STAT Review Committee.
  • Quinn H. Hogan, MD: Focuses on mechanisms of hyperalgesia following nerve injury, neural membrane function, including changes in voltage gated ion channels and receptor agonist effects; novel analgesic approaches including genetic therapy and neuromodulation; anatomy and physiology of regional anesthetic blockade, and imaging of neural blockade. Dr. Hogan’s contribution enables trainees to investigate mechanisms of neuropathic pain.
  • Curt Sigmund, PhD: Focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the brain renin-angiotensin system regulates cardiovascular function and how downstream molecular pathways in the endothelium and vascular smooth muscle regulate vascular function and arterial pressure. Trainees will have the opportunity to conduct research regarding molecular and genetic mechanisms regulating blood pressure.
  • Brian Smith, PhD: Focuses on signaling pathways involving reversible acetylation and gaseous signaling and how these pathways underlie fundamental biochemical processes important in inflammation-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. His participation will allow for trainees to conduct research as it relates to nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide signaling.
  • Astrid Stucke, MD: Studies neuronal mechanisms for generation and control of respiratory motor output patterns, and characterization of the control of discharge patterns of various brainstem respiratory neurons. Trainees will investigate the pharmacology of central nervous system control of respiration.
  • Cheryl Stucky, PhD: Focuses on molecular mechanisms of sensory neuron signal transduction specifically transient receptor potential channels in nocioception, mechanotrandsuction and neuropathic pain. Trainees will develop skills in studying molecular mechanisms that mediate acute and chronic pain states.


Translational/Clinical Research

  • Andreas Beyer, PhD: Examines the effect of anti-cancer treatments on the human coronary and peripheral vasculature. Individuals under Dr. Beyer’s mentorship will contribute to the field of cardio-oncology by studying how chemotherapy leads to cardiovascular disease.
  • Amy Drendel, DO, MS: Performs large-scale clinical trials that relate to optimization of pain treatment for children. Trainees will be able to learn how to conduct clinical trials in the area of pain management.
  • Matthew Durand, PhD: Performs interventions through clinical trials to improve vascular function in the context of stroke rehabilitation and surgical prehabilitation. Trainees will be able to develop clinical research and trial design skills related to both rehabilitation and prehabilitation of frail patients.
  • Julie Freed, MD, PhD: Evaluates mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction within the human microcirculation during both health and disease. Trainees under her mentorship will have the opportunity to learn translational research approaches for understanding cardiovascular disease.
  • Joseph Goveas, MD: Focuses on improving understanding of the neurobiological markers that may help us predict who, following the death of a loved one, are resilient and will successfully transition to integrated grief from those who are prone to develop prolonged grief disorder. Trainees will have the opportunity to conduct clinical research regarding grief in families of critically ill patients.
  • Joy Lincoln, PhD: Studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate normal heart formation in the embryo, and how disturbances in this process lead to congenital valve disease at birth or acquired phenotypes later in life. Trainees will have the opportunity to use translational approaches and human samples to examine how cardiac valve disease develops.
  • Jennifer McIntosh, DO, MS: Examines the relationship between mitochondrial damage and endothelial dysfunction and subsequent development of preeclampsia. Trainees will learn how to conduct translational research using human placenta samples as it relates to the development of maternal disease.
  • Raul Urrutia, MD: A precision medicine expert, Dr. Urrutia utilizes his expertise in the areas of genomics, epigenomics, and individualized medicine, to understand the development of pancreatic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Trainees will learn how to conduct research as it relates to precision medicine in the context of cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH: Studies the regulation of endothelial function by proteins and miRNA. In addition, he manages multiple clinical trials related to vascular function, specifically in diabetic patients. Trainees will have the opportunity to develop translational research tools and clinical trial design in the context of cardiovascular disease.


Outcomes Research

  • Kirsten Beyer, PhD, MPH, MS: Focuses on the intersection of health, place, and social justice, specifically neighborhood environmental characteristics on health outcomes. Trainees will learn how to conduct population health research which may translate to surgical patients and outcomes.
  • Terri de Roon-Cassini, PhD, MS: Focuses on documenting psychological, quality of life and resilience outcomes after injury and detecting acute risk for poor outcomes, as well as identifying psychosocial and neurobiological targets for early intervention to prevent distress and PTSD after trauma. Trainees will have the opportunity to examine how psychological factors affect surgical outcomes.
  • Leonard Egede, MD, MS: As a nationally-recognized health disparities researcher, Dr. Egede's research focuses on developing and testing innovative interventions to reduce and/or eliminate health disparities related to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location for chronic medical and mental health conditions. Trainees will have the opportunity to learn how to conduct clinical outcome research in the context of healthcare disparities.
  • Timothy Meier, PhD: Performs cross-disciplinary, translational neuroimaging research to identify mechanisms of the acute pathophysiological effects of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their relationship to long-term neurological outcomes. Trainees will have the opportunity to study how TBI affects surgical outcomes and/or postoperative cognitive dysfunction.
  • Melinda Stolley, PhD: Focuses on health behaviors and health behavior change with the goal of improving patient-reported and cancer outcomes. She has nearly 20 years of experience developing and testing lifestyle change interventions among children, adults and cancer survivors. Trainees will be able to study how individual behaviors influence surgical outcomes.


Current & Past Trainees

Trainee Years Current Position
Boran Katunaric, MD
Current Anesthesiology resident
Thomas Langer, MD, PhD
Current Anesthesiology resident
Natasha Topoluk, MD, PhD
Current Anesthesiology resident
William Gross, MD, PhD
2014 –2018
Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, MCW
Christopher Roberts, MD, PhD
2013 –2018
Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, MCW
Maia Terashvili, PhD
2016 –2018
Research Scientist, Gastroenterology, Medicine, MCW
Julie Freed, MD, PhD
2011 – 2016  Associate Professor, Executive Vice Chair and Director of Clinical Research, Anesthesiology, MCW
Joseph Fisher, PhD
2013 – 2014
Assistant Professor, Biology, Concordia University - Wisconsin
Justin Miller, PhD
2014  Assistant Professor, Biology, Carthage College