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The University of Kansas General Surgery Residency Program encourages and supports research efforts by residents at all stages of the training. The Department of Surgery has a long tradition of excellence in research and continues to provide multiple opportunities for residents to engage in both basic science and clinical research.


Clinical and Basic Science Research Opportunities

Residents regularly collaborate with faculty members on basic science and/or clinical research projects.  Residents receive departmental support to present their research findings at regional and national meetings.  For example, residents frequently present their research work at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, SAGES, Kansas Chapter- American College of Surgeons, Breast Cancer Challenge, and the Southwestern Surgical Congress.

Select residents are given the opportunity for dedicated research time at the University of Kansas (1 to 2 years). One resident, Dr. Randi Ryan, is currently in a dedicated research for the 2017-2018 academic year. Dr. Ryan's research mentor is Shrikant Anant, Ph.D., and her research is focused on:

Acquisition and Culture of Human Tissue Samples in Esophageal Carcinoma 

  • The goal of this project is to obtain tissue samples from patients undergoing esophagectomy for esophageal carcinoma. These tissue samples will be used for culture in 2D and 3D in a laboratory to be used for the study of gene expression profiles and exposure to known and novel chemotherapeutic agents. Whole blood samples from patients will be obtained in conjunction with tumor tissue samples in order to detect circulating free nucleic acids that potentially correlate with the presence of esophageal carcinoma, response to treatment and predict overall prognosis

A research coordinator is available within the Department of Surgery to assist residents with research study design, IRB application process, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation.

Three productive basic science laboratories within the Department of Surgery are currently available to interested residents:
-   Dr. Joshua Mammen evaluates the signaling mechanisms of natural compounds on melanoma stem cells.
-   Dr. John Wood examines mechanisms of microvascular inflammation in systemic hypoxia and hemorrhagic shock.
-   Dr. Shahid Umar's Laboratory Focus:

  1. Investigations related to the role of intestinal stem cells on host immunity.
  2. Exploration of enteric pathogen's role in EMT, metastasis and frank malignancy.

Formal Research Education

All residents complete a 3-month research rotation during a residency in the Department of Surgery.  The mission of the Surgery Research Committee is to increase research efforts of both the residents and faculty in the department.  To accomplish this goal, residents will be assigned a faculty member to serve as a research mentor.  Residents can select their preferences based on their own interests as well as the research interests of the faculty.  The Surgery Research Committee will assign residents to their listed preferences as much as possible.  However, to ensure a relatively even distribution of residents to faculty, in some cases, residents may be assigned to someone other than their preferred mentors.  A progress report should be submitted by the resident to the Surgery Research Committee every 4 months describing what has been accomplished toward the goals of the research project.  

By the end of every two years in the residency program, each resident will be expected to submit one of the following categories for publication:

  1. Two clinical case reports
  2.  A review article
  3.  Book chapter
  4. Original clinical or basic science research article

Current Resident Research

Charlene Dekonenko, M.D.

Research Mentor: Robert Winfield, MD, FACS

Smartphone Application for Surgical Residents

  • My research involves the development of a smart phone application that can help improve communication and efficiency in the daily lives of surgical residents. Examples of proposed applications include automatic case logging, call team communication app, patient transfers, duty hours app & clinic hours app.

Kara Hessel, D.O.

Research Mentor: Mazin Al-kasspooles, MD, FACS

ACS NSQIP Surgical Outcomes in HIPEC Based on Preoperative Hypoalbuminemia and BMI: What Carries More Weight?

Research Mentor:  Peter DiPasco, MD, FACS

Have we come as far as we had hoped? Discrimination in the Residency Interview.

Research Mentor:  Joseph Valentino, M.D. 

Extended prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism: Current guidelines versus current practice

Sam Hong, M.D.

Research Mentor: Justin Green, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS

Consultation For Dummies - A QI Project on Improving Consultation Efficiency Description

  • My research project will evaluate the overall efficiency of surgical consultations at KU medical center. I am also designing inter-departmental training sessions to reduce unnecessary surgical consultations and improve overall resident work efficiency.

Lyndsey Kilgore, M.D.

Research Mentor: Peter DiPasco, MD, FACS

A Methodological Approach to the Revision of Morbidity and Mortality Conference

  • This study evaluates an M&M format change at a large academic institution based upon faculty and resident feedback.

Research Mentor: Joshua Mammen, MD, FACS

Classification and Management of Sweat Gland Carcinomas

  • A case series, review of the literature, and comparison of a large academic institution's management of sweat gland carcinomas to the national PUF database.

Research Mentor: Jamie L. Wagner, DO, FACOS

The Effects of Tumor Size and Nodal Burden on Development of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients

Jennifer Lu, D.O.

Research Mentor: John Ashcraft, D.O.

Review and Analysis of Surgical Infection Rates Post Implementation of a Surgical SSI Bundle in Colon Surgery Patients

  • Critical analysis of the rate of SSIs in the general surgery patient population at KU pre and post implementation of an SSI bundle.

Research Mentor: Robert Winfield, M.D., Ph.D.

Obesity, Inflammation, and Coagulation

  • Obese patients are known to have a risk of increased venous thromboembolic events, this is partially due to hypercoagulability associated with obesity. This paper breaks down trauma patients by BMI, VTE events, inflammatory markers and coagulation markers to assess the impact of this relationship.

Tyler Mouw, M.D.

Research Mentor: Mazin Al-kasspooles, MD, FACS

Surgical Outcomes in Colon and Rectal Surgery

  • An evaluation of the impact that pre operative and intra-operative factors has on the outcomes of patients undergoing colon and rectal surgery.

Duke Pfitzinger, D.O.

Research Mentor: Jamie L. Wagner, DO, FACOS

Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema (BCRL) Risk Assessment; 4-year Prospective Analysis

  • Patients who have undergone mastectomy with reconstruction will have a decreased risk of BCRL in comparison to patients who have undergone mastectomy without reconstruction. Preservation of blue lymph nodes decreases risk of BCRL. In patients undergoing breast conservation therapy and either ALND or SLNB, reducing radiation therapy fields decreases the development of BCRL.

Research Mentor:  Emmanuel Daon, MD, FACS

Blood Conservation in Cardiopulmonary Bypass Procedures

  • Evaluating the cost and potential savings of type and screen vs type and crossmatch for low risk, elective first time cardiac surgery patients compared to a historical set from the year before. a. End goal is to measure variables (complications, transfusion rates, length of stay, etc.), determine whether or not the frequency of adverse events increases, or if it results in improved care. Hope to have fewer labeling errors/transfusion reactions from less processing

Research Mentor: Robert Winfield, M.D., Ph.D.

Is Tranexamic Acid Safe for use in Obese Trauma Patients?

  • Do obese patients receiving TXA have increased rates of thromboembolic events relative to other patients?

Matthew Richey, M.D.

Research Mentor: Emmanuel Daon, M.D., and Brigid Flynn, M.D.

Implementation of an early extubation protocol in cardiac surgical patients decreased ventilator time but not intensive care unit or hospital length of stay

  • This project focuses on postoperative extubation protocols in heart surgery patients.

Eric Shurtleff, D.O.

Research Mentor: Robert Winfield, M.D., Ph.D.

Evaluation of Times to Level I Trauma Care and Delays in Care in a Rural Trauma System

Mentor: Mazin Al-kasspooles, MD, FACS Title:

Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) for rectal cancer registry: Locoregional recurrence of rectal cancer in patients undergoing TME with curative intent between 2006 and 2015

Jonathan Warren, M.D.

Research Mentor: John Wood, PhD

Attenuation of Cutaneous Burn-Induced Microvascular Inflammation by Carbon Monoxide

  • The project involves the attenuation of microvascular inflammation, specifically vascular permeability and leukocyte adherence, following trauma (steam exposure to experimental rat subjects) and the effects that a carbon releasing molecule (CORM) injection has upon the attenuation noted.
  • Specific Aims: Evaluate whether an active CORM attenuates leukocyte adherence and microvascular permeability following cutaneous thermal injury

Erich Wessel, D.O.

Research Mentor: John Ashcraft, DO

High-Resolution Anoscopy in a High-Risk Population: A Retrospective Review of 61 Patients

  • This project aims to determine if HRA was associated with an increased diagnosis of anal malignancies or an increased detection of progression of premalignant condition

Last modified: Sep 01, 2017