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Surgery PSTP Scholars

Current Scholars

Sofia Aronson

Sofia Aronson

Mentor

Arun Gosain, MD

Education

Undergraduate: Brown University

Medical School: Brown University

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Research Interests:

Dr. Aronson is a Research Fellow in the lab of Dr. Arun Gosain, where she is primarily focused on studying the impact of tissue expansion on skin. She is investigating the molecular, cellular, and biomechanical consequences of tissue expansion, which may pose therapeutic targets to improve the process and clinical outcomes of tissue expansion. She is expanding this investigation to the setting of irradiated tissue, which is of particular relevance to oncologic reconstruction. In addition, Dr. Aronson is interested in microsurgery, general plastic and reconstructive surgery, and education and mentorship.
Jenny Bai

Jenny Bai

Mentor

U. S. Food and Drug Administration

Education

Undergraduate: Dartmouth College

Medical School: University of Maryland

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Research Interests:

Dr. Bai is doing a fellowship at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for her research year. She is a Senior Staff Fellow working as a Medical Officer at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) in the Office of Surgical and Infection Control Devices. She is responsible for clinical review of the total product life cycle for plastic and general surgery device files, including pre-market, post-market, and compliance work. In addition to her work at the FDA, Dr. Bai is interested in microsurgery, innovation, and opioid reduction.
Emily Cerier

Emily Cerier

Mentor

Ankit Bharat, MD

Scott Budinger, MD

Harris Perlman, MD

Alexander Misharin, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Cerier's research is investigating the pathogenesis of primary graft dysfunction, an important risk factor in chronic lung allograft dysfunction following lung transplant, in cystic fibrosis patients under the mentorship of Dr. Bharat. Specifically, she aims to better understand the impact of the mutated cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and lung restricted autoantibodies on recipient non-classical monocytes in lung allograft injury and chronic rejection following lung transplantation. She is a T32 post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Allergy and Immunology and recipient of the Thoracic Surgery Foundation Research Reward to fund her studies.
Andres Guerra

Andres Guerra

Mentor

Ashley Vavra, MD

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Arizona

Master's: Northwestern University

Medical Degree: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

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Research Interests:

Dr. Guerra is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern’s Center for Education in Health Sciences. Dr. Guerra is currently interested in outcomes and quality improvement research, specifically in the field of vascular surgery. Current interests include incorporating patient reported outcome (PRO) measures in patients with critical limb ischemia who undergo either open or endovascular interventions to improve quality of life in this patient cohort. Additionally, D. Guerra is interested in endovascular aortic repair (EVAR) under monitored anesthetic care and outcomes with carotid bypass and trans-carotid artery stenting (TCAR). Finally, Dr. Guerra is interested in improving vascular resident training and autonomy via video-based feedback and review of endovascular interventions.
Jessie Ho

Jessie Ho

Mentor

Hasan Alam, MD

Education

Undergraduate: The University of Texas at Dallas

Medical School: Texas A&M College of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Ho's research is focused on hemorrhagic and septic shock. She is investigating pro-survival strategies in the setting of prolonged damage control resuscitation and traumatic brain injury using a swine model. Additionally, she is developing a project studying mechanisms of a novel pathway affecting cellular dysfunction in sepsis. She is pursuing a Master’s in Science in Clinical Investigation from the Northwestern University Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Andrew Hu

Andrew Hu

Mentor

Dr. Mehul Raval, MD

Dr. Karl Bilimoria, MD

Education

Medical School: University of Sheffield Medical School

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Research Interests:

Dr. Hu's research focuses on health services and outcomes research as well as surgical quality improvement relating to pediatric surgery. His focus is on improving the overall quality of postoperative care in pediatric surgery patients in addition to novel video-based surgical education methods. He is pursuing a Master's Degree in Health Services and Outcomes through Northwestern University.
Rachel Hae-Soo Joung

Rachel Hae-Soo Joung

Mentor

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Ryan Merkow, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Western Ontario

Medical School: New York University

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Research Interests:

Dr. Joung’s research interests lie in outcomes and quality improvement in surgical oncology as well as health services and health policy research. Her focus is on identifying predictors of guideline adherence and identifying targets for surgical quality improvement. Additionally, she is interested in utilizing patient reported outcomes to improve cancer care delivery. She is a T32 postdoctoral fellow in Surgical Oncology at Northwestern University’s Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC), under the guidance of Dr. Karl Bilimoria. She will also obtain a Master’s degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern University.
Bona Ko

Bona Ko

Mentor

Karl Bilimoria, MD, MS

Jacqueline Kruser, MD, MS

Education

Undergraduate: Vassar College

Graduate School: Columbia University

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Ko's research is focused on surgical outcomes and palliative care in the intensive care unit. Specifically, she is interested in understanding and improving the quality of care that is delivered to patients at the end of life. Additional areas of investigation include projects that involve outcomes related to surgical oncology. She is performing this work as part of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center of Northwestern University. She is the recipient of the NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowship, which is funded by the Agency for Health Research and Quality.
Charles Logan

Charles Logan

Mentor

David Odell, MD

David Bentrem, MD

Ryan Merkow, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Alaska

Medical School: University of Washington

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Research Interests:

Dr. Logan’s research focuses on surgical outcomes, health disparities, quality improvement, and patient safety. He is specifically interested rural health, veteran’s health, surgical oncology, and thoracic surgery. He is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University’s Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC). He is also pursuing a certification in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern’s Center for Education in Health Sciences.
Eric Pillado

Eric Pillado

Mentor

Andrew Hoel, MD

Karl Bilimoria, MD

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Research Interests:

Dr. Pillado's research is focused on health services outcomes. He is interested in healthcare disparities among diabetic patients with peripheral arterial disease and improving patient education in limb salvage. Currently he is working on creating simulators for percutaneous arterial access and closure. He is a T32 postdoctoral fellow in the Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute.
Audra Reiter

Audra Reiter

Mentor

Mehul Raval, MD

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Graduate School: UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Reiter focuses on health services and outcomes research and the delivery of high-quality surgical care to pediatric patients. As a Research Scholar for the Northwestern University’s Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC) and the Northwestern Division of Pediatric Surgery, she will be spending two years working on quality improvement and outcomes research for pediatric surgery under the mentorship of Dr. Mehul Raval. Dr. Reiter is currently taking 2 years away from her general surgery training at Northwestern to focus on her research interests while pursuing the Methodology Certification for Health Services and Outcomes Research through Northwestern University's Institute for Public Health and Medicine.

Past Scholars

Brian Brajcich

Mentor

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Education

Undergraduate: Gonzaga University

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Brajcich’s research interests include surgical quality improvement and outcomes research. Specifically, he is studying outcomes related to surgical oncology and colorectal surgery procedures. Additionally, he is researching current practices in surgical residency training and their impact on resident well-being. He is performing this work as part of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center of Northwestern University and is a Clinical Scholar in Residence of the American College of Surgeons. He will also obtain a Master’s degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research.​

Matt Chia

Mentor

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Ashley Vavra, MD

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Research Interests:

Dr. Chia’s research is focused on vascular surgery outcomes and surgical training. His projects are on benchmarking local outcomes of lower extremity bypass against centers in the Vascular Quality Initiative and analysis of selective shunting in carotid endarterectomy. Additional areas of investigation include the implementation of Entrustable Professional Activities in the medical student surgery clerkship and patterns of wellness/burnout in vascular surgery trainees in the United States. He is pursuing a Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern’s Center for Education in Health Sciences. He is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Courtney Lanese Furlough

Mentor

Andrew Hoel, MD

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Research Interests:

Dr. Furlough is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program. Her research is focused on vascular surgery outcomes and surgical ethics. Her primary project focuses on long term outcomes following elective aortic aneurysm repairs using the Vascular Quality Initiative-Medicare linked database. Additional projects involve evaluating the ethical decision-making climate in subspecialty intensive care units. She is currently completing a Master's degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research at the Northwestern Graduate School.

Courtney Harris

Education

Undergraduate: University of Virginia

Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Harris’ research aims lie in improving fertility preservation options for prepubertal and young adolescent patients who are diagnosed with both benign and malignant conditions that require gonadotoxic treatments. Specifically, Dr. Harris is investigating the varying techniques of laparoscopic oophorectomy for ovarian tissue cryopreservation, analyzing its effects on ovarian follicle health, and perfecting processing techniques to ensure no tissue is wasted. The overall goal of her research is to create best practice guidelines to ensure the highest quality tissue is cryopreserved and thus give patients the best chance at future fertility restoration. Dr. Harris is currently a Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is also a Surgical Fellow with the Fertility and Hormone Preservation and Restoration team at Lurie Children’s.

Amy Holmstrom

Mentor

Eric Hungness, MD

Ezra Teitelbaum, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Medical School: Boston University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Holmstrom's research aims to better define the anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment of esophageal disorders. Her primary focus is on achalasia, a rare neurodegenerative esophageal motility disorder. Additional areas of investigation include gastroesophageal reflux disease and other non-achalasia esophageal motility disorders. Dr. Holmstrom also works in the Northwestern Simulation Lab, where she is focused on surgical mastery learning and education. She is in the Medical Education Clinical Scholars Program through McGaw and received the Surgical Education Research Fellowship through the Association of Surgical Education.

Julian Klosowiak

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Research Interests:

Dr. Klosowiak is a fellow at the FDA, where he joined a review team to understand the policies and regulations behind plastic and reconstructive surgery devices. During his FDA fellowship, Dr. Klosowiak participated in FDA regulation of medical devices, including device safety and efficacy evaluation, device adverse event evaluation, and medical device recalls.

Simon Moradian

Mentor

Levi Hargrove, PhD

Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD

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Research Interests:

Dr. Moradian’s research is focused on the new and evolving field of osseointegration (OI) and its combination with targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR). In OI, a titanium implant is surgically anchored and integrated into bone. This skeletal integration then allows for a robotic prosthetic limb to be attached directly to the implant in lieu of a socket based approach. Additionally, combining OI with TMR, which was invented by Dr. Dumanian here at Northwestern, will allow for eventual seamless control of a robotic prosthetic for daily use. Dr. Moradian will be spending time at the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Levi Hargrove and Dr. Todd Kuiken where he will also be using an animal model to test novel EMG sensing implants to further aid myoelectric prosthetic control. His overarching goal is to help bring this technology to Northwestern and establish a center for osseointegration through collaboration with plastic surgery, orthopedics, and the Shirley Ryan Ability lab for rehab.​

Katherine Ott

Mentor

Aimen Shaaban, MD

Education

Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania

Medical School: Washington University in Saint Louis

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Research Interests:

Dr. Ott's research aims to better define immunologic and physiologic mechanisms underlying neural tube defects in utero. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Aimen Shaaban, her primary focus is on understanding the role of maternal NK cells in the protection against fetal teratogenesis in both mouse and human studies. She is in the Lurie Research Scholars Program through the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. She was also awarded an NIH Loan Repayment Award for her research.

Vivek Pamulapati

Mentor

Karen Ho, MD

Education

Undergraduate: Princeton University

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Pamulapati’s research is focused on exploring the role of the gut microbiome in modulating neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Ho. His research includes the use of germ free mouse surgical models and techniques in molecular biology. He is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He is pursuing a Methodology Certificate through the Northwestern University Health Services and Outcomes Research Department.

William Phillips

Mentor

Yolonda Colson, MD, PhD

David Odell, MD

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Research Interests:

Dr. Phillips’ research is focused on improving the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Under the mentorship of Yolonda Colson at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he is working on sentinel lymph node mapping in non-small cell lung cancer to identify metastatic disease and help minimize the morbidity associated with extensive lymph node dissections. This is accomplished by utilizing near infrared technology to visualize a fluorescent dye (indocyanine green) tracking to nearby lymphatics following peritumoral injection. Additionally, with the collaboration of David Odell at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, he is working to expedite the time to diagnosis and standardize the treatment of lung cancer patients identified as vulnerable in the greater Boston area. Dr. Phillips’ research is supported by the American College of Surgeons Resident Research Scholarship.

Cary Schlick

Mentor

David Bentrem, MD

Karl Bilimoria, MD

Education

Undergraduate: St. Olaf College

Graduate School: Northwestern University

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University

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Research Interests:

Dr. Schlick’s research interests lie in quality adherence and access to healthcare across geographic and health system boundaries. Specifically, she is interested in adherence to cancer care metrics in relation to geographic and financial variables and how patient outcomes are impacted by treatments available to them. Dr. Schlick is originally from rural Minnesota and ultimately aims to lessen healthcare disparities across America through both her clinical and research efforts. She is a research fellow in the SOQIC group under the guidance of Karl Bilimoria. Additionally, she is working with David Bentrem at the VA to assess the quality of cancer provided to this population. Dr. Schlick is currently completing a Master’s degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research through the Northwestern University Institute for Public Health and Medicine.

Matthew Snyder

Mentor

Eric Hungness, MD

Ezra Teitelbaum, MD

Education

Undergraduate: Vanderbilt University

Graduate School: Marshall University

Medical School: Marshall University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Snyder's research aims to better understand the physiology, diagnosis, and surgical treatment of esophageal disorders. Achalasia, a rare neurodegenerative esophageal motility disorder, is his primary focus. Additional areas of clinical investigation include the understanding and utilization of functional lumen imaging probes and their role in interoperative assessment of esophageal physiology. Dr. Snyder also works in the Northwestern Simulation Lab where he designs and implements surgical based mastery-learning curricula for residents and medical students. He has been accepted to the Medical Education Clinical Scholars Program through McGaw and has completed a Simulation-Based Mastery Learning Education Course.

Tarik Yuce

Mentor

Karl Y Bilimoria, MD, MS

Ryan Merkow, MD

Education

BA: Boston University

MD: Temple University School of Medicine

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Research Interests:

Dr. Yuce’s interests lie in outcomes research as well as surgical quality improvement relating to minimally invasive benign foregut and bariatric surgery. His focus is on identifying possible avenues for improving bariatric outcome measures, such as readmission and surgical site infections. He also is exploring methods to augment minimally invasive surgical training for general surgery residency. He will complete a Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research while a T32 postdoctoral fellow at the Northwestern Center for Education in Healthcare Studies.