Scientific and Clinical Breakthroughs

Spotlight on Award Winners


Spotlight on the SUS 2018 - 2019 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from the SUS Foundation 

Raoud Marayati, MD

SUS Member Sponsor and Mentor: Elizabeth Beierle, MD

Project: PIM3 Kinase Promotes Tumor Metastasis in Hepatoblastoma

Dr. Marayati received her medical degree from the University of Aleppo-Faculty of Medicine in 2013. After graduating from medical school, she joined Dr. Jen Jen Yeh's laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she spent 3 years understanding the molecular biology and genetics that promote tumorigenesis and metastasis of colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Marayati subsequently matched into the University of Alabama at Birmingham General Surgery residency program, where she recently completed her second year of residency. She joined Dr. Elizabeth Beierle’s basic science and translational laboratory in July 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow, where she will be investigating the role of PIM3 kinase and its downstream mechanism in promoting tumor metastasis in Hepatoblastoma. Her proposed studies will yield novel insights into signaling pathways and provide information that will allow for improved treatment of metastatic or relapsed disease. Dr. Marayati is fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Beierle, who is a leader in the field of signal transduction pathways in pediatric solid tumors. Dr. Marayati plans to complete her clinical training in General Surgery followed by a Pediatric Surgery fellowship. Her goal is to become an independently funded pediatric surgeon-scientist at an academic medical institution, where she can establish and maintain an active clinical and research career.

Spotlight on the SUS 2018 - 2019 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from KARL STORZ

David Mahvi, MD

SUS Member Sponsor and Mentor: Yolonda Colson, MD 

Project: Novel Doxorubicin-Eluting Polymer Film to Prevent Locoregional Recurrence in Sarcoma

Dr. Mahvi began his academic career at Duke University, where he studied biology and chemistry as well as investigated the use of aptamers in cancer therapy. He completed his medical school training at the University of Wisconsin, graduating with research honors for his work with adoptive T-cell transfer and checkpoint inhibition immunotherapy for melanoma. After matching into the general surgery residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and completing two clinical years of clinical training, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Yolonda Colson and Dr. Chandrajit Raut working on basic and translational testing of novel drug delivery systems for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. Dr. Mahvi’s project will focus on a newly developed polymer film loaded with doxorubicin which can deliver high doses of active drug to the tumor bed with minimal systemic uptake. He will perform in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo efficacy analysis in multiple soft tissue sarcoma subtypes as well as cardiotoxicity testing in non-tumor bearing mice.

Spotlight on the SUS 2018 - 2019  Junior Faculty Reseach Scholar Award

Sponsored by an educational grant from the SUS Foundation

Elsie Ross, MD, MSc 

SUS Member Sponsor: Ronald Dalman, MD 

SUS Research Mentor: Nigam Shah, MD

Project: A precision medicine approach for the early identification of peripheral artery disease

Dr. Ross graduated with Honors with a major in Human Biology from Stanford University. She then attended Stanford University School of Medicine where she was awarded a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She was also awarded a United States-United Kingdom Fulbright Scholarship, which enabled a year of study in the UK where she obtained a Masters in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She went on to complete her integrated vascular surgery training at Stanford where she pursued post-doctoral training in biomedical informatics with a focus on harnessing big data to predict patient outcomes using electronic health record data. She is now an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Ross’ proposal will focus on utilizing clinical and genetic data coupled with machine learning algorithms to predict risk of peripheral artery disease with the aim of developing automated screening tool technology for electronic health record systems. She will be mentored by Dr. Nigam Shah, a world-renowned biomedical informatics specialist at Stanford. Dr. Ross believes that big data and artificial intelligence will revolutionize how we are able to take care of patients in the future, allowing clinicians to identify and prevent disease much earlier than before.

Spotlight on the SUS 2017 - 2018 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from the SUS Foundation 

Linda Jin, MD

SUS Member Sponsor and Mentor: William Hawkins, MD

Project: Sigma-2 Ligands and Targeted Cancer Therapy

Dr. Jin began her premedical career at University of Washington in Seattle where she studied both biochemistry and poetry composition, and began her research career in organic synthetic chemistry. After college and two years in management consulting, she started medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, where she completed several projects in clinical outcomes in surgical oncology and was awarded the Harvey Butcher Prize in Surgery, given annually to a member of the graduating class that shows the most promise in general surgery. She subsequently matched into the Washington University/Barnes Jewish Hospital General Surgery Residency where she completed two years of clinical training before joining the lab of Dr. William Hawkins. Using basic molecular biology techniques, Dr. Jin’s project will focus on optimizing selective cancer targeting using sigma-2 ligand based drugs through receptor identification and understanding how sigma-2 ligands impact cancer cell metabolism. These findings will advance translation of sigma-2 ligand based drugs to the clinic through improved drug design and patient selection.


Spotlight on the SUS 2017 - 2018 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from KARL STORZ


Brooks Udelsman, MD

SUS Member Sponsor and Mentor: Keith Lillemoe, MD

Project: Improving the Treatment Response for Anal Cancer In Vitro

Dr. Udelsman began his academic career at Williams College where he graduated cum laude with a double major in Chemistry and English.  He went on to the Yale University School of Medicine where he made the decision to focus on surgery after his third-year clinic rotations.  During his time at Yale Dr. Udelsman was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute student research fellowship.  This grant allowed him to complete his thesis on vascular tissue engineering which was awarded highest honors in 2014 when he graduated with an MD and Masters in Health Sciences.  For the last three years Dr. Udelsman has been engaged in his clinical training in general surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  During this time, he has shifted his focus to health care delivery systems focusing on the issues surrounding resource allocation, efficacy and financial and emotional burdens during the transition to end-of-life care.  In this regard, Dr. Udelsman is excited to be joining the Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery and to begin his project focusing on improvement of goals of care documentation and communication among complex surgical patients.  He feels especially fortunate to have the support of a consummate leader in academic surgery in Dr. Keith Lillemoe as well specific guidance from experts in these areas in Dr. Zara Cooper and Dr. David Chang.  Through this work he hopes that we can ensure alignment of patient preferences and the surgical interventions they receive.  Dr. Udelsman plans to continue his work in health care delivery and surgical care at the end of life as he continues beyond residency into a career in academic surgery.

Spotlight on the SUS 2016 - 2017 Junior Faculty Reseach Scholar Award

Sponsored by an educational grant from the SUS Foundation 

Ankit Bharat, MD

Mentor: Scott Budinger, MD
Sponsor: Nathaniel Soper, MD

Dr. Bharat received his training at Christian Medical College in India following which he joined Washington University in St Louis to purse a post-doctoral research fellowship in transplant and tumor immunology. During the three year research fellowship, he was fortunate to be mentored by world class investigators and developed a keen interest in lung biology and transplantation. He subsequently completed general surgery residency and cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Washington University. He then joined Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in July 2013 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Surgery. With institutional support and strong mentorship, he started both a clinical and research program in lung transplantation. He currently also hold the position of the Director of Clinical Lung Transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His clinical practice focuses on patients with complex thoracic diseases and providing advanced therapies such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and lung transplantation to those with end-stage lung failure. His basic laboratory investigates mechanisms of lung allograft rejection as well as lung repair following injury. He is currently supported by a K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award from National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, a Biomedical Grant from the American Lung Association and Gibbon Scholarship from the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

The proposal for the SUS award will focus on identifying the role of lung-tissue restricted autoimmunity in the development of lung allograft rejection. My mentor for this proposal is Dr. Scott Budinger who is a Professor of Pulmonary and a successful clinician scientist. He is well published and has received numerous grants from both NIH and the Department of Defense. Additionally, he has a long-track record of mentoring aspiring clinician-scientists. Upon completion of this work, we hope to validate the practice of monitoring and treating lung transplant recipients for lung-tissue specific autoimmunity in order to improve lung
transplant outcomes.

Spotlight on the SUS 2016 - 2017 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from the SUS Foundation
Alessandra Moore, MD

Sponsor and Mentor: Michael Longaker, MD

Project: M2 Macrophage Enrichment Enhances Cutaneous Wound Healing Via Recruitment of Angiogenic Precursor Cells

Dr. Moore’s medical education began at Hobart and William Smith Colleges with in depth teaching in cellular biology, evolution, chemistry, physics, and physiology. After college, she joined the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital working under Dr. Mehmet Toner and Dr. Sunitha Nagrath and training in a variety of techniques including microfluidic device design and fabrication. She was accepted to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2010 and was awarded the Clinical and Translational Research Scholarship. She subsequently matched into the Brigham and Women’s Hospital General Surgery Residency where she recently completed her second year of residency. Based on her prior experience, she decided to pursue bioengineering as her research focus and is very excited to be working as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University under Dr. Michael Longaker. The awarded project focuses on the use of macrophages to speed and improve wound healing by enhancing angiogenesis, a technique that will be directly applicable to the surgical patient population.

Spotlight on the SUS 2016 - 2017 Resident Scholar Awards

Sponsored by an educational grant from KARL STORZ
Dani Odette Gonzalez, MD

Sponsor: Benedict C. Nwomeh, MD, MPH
Mentor: Katherine J. Deans, MD, MHSc

Project: Engaging Families Through Shared Knowledge: a Randomized Controlled Trial of Open Access to a Rapid Learning Healthcare System (RLHS)

Dr. Dani Gonzalez completed medical school at the Howard University College of Medicine, where she developed an interest in health services and outcomes research. This interest persisted throughout her surgical residency at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. After her third year of surgical residency, she applied for a two-year Pediatric Surgery Research Fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she works in the Center for Surgical Outcomes Research with Drs. Katherine Deans and Peter Minneci. Dr. Gonzalez’s project for the Society of University Surgeons – Karl Storz Resident Research Scholar Award is “Engaging Families Through Shared Knowledge: a Randomized Controlled Trial of Open Access to a Rapid Learning Healthcare System (RLHS)”. The aim of the study is to assess whether providing patients and families access to RLHS data improves patient-centered outcomes in children with complex colorectal diseases.


Past Winners at the

Academic Surgical Congress