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Surgery Residents Present Research Findings at 10th Annual Symposium

Surgery Residents Present Research Findings at 10th Annual Symposium

General surgery residents highlighted clinical and health science and basic and translational science research at the May 20 event.

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Written by Hannah Kelly on May 29, 2024

The extensive range and depth of research endeavors spanning the University of Colorado Department of Surgery was showcased at the 10th annual Research Symposium on May 20.

The symposium commenced at a Grand Rounds session with keynote speaker Lesly A. Dossett, MD, MPH, associate professor and chief of surgical oncology in the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dossett presented on de-implementation and resource utilization in the U.S. health care system.

“Dr. Dossett’s talk was a great way to start the day, as her work is having impacts on the conversations we are having with patients every day,” says general surgery resident Jack Zakrzewski, MD. “The complexities of health care costs have to be addressed as we continue to try to help more patients and have better understanding of the disease processes we are helping them with.”

Inaugural standouts

Following the keynote address, 13 out of 30 impactful submissions from CU surgery residents were selected to represent a broad spectrum of clinical and health science research and basic and translational science. This included research that has been published and presented at other conferences.

Among the residents presenting work in clinical and health science research was Christina Stuart, MD. Stuart, who has a particular interest in thoracic surgery, spoke about her paper "Incidental Perioperative Hypothermia is Associated with Increased Overall Morbidity and Infectious Complications in Robotic-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery."

“During my dedicated research time these last two years, I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of disseminating and discussing findings at conferences and symposiums like this,” Stuart says. “I think this is evident in my work on hypothermia in the thoracic surgery population, especially as we transition to the next step of the project, which is the interventional stage focusing on quality improvement.”

Stuart’s presentation focused on the effects of perioperative hypothermia in the thoracic surgery population and identified the key interval where patients lose most of their body heat.

Other clinical and health science research featured at the symposium included:

  • Research by Brett Wiesen, MD, on peripheral intravenous access being a safe and effective way to deliver chemotherapy for patients with testicular cancer (TC).
  • A study by Syed Shahyan Bakhtiyar, MD, on evaluating survival after heart transplantation in adults with single and biventricular CHD and comparing it to that of non-CHD transplant recipients.
  • A paper by Adam Dyas MD, on how using a thoracic enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol affected surgical outcomes following elective anatomic lung resection.
  • Research by Sam Lai, MD, on the Watch and Wait Management approach for patients with rectal cancer.
  • A study by Benjamin Ramser, MD, diving into laparoscopic bile duct exploration as a treatment for choledocholithiasis.
  • Research by Micaella Zubkov, MD, on how the prognostic value of body mass index (BMI) is highly influenced by sex among liver transplant recipients.

General surgery residents presented research at symposium.

Syed Shahyan Bakhtiyar, MD, answered questions from attendees following his presentation.

Basic and translational science findings

Among the presentations in the basic and translational science portion of the research symposium was one by Zakrzewski. He conducted his study with his research mentor Matthew Stone, MD, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery. Zakrzewski presented his research on how hypothermic, acellular ex vivo heart perfusion (EVHP) results in better graft function compared to cold static preservation.

“I remember my first time seeing a video of an organ in an ex vivo machine and thinking how science fiction was slowly becoming reality,” Zakrzewski says. “Having now participated in multiple organ transplant surgeries and cared for many transplant patients, I have seen how impactful these procedures can be. I think the EVHP work that we are doing in Dr. Stone’s lab will be able to increase the number of hearts we are able to give to people and help them turn a new page in their lives.”

Also presenting was resident Benjamin Stocker, MD, who highlighted his work on type O blood and how it could decrease inflammation in trauma patients.

“Nearly half of Americans have type O blood, so this is very relevant for many people,” Stocker says. “We also transfuse all trauma patients with type O blood in the emergent situation, so further investigating the ability of type O blood to potentially decrease inflammation in trauma is very important. Blocking certain proteins in the blood of trauma patients with non-type O blood to more closely mirror type O blood in the acute setting could be a good starting point for future research.”

The general surgery residency program includes dedicated time for research or further education. Residents work with faculty mentors throughout the process. “I think it’s all about the exposure to the data and starting the conversation on next steps,” Stuart says. “The research symposium allows for that.”

Other basic and translational science research featured at the symposium included:

  • Research by Lauren Gallagher, MD, on how activated platelets could be a promising target for treatment in the complicated combination of blood clotting, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation in trauma.
  • A study by Kenneth Meza Monge, MD, on burn-Induced cardiac damage and the role of hepatic FGF21.
  • A paper by Otto Thielen, MD, on how administering 3K3A-aPC before treatment in a post-trauma situation could help reduce thromboinflammation.
  • Research by Elliott Yee, MD, on characterizing the role of CD93 on liver dinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECS).

Acknowledgement of research

Residents and fellows who presented their research are competing for the Ben Eiseman Research Award for a first-authored publication, the Ernest E. Moore Award for best basic science research presentation, and the Frederick L. Grover Award for best clinical science research presentation. Award recipients will be announced at the Department of Surgery Graduation Dinner on Friday, June 14.

“I always look forward to the Research Symposium because it is such a great showcase of the work being done on campus,” Zakrzewksi says. “There is also such a mix of on-campus and nationally collaborative projects happening – it really shows how far-reaching some of our ideas can be.”

Topics: Research, Education