URMC Department of Surgery Boasts Five New Faculty

September 27, 2011

Christian Georges Peyre, M.D.

Last month, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Surgery continued its brisk growth, adding four highly-skilled surgeons and an education/simulation training expert to its faculty.

In recent years, the Department has expanded at a significant pace, with its clinical faculty expanding from 34 to 53 surgeons since 2004. Over the same time period, case volume rose almost 28 percent, with URMC surgeons performing an impressive 11,323 procedures last year alone.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these newest faculty members,” said Jeffrey H. Peters, M.D., Seymour I. Schwartz Professor and chair of the URMC Department of Surgery. “We’re confident that they’ll help us continue our twin traditions – of not only providing the best possible surgical care, but also advancing surgery through a wide spectrum of ongoing basic and clinical investigations.”

Fergal Fleming, M.D., AFRCSI

Christian Georges Peyre, M.D., came aboard the Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery as an assistant professor, bolstering URMC’s esophageal research and clinical care enterprise and thoracic surgical oncology program.

Specifically, Peyre brings a keen interest in the interplay between severe and chronic heartburn – technically, gastroesophogeal reflux disease, or GERD – and a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Characterized by reflux-induced damage to the skin-like inner surface of the esophagus, Barrett’s carries a low-risk for esophageal cancer – another condition of particular interest to Peyre.

Peyre’s joining the faculty is really impeccable timing; as the incidence of GERD and related conditions climbs – with some research pointing to possible ties to the mounting international obesity epidemic – efforts to manage the condition have become increasingly important. (Recently, URMC has even participated in an international clinical trial for a device aimed at relieving the condition.)

Nicholas J. Gargiulo III, M.D., FASC

A member of the American College of Surgeons, Peyre earned his medical degree and completed an internship, esophageal research fellowship, and general surgical residency at University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. He then moved to Boston to accept an appointment as a clinical surgery fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School), where he completed a second residency, this time in thoracic surgery. He conducted his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley.

Fergal Fleming, M.D., AFRCSI, has been appointed as an assistant professor of Surgery and Oncology, bringing his talents to URMC’s fast-growing colorectal surgery practice.

Fleming earned his medical degree and completed a surgical research fellowship at the University College Dublin, Ireland, and secured extensive training in general, vascular and hepatobiliary surgery at a number of hospitals in the Republic of Ireland before delving into more advanced training in colorectal surgery. In 2009, he joined URMC as a fellow in the Division of Colorectal Surgery, collaborating with division chief John Monson, M.D., F.A.C.S., to conduct surgical outcomes research aimed at advancing the field.

Jennifer L. Ellis, M.D.

Fleming brings a keen proficiency in laparoscopic surgery, and will join other division surgeons in offering transanal endoscopic microsurgery, or TEMS, a unique, minimally invasive technique that uses a special microscope to remove tumors or polyps in the rectum. The procedure – though remarkable in that it leave patients with no skin incisions, little pain, and a much speedier recovery – is not widely available in the U.S., let alone in the Rochester region.

Throughout his clinical training, Fleming has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in international journals. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.

Nicholas J. Gargiulo III, M.D., FASC, joined the Division of Vascular Surgery as an associate professor, bringing a wealth of clinical and research experience to the team. He focuses his clinical practice on endovascular treatment of ischemic limbs, working to prevent amputation from gangrene with pharmacologic and surgical techniques.

Sarah E. Peyre, Ed.D.

Gargiulo was previously at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, where he served as an Associate Professor of Surgery. He completed his medical school training at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and received two National Institutes of Health research fellowships under the guidance of Mark Taubman, M.D., Dean of URMC’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. His research focuses on intimal hyperplasia after both coronary and peripheral angioplasty. 

He completed his internship and residency in general surgery, as well as research and vascular surgery fellowships, at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He trained under vascular surgery pioneer Frank J. Veith, M.D., and researched the field of aneurysm growth, the endovascular treatment of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms, and novel strategies in the management of limb threatening ischemia.

In addition to being certified by the American Board of Surgery, Gargiulo holds a Certificate of Special Qualifications in Vascular Surgery. He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and member of the societies for Vascular Surgery, Peripheral Vascular Surgery, Clinical Vascular Surgery and Eastern Vascular Surgery as well as the Association for Academic Surgery.

Gargiulo has published a prodigious amount research into atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques. Over time, it can block the arteries and cause symptoms and problems throughout the body.

Jennifer L. Ellis, M.D., came aboard the faculty as an assistant professor of Surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery. She is part of the team of physicians at the Vein Center in Brighton and has a strong interest in expanding endovascular, minimally invasive techniques for patient care. 

A graduate of University of Michigan Medical School, she completed residency training at Henry Ford Hospital followed by fellowship training at Cleveland Clinic.

Ellis is a member of the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery and Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society. She has published several papers in medical journals and presented studies at major medical conferences.

Sarah E. Peyre, Ed.D.,joins the Department as an assistant professor of Surgery, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry as the Director of Simulation and the associate director of Comprehensive Assessment. Peyre will split time between helping evolve surgical education (for medical students, residents and practicing faculty) and augmenting and integrating various simulation training initiatives currently spread throughout the medical school and Strong Memorial Hospital.

A member of the Association for Surgical Education and the American Educational Research Association, Peyre’s interests revolve around making today’s surgical education techniques more effective. Some of her main foci include “intraoperative assessment” (using objective checklists and rating scales in the operating room to benchmark residents’ skills, rather than simply tracking the number of completed cases), simulation-based instruction (utilizing models and virtual reality training to teach surgical skills so that real-life operating room experience can focus on higher-level functions, like decision-making), and empowering faculty to become better coaches, teachers and mentors.

Peyre’s also brings a keen interest in helping seasoned surgeons breakdown and explain how they make the many crucial “in flight” operating decisions that have become almost instinctive to them – thereby helping residents “deconstruct” what needs to be learned. Peyre also brings expertise in qualitative research methods specifically in the field of surgical decision-making. She will also assist faculty in developing curriculum and assessment tools necessary for delivering a truly rich educational experience.

Prior to joining the faculty, Peyre served as the Director of Education and Research for the STRATUS (Simulation, Training, Research and Technology Utilization System) Center for Medical Simulation at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, and as an assistant professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. She earned both her Master in Science of Medical Education and her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She conducted her undergraduate work in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.

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