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third annual department of surgery resident research synposium pictures

Third Annual Department Of Surgery Research Symposium

Research within the Department of Surgery encompasses a wide and growing range of disciplines and opportunities. Just a few examples include positions in clinical and outcomes research through the Surgical Health Outcomes & Reaching for Equity (SHORE) program, translational research in the Engineering & Clinical Laboratory for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery (Wilson ECLIPSe Lab) and the Cardiovascular Engineering Lab, and basic laboratory science in the Center for Tumor Immunology Research.

While research during surgical residency years is optional, the majority of residents take advantage of the opportunity to expand their academic pursuits for career advancement. In addition to traditional research experiences, our residents have pursued additional degrees and other academic advancement opportunities. For example, there are opportunities to pursue a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree, a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, or to pursue a M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering through the Center for Medical Technology & Innovation (CMTI).

  • Balcony view of research symposium

    Annual Research Symposium - Balcony view of research symposium

  • Dr Upchurch and Dr Linehan

    Annual Research Symposium - Dr Upchurch and Dr Linehan

  • Drs. Peter Prieto, Justin Dimick, Bradley Mills and David Linehan at Research Symposium.

    Drs. Peter Prieto, Justin Dimick, Bradley Mills and David Linehan at Research Symposium.

  • Residents Paul Burchard, Vishaal Gudla, Kyle Purrman, and Boru Wang at Research Symposium

    Residents Paul Burchard, Vishaal Gudla, Kyle Purrman, and Boru Wang at Research Symposium

  • Dr. Figueroa-Guilliani, Dr. Mix & Dr. Linehan

    Annual Research Symposium - Dr. Figueroa-Guilliani, Dr. Mix & Dr. Linehan

The research and career development opportunities available for residents during training at the University of Rochester are diverse. Many general surgery residents spend between one and three years of dedicated research time during their residency training between their PGY 2 and PGY3 years, but scheduling of this experience is flexible. If you have a passion, we will work with you to try to make it happen. Whether your interests lie in molecular or cell biology, surgical simulation, resident education, cancer outcomes, population health sciences, systems analysis or any other surgical discipline, we will work together to design a research/career development experience with outstanding mentors. Our goal is for our trainees to be prepared to be the leaders in the next generation of academic surgery. The Associate Program Director for Research is actively involved with each resident to explore their personal goals and to help build an individualized path for every resident.

The research mission of the General Surgery Residency Program is accomplished within the context of the University of Rochester's peer review-funded basic science and clinical research programs. The University ranks in the top third of medical schools with NIH peer review grant funding. A particularly unique resource in our department is the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control and Psychoneuroimmunology Lab (CCPL) led by Michelle C. Janelsins-Benton, Ph.D., with world-class opportunities for scholarly pursuits to investigate cancer-related side effects. Wilmot is one of only two academic cancer centers in the U.S. to be chosen by the NCI as a research hub for the NCI Community Oncology Research Program.

Importantly, funding is available for laboratory expenses and salary for residents during their research years.  Many surgical sections have funding to support residents performing specialized clinical and basic science research within their division.  As part of their research training, all residents will learn grant writing skills and have the opportunity to present their work at local and national meetings.  Residents are also eligible to apply for loan repayment programs through the National Institutes of Health, which may yield an additional $50,000 a year for each spent in laboratory research, in addition to regular salary support. Residents are also free to moonlight during the research years, provided it does not interfere with their research responsibilities.

Our annual Department of Surgery Research Symposium brings in fascinating keynote speakers who share their research and spend time discussing the unique opportunities and challenges of the surgeon-scientist with residents and other trainees. The Research Symposium is followed by an abstract competition in which residents have the opportunity to present their research and a research fair highlighting poster presentations from the Department of Surgery.  Awards are available to the residents whose presentations and posters are scored the highest.

To learn more about our surgical research residents, check out our Research Resident Spotlight.

Research Residents

Matt Byrne, M.D.

Matt Byrne

Research Interest

Basic science, translational research and outcomes research in transplant oncology and solid tumor immunology. My work includes preclinical models in liver cancer, translational discovery of surgical explants, and multi-institutional collaborations to understand outcomes in transplant oncology.


Miranda Chacon, M.D.

Miranda Chacon

Research Interest

Machine learning, statistical modeling, and translational research in the ECLIPSe (Engineering & Clinical Laboratory for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery) Lab, with a specific focus on computational modeling of the small intestine for the study of short bowel syndrome.


Shaelyn Cavanaugh, M.D.

Shaelyn Cavanaugh, MD

Research Interest



Totadri Dhimal, M.D.

Totadri Dhimal , M.D.

Research Interest

Clinical outcomes research at SHORE (Surgical Health Outcomes & Reaching for Equity), with a focus on healthcare disparities, perioperative care, and surgical outcomes. Currently, we are working on building a body of work centered around incarcerated patients, examining their surgical care and outcomes through innovative methodologies and the creative utilization of a large database. With this, we aim to study a population that has been historically challenging to research due to their status and underrepresentation in standard studies.


Peter Juviler, M.D.

Peter Juviler

Research Interest

Quality improvement research with the goal of improving patient care quality, safety, and value through interventions at various levels across the hospital system. Currently engaged in projects with the Department of Pediatric Surgery and our Department of Surgery's Value Incubator, an entity developed to investigate and promote value-based care.

Anthony Loria, M.D.

Anthony Loria MD

Research Interest

Outcomes research at SHORE (Surgical Health Outcomes & Research Enterprise). Specifically, focusing on long-term outcomes following intestinal resection and novel interventions to preserve renal function.

Chelsea Marin, M.D.

Chelsea Marin

Research Interest

Basic science and translational research in pre-clinical models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, with a specific emphasis on the interaction between the tumor microenvironment and the immune system to develop new therapeutic options for treatment of these cancers.‚Äč

Bailey Hilty, M.D.

Bailey Hilty, MD

Research Interest

Basic science and translational research in preclinical models exploring the interaction between the tumor microenvironment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma and the immune system to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Korry Wirth, M.D.

Korry Wirth

Research Interest

Use of Photodynamic Therapy to Treat Intra-Abdominal Contamination in General Surgical Conditions
. This is a multi-faceted project where our objective is to demonstrate that PDT is a novel treatment for intra-abdominal contamination. 


Orjola Prela, M.D.

Orjola Prela

Research Interest

The gene that encodes the transcription factor, p53 (TP53) is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer for which no effective targeted anti-cancer drug exists. Restoring the function of p53 has been shown to be therapeutic in mouse cancer models. I am currently working with a series of compounds called zinc metallochaperones that restore the wild type function of p53 and testing these compounds in cancer mouse models to assess toxicity and therapeutic potential.

Sam Wu, M.D.

Sam Wu

Research Interest