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Program Highlights

Residents In Operating Room

Residents in Operating Room

Robotics Training

Our program has a high volume of robotic surgery. Residents gain extraordinary experience in robotics training with faculty nationally recognized in minimally invasive surgery. Our training hospitals are equipped with no less than five DaVinci robots used daily by our residents.

Check out our new AUA Video 

Simulation Center for Advanced Surgical Training (Sim-CAST)

Dr Ghazi’s, Simulation Center for Advanced Surgical Training (Sim-CAST) , is not your run of the mill research lab it focuses on the aspects of surgical skills training of residents and medical students.  Unlike most simulation laboratories that utilize animals or manufactured partial task trainers , these experimental laboratories, have  yielded innovative and realistic surgical models that offer the full procedure from 'skin to skin’.  We utilize 3-D printing technology and mould techniques to incorporate pulsatile flow, different tissue consistencies and radiographic properties. The  mainstay of our research is the validation of these full procedural , anatomical models for transference of skills gained in the laboratory to the operating room. Our latest innovation is the development of patient specific models using their own imaging to facilitate the consent process, preoperative planning and even practice prior to the actual surgical procedure which has never been attempted before.  Dr. Ghazi practiced on the models of his own patients prior to complex percutaneous stone surgery that showed a significant improvement in  outcomes (data test to be published).  Today, the laboratory also serve as a comprehensive resource for surgical learning and training medical students, residents and fellows in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques and continuing medical education for practicing surgeons.

Surgical Simulation With Ahmed Ghazi, M.D.

Surgical Simulation at URMC from URMC PR & Communications on Vimeo.

3-D Technology and Surgery

It's a new step in surgery that professors at the University of Rochester say is a game changer. With the help of innovative techniques and 3D printers surgeons will have the ability to practice surgery using a replica of a patient's organ. Associate Professor, Dr. Ahmed Ghazi says this type of preparation would be the first of its kind for surgeons.



American Urological Association Basic Sciences Travel Award (Awarded to Dr. Karen Doersch), Award for students and residents interested in urology and the basic sciences                      

NSAUA Resident Essay Prize Contest – 1st Place, (Awarded to Dr. Karen Doersch), Title: Impact of Ureteral Stents on Factors Contributing to Stricture Pathogenesis                 

2021 humanism and excellence in teaching award, (Awarded to Dr. Laena Hines)

American Urologic Association (AUA) Best Poster Abstract, History of Urology Forum- (Awarded to Dr. Michael Witthaus) “Walt Whitman, John Mahay, and Urotrauma in the American Civil War”. Washington D.C., 2020

NSAUA Resident Essay Prize Contest – 2nd Place (Awarded to Dr. Michael Witthaus)  Title: The Role of mTOR in Differentiation of Spermatozoa                                       


American Urologic Association (AUA) Best Video Abstract, Lower-Tract Reconstruction: ED/Infertility &Transgender Surgery Section- “Development of a High Fidelity 3-piece Inflatable Penile Prosthetic (IPP) model using 3D-Printing and Hydrogel Molding”. Washington D.C., 2020


Best Abstract (Residents Arena-Michael Witthaus) presented at the 20th Sexual Medicine Society North America meeting. Title: Validation of a full-immersion simulation penile prothesis model using 3D printing and hydrogel molding technology.   


Awardee of Best Video abstract presented at the 36th World Congress of Endourology. Title: Development and Validation of Patient-Specific Hydrogel Kidney Phantoms for Surgical Rehearsal prior to Renal Cancer Surgery: A Case Report.   

Awardee of ‘Best of the Best Video' at the 28th World Congress of Videoendourology. Title: The development and implementation of a 3D printed patient-specific surgical simulation for percutaneous nephrolithotomy: Toward advancing simulation-based translational research.   

Runner up of the Mimics Innovation Awards (American Region)Title: Development and Validation of Patient-Specific Hydrogel Kidney Phantoms for Surgical Rehearsal prior to Renal Cancer Surgery The award recognizes researchers and their cutting-edge work through the Mimics Innovation Awards. This competition recognizes some of the industry’s most recent and important achievements.

Dr Edward Messing received AUA Ramon Guiteras Award – the highest honor given to an academic urologist by the AUA.  This award recognizes him for over 35 years of outstanding contributions to the art and science of urology, specifically urologic oncology including teaching to residents.


Best audiovisual abstract submitted to the American Urology Association 2017 meeting. Title: Patient specific rehearsal using 3D printing for complex partial nephrectomy cases.


Best audiovisual abstract submitted to the American Urology Association 2016 meeting.
Ghazi A, Stone JJ, Park J, Candela B, Kukrega J, Rashid H, Messing E. Full procedural simulation for transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT) using 3-D printing technology.    


Best audiovisual abstract submitted to the American Urology Association 2015 meeting.
Ghazi A, Stone JJ, Candela B, Richards M and Joseph J. Simulated inanimate model for physical learning experience (SIMPLE) for robotic partial nephrectomy using a 3-D printed kidney model. 


Awardee of the Intuitive Surgical’s 2015-2016 Training Research Simulator Loan Program.

Boston's Scientific urology and pelvic health grant for support of endourology fellowship. 

Publications 2017-2019

  1. Witthaus MW, Farooq S, Melnyk R, Campbell T, Saba P, Mathews E, Ezzat B, Ertefaie A, Frye TP, Wu G, Rashid H, Joseph JV, Ghazi A. Incorporation and validation of clinically relevant performance metrics of simulation (CRPMS) into a novel full-immersion simulation platform for nerve-sparing robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (NS-RARP) utilizing three-dimensional printing and hydrogel casting technology BJU Int. 2020 Feb;125(2):322-332.
  2. Van Renterghem K, Ghazi A. 3D pelvic cadaver model: a novel approach to surgical training for penile implant surgery. Int J Impot Res. 2019 Oct 24. doi: 10.1038/s41443-019-0211-2.  
  3. Witthaus MW, Farooq S, Melnyk R, Campbell T, Saba P, Mathews E, Ezzat B, Ertefaie A, Frye TP, Wu G, Rashid H, Joseph JV, Ghazi A. Incorporation and Validation of Clinically Relevant Performance Metrics of Simulation (CRPMS) into a Novel Full-immersion Simulation Platform for Nerve-sparing Robot-assisted Radical Prostatectomy using Three-dimensional Printing and Hydrogel Molding Technology. BJUI. 2019 Nov 2. doi: 10.1111/bju.14940.
  4. Melnyk R, Ezzat B, Belfast E, Saba P, Farooq S, Campbell T , McAleavey T, Buckley M, Ghazi A. Mechanical and functional validation of a perfused, robot-assisted partial nephrectomy simulation platform using a combination of 3D printing and hydrogel casting. World J Urol. 2019 doi: DOI :10.1007/s00345-019-02989-z.
  5. Gurung PM, Campbell T, Wang B, Joseph JV, Ghazi A. Accelerated Skills Acquisition Protocol (ASAP) in optimizing robotic surgical simulation training: a prospective randomized study. World J Urol. 2019 Jun 29.
  6. Truong M, Baack Kukreja JE, Rais-Bahrami S, Barashi NS, Wang B, Nuffer Z, Park JH, Lam K, Frye TP, Nix JW, Thomas JV, Feng C, Chapin BF, Davis JW, Hollenberg G, Oto A, Eggener SE, Joseph JV, Weinberg E, Messing EM.  Multi-institutional Clinical Tool for Predicting High-risk Lesions on 3 Tesla Multiparametric Prostate Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  Eur Urol Oncol. 2019
  7. Gurung PMS, Barnett AR, Wilson JS, Hudson J, Ward DG, Messing EM, Bryan RT. Prognostic DNA Methylation Biomarkers in High-risk Non-muscle invasive Bladder Cancer: A Systematic Review to Identify Loci for Prospective Validation. Eur Urol Focus. 2019 Feb 22. pii: S2405-4569(19)30032-X.  
  8. Berrondo C, Feng C, Kukreja JB, Messing EM, Joseph JV.  Antibiotic Prophylaxis at the time of catheter removal after radical prostatectomy: A Prospective Randomized Clinical Trial. Urol Oncol. 2019 Mar;37(3):181.e7-181.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2018.10.029.
  9. Collins JW, Levy J, Stefanidis D, Gallagher A, Coleman M, Cecil T, Ericsson A, Mottrie A, Wiklund P, Ahmed K, Pratschke J, Casali G, Ghazi A, Gomez M, Hung A, Arnold A, Dunning J, Martino M, Vaz C, Friedman E, Baste JM, Bergamaschi R, Feins R, Earle D, Pusic M, Montgomery O, Pugh C, Satava RM. Utilizing the Delphi Process to Develop a Proficiency-based Progression Train-the-trainer Course for Robotic Surgery Training. Eur Urol. 2019. Jan 19.
  10.  Towner M N, Lozada-Capriles Y, Lalonde A, Ertefsie A, Stone J, Bhagavath B, Ghazi A . (March 11, 2019) Creation and Piloting of a Model for Simulating a Minimally Invasive Myomectomy. Cureus 11(3): e4223. doi:10.7759/cureus.4223.
  11. Messing EM, Tangen CM, Lerner SP, Sahasrabudhe DM, Koppie TM, Wood DP Jr, Mack PC, Svatek RS, Evans CP, Hafez KS, Culkin DJ, Brand TC, Karsh LI, Holzbeierlein JM, Wilson SS, Wu G, Plets M, Vogelzang NJ, Thompson IM Jr. Effect of Intravesical Instillation of Gemcitabine vs Saline Immediately Following Resection of Suspected Low-Grade Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer on Tumor Recurrence: SWOG S0337 Randomized Clinical Trial.  JAMA. 2018 May 8;319(18):1880-1888. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.4657.
  12. Truong M, Frye T, Messing E, Miyamoto H. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Cribiform Morphology in Prostate Cancer. Nat Rev Urol. 2018 Aug;15(8):475-482. doi: 10.1038/s41585-018-0013-1. Review
  13. Truong M, Wang B, Gordetsky JB, Nix JW, Frye TP, Messing EM, Thomas JV, Feng C, Rais-Bahrami S.  Multi-Institutional Nomogram Predicting Benign Prostate Pathology on Magnetic Resonance/Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy in Men with a Prior Negative 12-Core Systematic Biopsy. Cancer. 2018 Jan 15;124(2):278-285. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31051. Epub 2017 Oct 4.
  14. Ghazi A, Campbell T, Melnyk R, Feng C, Andrusco A, Stone J, Erturk E. Validation of A Full-immersion Simulation Platform for Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy Using 3D Printing Technology. J Endourol. 2017; 31 (12): 1314-1320.
  15. Horovitz D, Meng Y, Joseph JV, Feng C, Wu G, Rashid H, Messing EM. The Role of Urine Cytology when Diagnostic Workup is Suspicious for Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma but Tumour Biopsy is Nonconfirmatory. Can Urol Assoc J. 2017 Jul;11(7):E285-E290. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.4150. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

Funded Research Year

The PGY4 research year is fully funded by the urology department. Residents can pursue clinical or bench research projects with a dedicated team of researchers, PhD’s and multidisciplinary faculty during this mentored year.

Clinic and Operative Experience

All urologic subspecialties are represented by fellowship trained faculty members. We now have 2 full time APPs in house to assist with inpatient consults and case coverage as needed to allow residents to fully participate in resident education hours as well as in more interesting/bigger cases/double scrub etc. 

AUA Faculty Early Investigators

Dr Tabayoyong:  Combination Chemotherapy-Immunotherapy for Bladder Cancer.

Dr Rajat Jain: Promoting and encouraging self-management of kidney stones via a novel software application. 

National Urologic Events at University of Rochester 2018-2019


  • Bladder Cancer symposium
  • Invitational resident education course - Title: Hands-on Endourology: Percutaneous Access and Lithotripsy.


  • Invitational resident education course- Title: Hands-on Advanced Robotic Urology Course for Residents
  • Messing Urologic Oncology Festschrift : 2 day National Meeting of Urologic Oncology
  • Annual ROCK (Stone) Society Meeting