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General Surgery Residency

Research Opportunities

In addition to the five years of clinical general surgery training, categorical residents are expected to spend two to three years as a resident in research/academics. Most spend two years in research or academics. Opportunities for clinical as well as basic-science research abound. Several of our residents have completed master's degrees during the two research years. Occasionally residents spend three years in order to satisfy the requirements for a Ph.D.

Residents are also encouraged to participate in various clinical research projects in collaboration with the faculty. Diverse research opportunities are available to individuals seeking careers in academic surgery. Most surgical residents spend a two-year research fellowship working with established surgical faculty investigators. Those entering the program with a Ph.D. are given the opportunity to set up an individualized curriculum. Residents pursue research spanning the full range of investigation from basic science to translational investigations, and clinical and outcomes-based research.

Photos of research activities

Sample Projects by 2017-18 Research Residents

Christina Kim, MD

Christina Kim

I am currently working with Dr. Steven Abman, a pediatric pulmonologist interested in bronchopulmonary dysplasia. My research is currently focused on developing ways to improve and/or prevent lung disease in neonates through different types of drug administration. This includes working with primary cell culture and small animal models to determine what mechanisms are involved in the development and prevention of neonatal pulmonary disease.

Allie Halpern, MD

Allie Halpern

I work with Dr. Michael Weyant in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Lab which is a basic science lab. Pat Kohtz is my co-resident and we collaborate on some projects but also work independently. I work with lung and esophageal cancer cell lines to determine cell signaling pathways that influence cancer cell growth. We also have a mouse model and I will perform in vivo studies looking at a cell signaling pathway inhibitor and its effect on lung cancer tumor growth this coming year.

In addition to our basic science projects, we also perform clinical projects in the area of Thoracic Surgery. We have just completed a review of outcomes in lung transplant for patients with Interstitial Lung Disease and we are also looking at factors effecting oncologic outcomes for esophagectomy using the NCDB with Dr. Gleisner in Surgical Oncology. Dr. Weyant is also one of the national PIs on a study which examines the outcomes for patients who have received an Ex-Vivo lung transplant (where marginal lungs are placed on an Ex Vivo machine and monitored for their ability to ventilate- this technique could improve the numbers of lungs available for transplantation). My personal interests include Thoracic Surgery and Surgical Oncology.

Sarah Hilton, MD

Sarah Hilton

I work with Dr. Liechty in the Laboratory for Fetal and Regenerative Biology. I work on both basic science and clinical projects in areas including diabetic wounds, pediatric and fetal surgery. Some of my projects include 3D printing for fetal repair of myelomeningocele, outcomes in congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and applications for nanoparticles in wound healing.

Mohamed Eldeiry, MD

Mohamed Eldeiry

There are two main focuses in the aortic surgery research lab. Our basic science research revolves around protection of the spinal cord from ischemia reperfusion injury which can occur during complex thoracoabdominal aortic repairs and lead to paraplegia. This work includes neuron cell culture, a mouse model of spinal cord ischemia and more recently a pig model to evaluate techniques of augmenting collateral circulation to the spinal cord. In addition, as the aortic program has continued to grow, we have started a database looking at outcomes and interventions in aortic surgery that are paving the way for advancement of treatment of aortic disease.

Bobby Torphy, MD

Bobby Torphy

My research areas are basic oncology/tumor immunology research as well as clinical outcomes research in oncology. My basic science research is focused on elucidating the function of a novel G-protein coupled receptor that may play an important role in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Concurrently, I am doing several clinical projects using the National Cancer Database and multiple University of Colorado surgical oncology databases. I am pursing a PhD in Clinical Science while I am in the lab.

Sample Projects by 2016-17 Research Residents

Brandon Chapman

My research is focused in surgical outcomes and quality improvement, primarily in surgical oncology and colorectal surgery. At University Hospital, I have helped develop a pancreatic database and have performed multiple retrospective chart reviews at our institution. I also work with the Surgical Outcomes and Applied Research (SOAR) using large national databases including the National Cancer Database and ACS-NSQIP. In addition, I am getting my Masters in Clinical Science at the University of Colorado Denver to learn biostatistics.

Peter Einersen

My research in the trauma lab involves clinical outcomes studies utilizing the extensive Denver Trauma Activations Protocol (TAP) database and translational basic science studies, primarily in rat and whole blood models, designed to validate the hypotheses generated in my clinical investigations. So far the highlights of my research have included validating thresholds for a thromboelastogram (TEG) driven massive transfusion protocol, which is now in use at Denver Health and developing a novel hypothesis for the cellular signaling responsible for post-traumatic hyperfibrinolysis, which I will be testing in animal models over the coming year.

Alicia Heelan Gladden

My research time is focused on completing clinical research in the areas of breast surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and trauma surgery. Additionally, I am developing and executing a curriculum and a large scale project in quality improvement through the CU School of Medicine Institute for Quality, Safety & Efficiency (HQSE).

Patrick Kohtz

I am doing basic research with Dr. Weyant with both esophageal and lung cancer cell lines. We are evaluating the different genetic, inflammatory proteins and immune system components essential to these cancerous cell lines growth and proliferation. My clinical research projects include a VA ECMO outcomes and ex vivo lung transplant outcomes.

Current Research Residents (2017-2018)

Resident Lab / Project
Heather Carmichael Drs. Robinson & Velopulos
Julia Coleman T32/Dr. Moore
Stephanie Davis Endocrine/Dr. Bryan Haugen
Lindel Dewberry CHCO - Dr. Liechty
Mohamed Eldeiry Dr. Reece
John Frankel Dr. Kovacs
Alison Halpern Thoracic/Dr. Weyant
Alicia Heelan Gladden Surgical Education/QI
Sarah Hilton CHCO - Dr. Liechty
Maggie Hodges CHCO - Dr. Liechty
Christina Kim Pediatrics - Dr. Karrer
Patrick Kohtz Thoracic/Dr. Weyant
Kaitlin McLoughlin NCI (Taylor Ripley) - (Away)
Eliza Moskowitz Memorial Hospital/Dr. Schroepel
Geoffrey Nunns T32/Dr. Moore
Jason Samuels T32/Dr. Moore
Gregory Stettler T32/Dr. Moore
Josh Sumislawski Trauma/Dr. Cohen
Robert Torphy Pancreatic/Dr. Edil
Becky Trinh Plastic Surgery/Dr. Deleyiannis

Principal Investigators and Faculty Mentors

Thomas Schroeppel
Michael Weyant
Ernest “Gene” Moore
Anirban Banerjee
David Fullerton
Brett Reece
Muhammad Aftab
Karl Hammermeister
William Henderson
Robert Meguid
Mitchell Cohen
Trevor Nydam
Martin McCarter
Elizabeth Kovacs
Ashley Vavra
Catherine Velopulos
Steven Abman
Steven Moulton
Kenneth Liechty
Rony Marwan

David Fullerton, MD

Dr. David Fullerton serves as Vice Chair of Surgical Research for the Department of Surgery.

Gene Moore, MD

Dr. Gene Moore is Vice Chair of Trauma and Critical Care Research.

Local Educational Options During Research Years

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Colorado School of Public Health

Two- to three-year specialized public health graduate degree program including capstone project and studies within statistics, epidemiology, environmental health, policy, and behavioral sciences. Website

Contact: or 303-724-4613

CU Residents who have completed this program:

  • Terri Chin

Clinical Science Masters Degree (MSCS) and PhD

University of Colorado Denver

One- to three-year translational research graduate degree program including thesis and studies within statistics, clinical epidemiology, and health outcomes. Website

Contact: Lisa Cicutto (program director) / Galtin Mankin (program coordinator)

CU Residents who have completed this program:

  • Daine Bennett
  • Lisa Foley
  • Nicole Townsend
  • Jeniann Yi

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