Shared Content Block:
Surgery Styles -- directory

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.

Research Images

Sample Projects by 2021-22 Research Residents

Syed Shahyan Bakhtiyar

Syed Shahyan Bakhtiyar (Research Year 1)

I work with Dr. Peyman Benharash in the Cardiac Outcomes Research Laboratory (CORELAB) at the Division of Cardiac Surgery at UCLA. We are involved in a variety of projects ranging from surgical outcomes and resource utilization to biomedical engineering. I am specifically focused on analyzing adult heart transplantation outcomes in patient with congenital heart disease, increasing the donor organ pool, and using CAD simulations to evaluate the effectiveness of certain surgical techniques.

Michael Kirsch

Michael Kirsch (Research Year 1)

I work with Dr. Marco Del Chiaro on cystic disease of the pancreas and its progression to cancer. I work closely with his team of international fellows. We perform clinical research while also working to develop consensus guidelines on the management of cystic disease of the pancreas.

I also work with Dr. Camille Stewart on the impact of cannabis use in liver cancer and melanoma patient outcomes. Cannabis has been legal recreationally in Colorado for almost a decade, but its influence on surgical outcomes is poorly understood.

Finally, I work with Dr. Yihan Lin on global surgical education. We have developed a low-cost surgical simulator that has been used in our own residency program, as well as in Kenya and Rwanda. We are designing a curriculum for essential surgical skills to be integrated in the orientation of new Rwandan interns to better standardize their learning.

Samuel Lai

Samuel Lai (Research Year 2)

I work with Dr. Chapman and Dr. Vogel on clinical research projects in the field of colorectal surgery. Most recently, we have started a national multicenter rectal surgery research collaborative with 40+ other centers around the United States. One of the initial projects is focused on practice patterns and outcomes in non-operative management of locally advanced rectal cancer in the United States. We are also conducting a randomized trial comparing 2 different TAP block formulations in postoperative pain control at UC Health, as well as participating in a national multicenter randomized trial on operative vs nonoperative management of left sided diverticulitis. Finally, we are working on a few other retrospective outcomes-based studies in colorectal patients as well.

Alyssa Vaughn

Alyssa Vaughn (Research Year 2)

I work with Dr. Ken Liechty supported by the Laboratory for Fetal and Regenerative Biology. Our lab in conjunction with a group of collaborators developed a novel therapeutic consisting of a nanoparticle conjugated to a microRNA that we are now testing in different injury models including a lung injury model (ARDS), diabetic wound healing model, pressure ulcer injury model, and a colitis model. I am also working on various clinical outcomes projects in multiple areas including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, myelomeningocele, surgical necrotizing enterocolitis, and duodenal atresia.

Sample Projects by 2021-22 Research Residents

Dor Yoeli

Dor Yoeli

I work with Dr. Chris Huang on various projects focused on transplant immunology and tolerance. We are testing novel therapeutic approaches to inducing tolerance and treating acute rejection in a pig kidney transplant model. We are also investigating novel treatments to mitigate ischemia-reperfusion injury in vascularized composite allograft transplantation in rodent models. We also have various projects focused on the role of galectin-3 in liver disease, transplantation, and coagulation, and are collaborating with Dr. Cara Mack to study galectin-3 in biliary atresia. I am also working with Dr. Megan Adams to conduct outcomes and mixed methods research in pediatric liver and kidney transplantation.

Helen Madsen

Helen Madsen

I work with Dr. Meguid on a multi-disciplinary team on health outcomes research. We are working on many large population level analyses using the NSQIP database. I have focused on the assessment of a patient's surgical risk in various ways, such as the impact of certain factors on mortality or the impact of obesity on surgical risk. We meet once a week with our team to discuss projects. We work closely with biostatisticians who perform our statistical analyses.

I work with Dr. Stewart on a prospective trial evaluating pain medication use in cannabis users. We will be enrolling patients in the trial in order to collect blood samples and quantify levels of cannabinoids, we will be comparing non-cannabis users and cannabis users to assess surgical outcomes as well as pain medication usage.

Sample Projects by 2018-19 Research Residents

Heather Carmichael

Heather Carmichael

I work with multiple mentors, focusing on surgical outcomes research around violence prevention, access to care, healthcare inequalities, vulnerable populations and geriatrics/frailty. I work with Dr. Robinson at the VA, with research focusing on characterizing underlying fitness and activity levels prior to and following surgical operations. I also work with Dr. Velopulos, with research on the social determinants of health as they pertain to surgical outcomes and healthcare inequalities, violence prevention with a focus on intimate partner violence, as well as use of geographic information systems (GIS) in exploring access and quality issues. I also do some outcomes and access research with the UCH Burn unit. Finally, I'm very interested in Surgical Education and am involved in work with the medical school curricular reform and the 1st year anatomy course.

Julia Coleman

Julia Coleman

I work in Dr. Ernest "Gene" Moore's trauma research lab, composed of an interdisciplinary team that studies trauma-induced coagulopathy. Within this topic, i have developed an interest in sex dimorphisms in coagulation and how this may confer differential resuscitation strategies and clinical outcomes in trauma. This has led to several clinical projects focused on coagulation profiles of sex hormone-specific states and differential coagulation-related outcomes in trauma and basic science projects focused on the effects of sex hormones on coagulation in vitro. I recently received a $35,000 grant from the Foundation for Women and Girls with Bleeding Disorders to support this work. In addition to this work, I have conducted basic science research projects to better understand mediators of fibrinolytic shutdown and to characterize thrombin generation in trauma patients.​

Rashikh Choudhury

Rashikh Choudhury

I work with Dr. Trevor Nydam and the Transplant Surgery Research Group. Our research group has several active clinical and transplantation projects related to the study of ​coagulopathy and transplantation and quality improvement metrics surrounding the transplantation process. In addition to working on these projects, I am also helping to evaluate and potentially implement an uncontrolled donation after cardiac death program. This includes working on feasibility studies in conjunction with surgeons, medical specialists and hospital administrators.

Lindel Dewberry

Lindel Dewberry

I am supported by the Laboratory for Fetal and Regenerative Biology (Dr. Ken Liechty) as well as the pediatric surgery division (Dr. Thomas Inge). I split my time between basic science and clinical outcome projects. In my basic science work, I have focused on the role of macrophage polarization in wound healing. We are also testing applications for an anti-inflammatory nanoparticles in various models including wound healing and inflammatory bowel disease. In my clinical outcomes work, I have focused on patient centered outcomes after adolescent bariatric surgery using a prospective, national database.​

Allie Kovar

Allie Kovar

I am working with the UCH Trauma Department under Dr. Frank Wright, the UCH Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery Department under Dr. Matt Iorio, and with Surgical Quality Improvement under Dr. Ethan Cumbler. I am specifically working on validating scoring systems to activate MTP in the pre-hospital setting, extremity reconstruction clinical outcomes, and hospital wide quality improvement initiatives. I am also participating in several training programs on campus including the Hospitalist Training Program and the Certificate Training Program with the Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency.

Sample Projects by 2017-18 Research Residents

Christina Kim

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

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

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

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

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.

Current/Recent Residents by Lab

LabSpecialtyCurrent Resident / Lab Alumni
Dr. Abman Pediatrics Christina Kim
Bradley Wallace
Dr. Chapman/Dr. Vogel Colorectal Samuel Lai
Dr. Christian Surgical Education Keval Tilva
Dr. Cohen Trauma Lauren Gallagher
Benjamin Ramser
Benjamin Stocker
Terry “TJ” Schaid
Jamie Hadley
William “Morgan” Hallas
Otto Thielen
Dr. Cumbler Surgical Quality

Andrii Khomiak
Viviane Leite-Abud
(& Exec. Leadership UCH)
Dr. Del Chiaro Surgical Oncology Michael Kirsch
Dr. Derderian Pedi Surg Lauren Gallagher
Dr. Fullerton CT Surgery Michael Jarrett
Dr. Ghosain Pediatric Surgery Bailey Lyttle
Dr. Gleisner Surgical Oncology Madeline “Maddy Thomas
Laura Leonard
Dr. Iorio Plastics Alexandra Kovar
Dr. Eddie Jones VA Quality Improvement Danielle Abbitt
Dr. Teresa Jones VA Quality Improvement Laura Leonard
Joshua Billings
Danielle Abbitt
Dr. Kovacs Burn, Alcohol Research Kevin Choy
John Frankel
Dr. Liechty Pediatric Surgery Bailey Lyttle
Alyssa Vaughn
Amanda Louiselle
Lindel Dewberry
Sarah Hilton
Maggie Hodges
Dr. Meguid CT Surgery Christina Stuart
Adam Dyas
Abhinav Singh

Dr. E. Moore Trauma Margot DeBot
Navin Vigneshwar
Matthew Bartley
Julia Coleman
Geoffrey Nunns
Jason Samuels
Gregory Stettler
Peter Einersen
Anthony Bacon
Hunter Moore
Dr. H. Moore Transplant Micaella Zubkov
Dr. Nehler Vascular/CPC​ Robert “Wilson” King
Ryan Gupta
Nicholas Govsyeyev
Dr. Nydam Transplant Dor Yoeli
Rashikh Choudhury
Dr. Raeburn/Dr. Pozdeyev Endocrine Martin Barrio
Dr. Reece CT Surgery Adam Carroll
Cenea Kemp
Christian Ghincea
Mohamed Eldeiry

Dr. Robinson Surgical QI, Outcomes Alexandra Kovar
Heather Carmichael
Dr. Jessica Rove CT outcomes Jake Cotton
Alejandro “Alex” Suarez-Pierre
Dr. Schroeppel Trauma Emily Johnson
Janet Lee
Joshua Billings
Eliza Moskowitz
Dr. Schulick/Dr. Yuwen Zhu Surgical Oncology Felix Ho
Robert Torphy
Ellott Yee
Dr. Stone/Dr. Moghari Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Jack Zakrzewski
Nicolas Drysdale
John Iguidbashian
Dr. Tevis Breast/QI​ Madeline Huey
Sudheer Vemuru
Laura Leonard
Victoria “Tori” Huynh
Dr. Wright QI Alexandra Kovar
Dr. Velopulos Outcomes, Healthcare Disparities Charlotte Heron
Danielle Abbitt
Madeline “Maddy” Thomas
Heather Carmichael
Denise Garofalo
Dr. Weyant Thoracic Surgery Helen Madsen
Keval Tilva
Anna Gergen
Allana White
Alison Halpern
Patrick Kohtz
Kweku Hazel

Principal Investigators and Faculty Mentors, Research Laboratories:

Mitchell Cohen (

Katie Colborn (

Ethan Cumbler (

Marco del Chiaro (

David Fullerton (

Ana Gleisner (

Ankush Gosain (

Christene Huang (

Juan-Pablo Idrovo (

Matthew Iorio (

Donald Jacobs (

Edward Jones (

Teresa Jones (

Elizabeth Kovacs (

Lacey LaGrone (

David Mathes (

Martin McCarter (

Robert Meguid (

Ernest “Gene” Moore (

Hunter Moore (

Steven Moulton (

Mark Nehler (

Trevor Nydam (

James Pomposelli (

Christopher Raeburn (

Brett Reece (

Thomas Robinson (

Jessica Rove (

Thomas Schroeppel (

Richard Schulick (

Matthew Stone ( )

Sarah Tevis (

Catherine Velopulos (

Jon Vogel (

Kia Washington (

Arek Wiktor (

Franklin Wright (

Yuwen Zhu (

Elizabeth Kovacs, PhDDr. Elizabeth Kovacs serves as Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Surgery.

Mitchell Jay Cohen, MD

Dr. Mitchell Cohen is Associate Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research, Department of Surgery.

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
  • Navin Vigneshwar, MPH in applied biostatistics

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 the MSCS program:

  • Daine Bennett
  • Lisa Foley
  • Nicole Christian
  • Jeniann Yi
  • Dor Yoeli
  • Lindel Dewberry
  • Robert “Wilson” King (MSCS expected, 2023)

CU Residents who have completed the PhD program:

  • Hunter Moore
  • Robert Torphy
  • Kiran Dyamenahalli (completed prior to Surgery residency at CU)

CLSC flyer (PDF)


CU Anschutz

Academic Office One

12631 East 17th Avenue

Room: 6111

Aurora, CO 80045


CMS Login