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Academic Development Time

Residents are encouraged to participate in ongoing research activities, whether their ultimate career goals are clinical, academic or a combination of both. For those considering an academic career, two optional research years are included in their residency program, with three to four residents per year opting to pursue this track. The two research years are taken between the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years.

The wide variety of research opportunities available ensures that a resident seeking research experience will be able to find a project that will match with his or her specialty interest. In addition, faculty research expertise contributes current knowledge and basic science information to the general training program, thereby enriching and complementing the resident’s experience. PGY-2 residents undergo mentorship with the Surgical Research Scholars Program to determine career goals and how research can play a role. After a selection process, residents identify a mentor at UMass Chan Medical School or another institution. Guidance is provided to those who choose to pursue research positions at outside institutions.

Those who opt to conduct their research activities at UMass Chan receive salary funding, dedicated space and statistical support. They also take part in a surgeon-scientist curriculum, including research progress meetings and journal clubs. Additionally, if a resident elects to pursue an advanced degree during this time (see listing of degrees awarded below), tuition is funded if pursued through a University of Massachusetts program. Clinical obligations for those who remain at UMass Chan Medical School include monthly call shifts. Research residents also have the option to pursue moonlighting opportunities during these two years.

Recent residents have completed advanced degrees in:

Research focuses include:

  • Basic science
  • Translational science
  • Patient safety and quality with process improvement
  • Dense development and innovation
  • Clinical outcomes
  • Global surgery
  • Education

Our research residents continue to compile admirable records of national presentations, peer-reviewed publications and academic research awards. Bibliographies can be seen in individual resident bios.

UMass Chan Medical School receives more than $254 million per year in research funding

Additionally, UMass Chan Medical School was ranked as the most entrepreneurial medical school in the United States with $520 million per year in entrepreneurial and miscellaneous revenue, averaged over the last five years. 

Current Research Residents

Bryce Bludevich, MD
Bryce is working as a research fellow in the Division of Thoracic Surgery. She is working on several projects around pre-operative frailty scores and risk-prediction models in thoracic surgery. She recently won an Intuitive Foundation Grant to study the use of emergency protocols and checklists during low-frequency, high-stakes events in the thoracic robotic operating room. Her mentors include Karl Uy, MD (Cardiothoracic Division Chief), Feiran Lou, MD MS, Mark Maxfield, MD, and Isabel Emmerick, PhD.  

Catherine Beauharnais, MD, MPH, MS
Cathy is the Mark Kusek Colorectal Cancer Research Fellow with the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery for 2020 - 2022. Her primary research interests include early-onset colorectal cancer, with a focus on its treatment outcomes, and distinctions in molecular characteristics among racial/ethnic groups. She has experience with large database analyses (American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, National Cancer Database) for various projects pertaining to post-surgical outcomes after colorectal resection.

Hannah Buettner, MD
Hannah is a research fellow in the Division of Surgical Oncology from 2019 - 2021. Her primary work is in translational research using humanized mouse models to develop and refine cancer immunotherapies, with a focus on better characterizing the tumor-immune interaction in pancreatic cancer to improve responsiveness to therapy by developing techniques in local tumor immunomodulation. Her mentors include Giles Whalen, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology; Jennifer LaFemina, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery; Dale Greiner, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine; and Mike Brehm, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine.

Sebastian Chung, MD
Sebastian is currently the appendiceal cancer and peritoneal disease fellow under Garrett Nash, MD, Vice Chair for Quality and Safety for the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he is involved in clinical and translational research projects focusing on peritoneal metastasis of appendiceal and colorectal origin. One component of the fellowship is embedded in the lab of Steven Larson, MD, the Hedvig Hricak Chair in Radiology, studying radioimmunotherapy in a mouse model of peritoneal metastasis.

Jonathan Durgin, MD
Jonathan is a Surgical Innovation Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital from 2020 - 2022. The fellowship's aim is broad and includes work in digital health solutions, surgical device development, and novel surgical techniques. His interests include pediatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and trauma and critical care.

Max Hazeltine, MD
Max is a Surgical Research Scholar from 2019 - 2021, performing clinical outcomes research within the Division ofโ€‹ Pediatric Surgery, as well as a clinical fellow in the lab of Wen Xue, PhD, Associate Professor of RNA therapeutics. He is utilizing clinical registries as well as national databases such as the Kids' Inpatient Database (KID)โ€‹ to assess clinical outcomes and develop clinical tools to predict clinical outcomes, such as venous thromboembolism in trauma patients. His work in the Xue lab focuses on creating a clinically relevant mouse model of hepatoblastoma as well as developing chemotherapy-resistant tumor cell lines. In addition to Dr. Xue, his mentors are Michael Hirsh, MD, Professor of Surgery; Jeremy Aidlen, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery; and Muriel Cleary, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Surgery. Max is also pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation degree from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan.โ€‹

Erin Scott, MD
Erin is the current Global Surgery Research Fellow for the Department of Surgery, under the mentorship of Demetrius Litwin, MD, MBA, the Harry M. Haidak Distinguished Professor and Chair in Surgery. She is working on a multi-center national trauma registry trial in India, a project developed by a former UMass Chan General Surgery Residency graduate, who remains actively involved as one of her mentors. Erin’s previous global surgery experience includes the coordination of multi-institutional partnerships, aimed at implementing protocols for the collection of data on the current state of access to surgical care in low-to-middle-income countries, specifically in Latin America. Her interests include trauma, acute care surgery, global surgery, surgical systems building, and health policy. She is also an active member of the national resident-led Global Surgery Work Group, a committee of the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health degree program through the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences. 

Recent Research Residents

Kaitlan Ahrens, MD
Kaitlan was a transplant surgery research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2018 to 2020, where she worked in the laboratory of Joren Madsen, MD, DPhil, Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, director of the MGH Transplant Center and co-director of the MGH Center for Transplantation Science. Kaitlan’s research focused on investigating mechanisms of tolerance of organ transplantation in non-human primates. She gained experience in large animal surgical care, clinical laboratory diagnostics, and cellular and molecular assays.

David Meyer, MD, MSCI
David worked as a research fellow with the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery from 2018 to 2020, where his research focused on outcomes and quality improvement related to colorectal disease. He earned his Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan as part of the Surgical Research Scholars program.

Niti Shahi, MD
Niti was a surgical research fellow in pediatric surgery from 2018 to 2020 at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she worked with Steven Moulton, MD, Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and director of the trauma and burn programs at Children’s Colorado. Her research focused on pediatric burns, pediatric trauma and quality improvement/outcomes. She studied the use of compensatory reserve index to better evaluate cardiovascular status to guide resuscitation and management in a pediatric population.

Christopher Strader, MD, MPH
Christopher was a Paul Farmer Global Surgery and Social Change fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital from 2018 to 2020, where he was involved in projects focused on delivery of care with a regional emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. During that time, he also earned his Master of Public Health degree at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health. His previous global health experience includes work with emergency medicine and diabetes education in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Ryan Hendrix, MD, MSCI
Ryan focused on clinical outcomes research within the Division of Surgical Oncology. Utilizing clinical registries and national administrative databases including the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program, he addressed questions related to high-risk gastrointestinal cancers, specifically hepatobiliary, pancreatic, peritoneal and gastric malignancies. He participated in translational studies leveraging existing humanized mouse models for the study of local tumor immunomodulation. He earned his Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan as part of the Surgical Research Scholars program.

Robert McLoughlin, MD, MSCI
Robert worked with Drs. Aidlen, Cleary and Hirsh on a variety of pediatric surgery topics. His projects included analyzing injury patterns related to snowboarding and skiing, pediatric trauma and injury prevention as well as working with then surgery resident Jonathan Green, MD, on a pediatric obesity project. He earned his Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan as part of the Surgical Research Scholars program.

Vijaya Daniel, MD, MPH
Vijaya was a UMass Chan Surgical Research Scholar from 2016 to 2018, and was awarded a National Institutes of Health TL1 grant through the UMass Chan Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Her focus was to identify the role of the intestinal microbiome on outcomes after emergency surgery for gastrointestinal perforations, using prospective translational research methods in conjunction with large database outcomes analyses. Her lead mentors were Heena Santry, MD, then Associate Professor of Surgery, and Beth McCormick, PhD, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair, Professor and Vice Chair of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, and founder and director of the UMass Chan Center for Microbiome Research.

Chau Hoang, MD, MSCI
Chau was the inaugural Mark Kusek Colorectal Cancer Research Fellow under Justin Maykel, MD, the Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery; Jennifer Davids, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery; and Karim Alavi, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery. Her research focused on outcomes and quality improvement projects centering on pre- and post-resection management of colorectal diseases. She earned her Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan as part of the Surgical Research Scholars program.

Ashley Russo, MD
Ashley was a surgical outcomes research fellow under Vivian Strong, MD, the Iris Cantor Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She worked with the Memorial Sloan Kettering secondary surgical events database, American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data, and patient-reported outcomes to collect data. Her multidisciplinary collaborations with departments including rehabilitation services and geriatrics investigated and elucidated ways to improve patients' postoperative outcomes.

Stacy Sanders, MD, MS, MHA
As the Department of Surgery’s first Surgical Research Scholar in Quality and Patient Safety, Stacy applied the knowledge and skills previously acquired as a hospital administrator to new research initiatives which directly impact patients in the clinical setting. She worked with large databases (American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, and the World Health Organization’s Universal Health Coverage portal) and fellow practicing clinicians to identify opportunities to improve care delivery. She used evidence-based medicine and lean management principles to enhance the processes by which care is delivered. Stacy participated in the UMass Chan Quality Scholars program where she focused on reducing the rate of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism under the mentorship of Dr. Litwin.

Prior Academic Development Residents (PDF)