A two year surgical research experience following the PGY2 year is encouraged but considered optional. Alternatives including shorter or longer research time can be considered. This research experience is an invaluable way to augment the surgical education received during the clinical years for residents interested in a career in academic surgery. Annually, the Surgery Department has a Research Day with research presentations highlighting the work of our faculty, residents, and medical students.
University Hospitals Dudley P. Allen Scholarship
The Dudley P. Allen Scholarship is a research program that includes animal, basic science, health services and clinical research opportunities. In addition to working with numerous surgical-scientists within the department of surgery, there are opportunities for collaboration with Case Western Reserve University researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Center for Imaging Research and others. There is a robust infrastructure for clinical outcomes research with UH RISES (Research In Surgical outcomes & EffectivenesS). Current areas of active research includes:
- Cardiac surgery
- Colorectal surgery
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Pediatric surgery
- Surgical oncology
- Thoracic surgery
- Transplant surgery and immunology
- Vascular surgery
Allen Scholars Expectations
Purpose: To create a more robust, accountable and productive research experience for our Allen Scholars
- Allen Scholars will attend Monday Morning Resident Education Conferences
- Allen Scholars will attend Wednesday morning M&M and Grand Round Conferences at UH Cleveland Medical Center
- Allen Scholars will be asked to attend UH RISES meetings and contribute to UH RISES on a regular basis (2nd/4th Monday of the month from 2-4 p.m.)
- Monthly lunch meeting for Allen Scholars. These lunches will include journal club/research basics/mentoring talks by members of the faculty or guests. Schedule to be coordinated by UH RISES Research Coordinator.
- Semi-Annual Update: Each Allen Scholar will be asked to provide a brief synopsis of the Allen Scholar’s work to the research committee on a semi-annual basis.
Current Allen/Research Scholars
Jonathan Bliggenstorfer, MD
Current Position: 2nd Year Colorectal Surgery Research at UH CMC
Hometown: Wenatchee, WA
College: Washington State University, B.S. Biology, B.A. French
Medical school: Penn State College of Medicine
Why surgery? I wanted a career where I worked with my hands and I loved being in the operating room. Plus the pathophysiology of the GI tract was fascinating to me and I liked the instant gratification of surgical intervention compared to the endless rounds of internal medicine.
Surgical and professional interests: Colorectal surgery, medical education, operating
Hobbies: Home improvement and craft beer appreciation (sometimes at the same time)
Best pizza in Cleveland: Il Rione (for classic italian pizza) and Angelo's in Lakewood (for Trenton style pie)
Why did you choose to come to UH? I was impressed by the mix of graduating residents, with many pursuing competitive fellowships and others going into general surgery practice. I wanted a program with a diverse academic and community experience that would shape me into a capable surgeon with excellent prospects for matriculating into a strong fellowship. For me, UH ticked those boxes.
Jonathan Hue, MD
Current Position: 2nd Year Surgical Oncology Research at UH CMC
Hometown: Greensburg, PA
College: Pennsylvania State University, B.S. Chemistry
Medical school: Temple University School of Medicine
Why surgery? Human anatomy is miraculous
Surgical and professional interests: Basic science research related to pancreatic cancer-associated depression and the role of immune cells in pancreatic cancer, clinical research focused on cancer associated weight loss, neoadjuvant therapies, and surgical outcomes in elderly patients
Hobbies: Antique wooden furniture restoration, DIY construction, hiking and camping, running with my dog
Greatest accomplishment: Dancing for 46 straight hours during the Penn State Dance MaraTHON which raises money for pediatric cancer
Any recent goals? I’m trying to visit all the national parks. Five down, lots to go!
Ryan Moore, MD
Current Position: 2nd Year Cardiac Surgery Research at CCF
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
College: Oakwood University, B.S. Biology
Medical school: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Why surgery? The pursuit of technical excellence coupled with the practical application of medical knowledge epitomized what I wanted out of my work.
Surgical and professional interests: Cardiac surgery, clinical outcomes research, process improvement
Hobbies: Basketball, video games, guitar
Favorite hangout spot: Ohio City
What is one understated factor that really impacts your experience in residency? Finding genuine mentors. We talk about it all the time, but knowing/feeling that there is someone who is truly invested in your outcome, as evidenced by their actions, adds a level of confidence that goes an incredibly long way in your development as a surgeon.
Christine Alvarado, MD
Current Position: 1st Year Thoracic Surgery Research at UH CMC
Hometown: Rochester Hills, MI
College: University of Michigan, B.S. Neuroscience
Medical school: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Why surgery? To transform and make an impact on patients’ lives.
Surgical and professional interests: Surgical oncology, thoracic surgery, endocrine surgery, surgical education, clinical and outcomes research
Hobbies: Yoga, music, eating, movies, paddle tennis, traveling
Any fun fact about yourself? I have the same birthday as Harry Potter
What’s one of your favorite things about being a UH Surgery resident? My co-residents.
Matthew Johnson, MD
Current Position: 1st Year Pediatric Surgery Research at UM
Hometown: Monroe, MI
College: Defiance College, B.S. Molecular Biology, B.S. Chemistry
Graduate education: Wayne Sate University School of Medicine, M.S. Medical Sciences
Medical school: University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences
Why surgery? I love operating
Surgical and professional interests: Pediatric surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery, ECMO
Hobbies: Soccer, guitar, piano, triathlons
Favorite hangout spot: Platform Brewery
Most scenic space in Cleveland: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Peter Kanuika, MD
Current Position: 1st Year Pediatric Surgery Research at OSU
Hometown: Nissequogue, NY
College: New York University, B.A. Philosophy
Medical school: St. George's University School of Medicine
Why surgery? Impatience. I like to see the fruits of my labors.
Surgical and professional interest: Pediatric surgery, preventative and therapeutic research in necrotizing enterocolitis
Hobbies: Piano, reading, travel, trying new restaurants
What else should we know about you? My sarcasm is taken well over the phone when returning pages.
Best pizza in Cleveland: Marotta's (East Side), Il Rione (West Side)
Are the sacrifices required to pursue surgery worth it? The impact that surgical residency, and a surgical career, allows you to have on other people's lives on a large scale makes even the worst days worth it when you look back on a week, a month, a year. This is a career of service and self-sacrifice, and that's what gets you through.
Sami Kishawi, MD
Current Position: 1st Year Trauma Research at MetroHealth
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College: University of Chicago, B.S. Biological Sciences
Graduate education: Loyola University Chicago, M.S. Medical Physiology
Medical school: University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Why surgery? I wanted the technical skills, knowledge, and comfort level to handle the highest acuity situations in the hospital.
Surgical and professional interests: Trauma surgery, colorectal surgery, disaster relief, critical care, application of surgical science in space exploration, hospital architecture
Hobbies: Basketball, experimental cooking, narrative medicine, sunset photography
Greatest accomplishment: Winning an Oreo stacking contest when I was 7 years old
Favorite restaurant in Cleveland: Le Petit Triangle
What's the most important thing you've learned in residency so far? Patients understand how busy and rushed we are, but even the smallest gesture can go a long way. Sit and meet them at eye level and actively listen. And never leave the room without tucking them in.
Angela Thelen, MD
Current Position: 1st Year Surgical Education Research at UM
Hometown: Grand Ledge, MI
College: University of Michigan, B.S. Microbiology, Minor in Medical Anthropology
Medical school: Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Why surgery? I love being able to tangibly fix a patient's problem and see them recover, while also having the skillset necessary to help and guide patient's and their families through some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Surgical and professional interests: Surgical oncology, hepatobiliary surgery, surgical education
Hobbies: Traveling, hiking, food, reading, card games
Best pizza in Cleveland: Mulberry's
Most scenic space in Cleveland: Rockefeller Park Cultural Gardens
Why did you choose UH? I loved the residents here on my interview - they truly seemed like a family. Now that I'm here, I know that's true and I have been welcomed with open arms. The residents are all so supportive of one another and I can't imagine going through residency with any other group of young surgeons.
Emily Verbus, MD
Current Position: 1st Year NCI Surgical Oncology Research Fellowship
Hometown: North Ridgeville, OH
College: University of Chicago, B.S. Biochemistry, B.A. Chemistry
Graduate education: Case Western Reserve University, M.S. Medical Physiology
Medical school: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Why surgery? I could not imagine practicing medicine without being in the OR
Surgical and professional interests: Surgical oncology and hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery
Hobbies: Cooking, reading, house plants
What else should we know about you? I have anisocoria
Favorite restaurant in Cleveland: Astoria
What is the best thing about UH Surgery? The residents
Our residents have received funded opportunities at outside institutions as well, and this can be an alternative option for the research experience.