Notable News from the Department of Surgery

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Notable News from the Department of SurgeryMarch 28, 2019

Emory Surgery places 7th in 2018 NIH funding rankings

In FY2017, the Emory Department of Surgery rose from the 9th position it held for the prior two years in funding from the NIH for all departments of surgery nationwide to reach the 7th. According to ranking tables of annual NIH funding for FY2018 recently posted by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, the department retained the 7th position as well as received an increase in funding of more than $2 million.

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Andrew Adams and Gabe Kwong work to develop novel method for detecting transplant rejection
Andrew Adams, MD, PhD, Emory transplant surgeon and immunology investigator, and Gabe Kwong, PhD, biomedical engineer of the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, are co-principal investigators of a study involving a new nanoparticle that makes urine glow as soon as T cells initiate an attack on transplanted organs. The results of the study were published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on February 18.
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Lily Yang, Jack Arbiser, and colleagues test new nanoparticle as therapy for advanced melanoma
Lily Yang, MD, PhD, Jack Arbiser, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the departments of surgery and dermatology set out to design chemotherapeutic nanoparticles that would target the IGF1R and CD44 protein receptors that are crucial for tumor growth and excessively expressed in most advanced melanomas. The team concluded that the new nanoparticles were an effective therapy for CD44-positive tumors like melanoma, and further development should be pursued.
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Mandy Ford Honored with 2019 AST Basic Science Investigator Award

Mandy Ford, PhD, associate professor and scientific director of the Emory Transplant Center, has been designated as this year's recipient of the Basic Science Investigator Award of the American Society of Transplantation. This prestigious award is given by the AST to recognize investigators who have made substantial contributions to the field of transplantation medicine and show great promise for continuing to make such contributions in the future.

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ETC investigators work towards broader application of costimulation blockade-based immunosuppression
The widespread use of belatacept (rendering of molecule above, courtesy of Michael Konomos, Emory medical illustrator) has been limited, despite its recognition as a less-toxic alternative to calcineurin inhibitors, the current standard of immunosuppression, and being approved by the FDA for kidney transplant recipients in 2011. I. Raul Badell, MD, Christian Larsen, MD, DPhil, and their Emory Transplant Center (ETC) colleagues are working on solutions to this problem.
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Emory surgical oncologists and surgery residents participate in study confirming the ability of virus to combat melanoma
Keith Delman, MD (above left), and Michael Lowe, MD (right), collaborated in a multi-institutional study which found that talimogene laherparepvec (TVEC), a genetically modified form of what is commonly defined as the cold sore virus, is a viable treatment for patients with unresectable melanoma, particularly in stage IIIB/C disease. General surgery residents Raheel Jajja, MD, and Matthew Perez, MD, assisted Dr. Delman and Dr. Lowe in acquiring and interpreting data.
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Cathy Graham participates in study of minimally invasive approach to diagnosis and management of certain breast conditions
Cathy Graham, MD, director of breast surgery at the Glenn Family Breast Center located at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, is a member of a multi-institutional team that investigated a minimally invasive approach to diagnosing and managing high-risk breast lesions and small breast cancers. The study had the aim of lessening overtreatment of these conditions.
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S. Scott Davis is co-editor of new SAGES Manual of Hernia Surgery
S. Scott Davis Jr, MD, associate professor of surgery and director of the Emory Endosurgery Unit, is co-editor of the second edition of The SAGES Manual of Hernia Surgery, along with Gregory F. Dakin, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Andrew Bates, MD, Stony Brook University Hospital. Published by Springer, the new 48 chapter book includes contributions by Emory Surgery faculty members Edward Lin, MD, and Ankit Patel, MD, as well as several trainees.
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Patrick Sullivan and Theresa Wu co-host Facebook Live
Emory surgical oncologist Patrick Sullivan, MD, and medical oncologist Christina Wu, MD, appeared in a Facebook Live discussion that covered colorectal cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms, screening, treatment options, the multidisciplinary approach to addressing the disease, and clinical research.
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Emory Surgery faculty and trainees seen AND heard at SESC 2019
The high visibility of Emory Surgery members at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Surgical Congress took many forms, such as the resident team of Jessica Liu, MD, Kimberly Ramonell, MD, Brendan Lovasik, MD, and Vivian Wang, MD, winning the Resident Jeopardy Competition (above).
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Welcome our new Vascular Surgery Faculty

Jay S. Miller, MD, received his medical degree, did his general surgery residency, and completed his vascular surgery fellowship at Emory. He was a major in the United States Air Force from 1991-1995, and served in several positions at Kessler Air Force Base, MS, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, MD, including chief of vascular surgery and director of the intensive care unit at Kessler. He then held private practice positions at Emory University Hospital Midtown and Piedmont Atlanta Hospital through Peachtree Vascular Associates. His primary clinical interests are aneurysm repair, carotid artery disease, endovenous laser ablation, stents, and varicose veins.

Prior to joining our faculty, Victor C. Njoku, MD, also held a position at Peripheral Vascular Associates, PC, and practiced primarily at Emory University Hospital Midtown. He received his MD degree at Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed his general surgery residency, surgical research fellowship, and vascular surgery fellowship at IU SOM. Endovascular and open treatment of complex aortic pathology, carotid artery disease, and peripheral arterial disease; complicated dialysis access surgery; and thoracic outlet syndrome are among his special interests.

After attending the Medical School of Athens in Greece, George M. Skardasis, MD, completed his residency in general surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and his fellowship in vascular surgery at Northwestern University, Chicago. Dr. Skardasis opened the first vascular laboratory in the Atlanta metro area at Crawford Long Hospital, serving as its medical director for 40 years (Crawford Long was renamed Emory University Hospital Midtown in 2009). He also served as chief of the section of vascular surgery at the hospital until 2010.

Surgical Focus blog augments resident learning
Surgical Focus, co-curated by PGY-2 resident Brendan Lovasik, MD, and Hannah Rutledge, PhD, MLIS, head of Clinical Informationist Services at the WHSC Library, provides auxiliary explication for the top topics of discussion and debate at Emory Surgery's weekly surgical morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences. Descriptions of each week's topics are paired with links to relevant studies, on-site summaries of those studies, and links to additional readings.
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Mohammad Zaidi wins AHPBA Young Investigator Award
The study presented by research fellow Mohammad Zaidi, MD, MS, at the the 2019 Annual Meeting of Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association was ultimately concerned with paving the way for using inhibitory agents to augment the efficacy of immunotherapy for treating cholangiocarcinoma. Surical oncologist-scientist Shishir Maithel, MD (pictured above left with Dr. Zaidi), and cancer immunologist Gregory Lesinski, PhD, MPH, were Dr. Zaidi's mentors on the project.
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Erica Ludi to serve as RAS Liaison to the ACS Operation Giving Back Global Education Workgroup
Erica Ludi, MD, has been accepted as the resident liaison for the Education Subcommittee of Operation Giving Back (OGB) to the Resident and Associate Society (RAS) Global Surgery Working Group of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Ludi is currently working in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to improve the region's rudimentary trauma and emergency medical services system, and is shown above teaching Bolivian residents how to process trauma registry data.
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Gazi Rashid presents popular workshop on making cheap, effective simulation models at IMSH
Fourth-year Emory medical student Gazi Rashid presented "Building and Using Low-cost Surgical Simulation Models" to an enthusiastic audience at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare, held in San Antonio. The highlight was Mr. Rashid leading the participants in building their own models for practicing cricothyrotomy. The device designs typically include such household items as cardboard toilet paper rolls, zip ties, insulation, and felt.
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In addition to his existing appointments, David Kooby, MD, has begun serving a chief of surgery and joined the Board of Directors at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital. He was also program chair of the 2019 Annual Meeting of Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, March 20-24, in Miami Beach.

Yazan Duwayri, MD, was a recipient of the American College of Surgeons/Society for Vascular Surgery Health Policy Scholarship for 2019, which will enable him to attend the Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management offered at Brandeis University's Heller School, June 2-8. During this intensive one-week program, Dr. Duwayri will join 30-to-35 other physician leaders in studying the skills and knowledge essential to creating innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of health care service delivery, and participating in health care policy and reform. Scholarship recipients are also expected to provide one year's health policy-related assistance to the ACS and the SVS.

Ravi Rajani, MD, was appointed to the editorial board of Journal of Vascular Surgery.

Wendy Greene, MD, and Randi Smith, MD, MPH, co-authored "Driving in the Geriatric Population," published in Surgery and the Geriatric Patient, the February 2019 edition of the quarterly journal Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, which provides the latest diagnostic and therapeutic information in the field of geriatrics. Each issue covers a single topic in geriatrics.

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