Ryan Campagna (2017-Present) - General Surgery Resident
Dr. Campagna’s research aims to better define the anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment of several esophageal disorders. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Hungness and Dr. John Pandolfino, his primary focus is on achalasia, a rare neurodegenerative esophageal motility disorder. Additional areas of investigation include gastroesophageal reflux disease and other non-achalasia esophageal motility disorders. Dr. Campagna also works in the Northwestern Simulation Lab, where he focuses on surgical mastery-learning. He is concomitantly pursuing a masters in medical education during his research time. Dr. Campagna is a postdoctoral fellow under the Gastrointestinal Physiology and Psychology T32 Training Grant.
Ryan Ellis (2017-Present) - General Surgery Resident
Dr. Ellis’ research centers on surgical quality improvement and outcomes research pertaining to complex surgical oncology under the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Karl Bilimoria. Specifically, he is focusing on hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) surgery and factors associated with adverse outcomes in this patient population. He will also be studying the effects of regionalization of complex surgical care, as well as developing national quality standards for management of patients before and after HPB surgery. In addition, he will be examining what factors drive patients to choose one hospital or surgeon over another prior to having surgery. Dr. Ellis is an American College of Surgeons Clinical Scholar as well as a T32 postdoctoral fellow at the Northwestern Center for Healthcare Studies. He is currently working on a master’s degree in Health Services and Outcomes Research at Northwestern University.
Katherine Hekman (2017-Present) - Vascular Surgery Resident
Vascular disease—including narrowing and occlusion of blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart, vital organs and extremities—inflicts a significant public health burden for which improved methodologies to model disease, develop therapeutics, and design new interventions to alleviate disease may provide symptomatic relief and improve function. Dr. Hekman's project focuses on overcoming a major limitation in the development of patient-derived endothelial cells using induced pluripotent stem cell technology. This technology is currently limited by reprogramming-induced senescence whereby the mature cellular phenotype degenerates and is lost. She will work to overcome this barrier to generate functional patient-derived endothelial cells for clinical and therapeutic applications. She is a post-doctoral fellow supported by an F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA individual post-doctoral fellowship award from NHLBI.
Frances Lee (2017-Present) - General Surgery Resident
Dr. Lee's research in the Luo lab relates to immunology and focuses on tolerance mechanisms in transplantation. Specifically, the Luo lab investigates potential curative therapies for Type I Diabetes (T1D), a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by progressive destruction of pancreatic islet cells. Among current therapies for T1D, pancreatic islet cell transplantation is a promising treatment, but is limited by the lack of available human donors and continuous need for immunosuppression. Using mouse models of allogeneic (mouse to mouse) pancreatic islet cell transplantation, the Luo lab has developed a successful therapy that when given around the time of transplantation establishes tolerance (a permanent state of unresponsiveness to foreign antigen without the need for immunosuppression). To address the lack of human donor sources of islet cells and potential use of porcine islet cells for transplantation, these strategies have been expanded to xenogeneic (rat to mouse, pig to mouse, etc) islet cell transplantation and have had more complex results requiring further investigations to achieve tolerance. Dr. Lee's main project is currently investigating tolerance mechanisms in xenogeneic islet cell transplantation using humanized mouse models (genetically immunodeficient mice transplanted with a functional human immune system) as a means of studying the human immune system response to pig islet cell transplantation.
Tarik Yuce (2018-Present) - General Surgery Resident
Dr. Yuce’s interests lie in outcomes research as well as surgical quality improvement relating to minimally invasive benign foregut and bariatric surgery. His focus is on identifying possible avenues for improving bariatric outcome measures such as readmission and surgical site infections under the guidance of Dr. Karl Bilimoria and Dr. Ryan Merkow. He also is exploring methods to augment minimally invasive surgical training for general surgery residency. He is currently taking time away from his general surgery residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to complete a Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research while a T-32 postdoctoral fellow at the Northwestern Center for Education in Healthcare Studies.