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Top Honors Awarded to Five UTHSC Surgery Residents


At the recent meeting of the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, five residents from the Department of Surgery at the UTHSC in Memphis competed in surgical research presentations.

At the recent meeting of the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, five residents from the Department of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis competed in surgical research presentations against 12 other surgery residents from across the state. The competitors, including residents from Vanderbilt University, East Tennessee State University and UTHSC Chattanooga, met for three days at Paris Landing State Park where their work was presented to approximately 90 practicing physicians and researchers from throughout Tennessee. Of the total eight awards given to first and second place presentations in four categories, UTHSC residents brought five awards back to Memphis.

“This is an outstanding achievement that attests to our residents’ hard work and innovative thinking,” said Steve Schwab, MD, UTHSC chancellor. “From an educational standpoint, our institution has a huge role in the state of Tennessee and a significant role in the health care and well-being of Memphis. Research is a central component of our institutional mission, and the results of this competition are another independent confirmation that our trainees remain in the forefront on the path to scientific discovery.”

Jennifer DiCocco, MD, third-year resident originally from Ohio, earned First Place for her clinical paper titled, “Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Following Planned Ventral Hernia.” Dr. DiCocco plans to specialize in trauma surgery. She says her work in the competition taught her that “reconstruction of the abdominal wall after trauma can have a high rate of hernia recurrence; however, some techniques have lower rates of recurrence and complications than others. That’s why it’s so important to look at the data and constantly re-evaluate our methods. This ensures that we are always doing what is best for the patient.”

Katrina Emmett, MD, fourth-year resident from Cedar Hill, Texas, took First Place in the trauma paper competition for her entry on “Improving the Screening Criteria for Blunt Cerebrovascular Injury (BCVI): the Appropriate Role for Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA).” She will take her work to the regional competition of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. Dr. Emmett observed, “I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in clinical research and all of the support from the Department of Surgery and UT Graduate Medical Education that makes this work possible during residency. It is rewarding to pursue a project and develop relationships with other resident and attending physicians in the process.”

Wayne Shannon Orr, MD, won First Place for his basic science paper titled, “Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin Suppresses Neuroblastoma Growth in In-vitro and in Xenografts by Inhibiting Nuclear Factor -κB (NF-κB) Pathway.” A third-year resident from Clarksdale, Miss., Dr. Orr holds a BS degree from Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., and his MD from the University of Mississippi in Jackson. He plans to specialize in surgical oncology.

Jason Denbo, MD, took Second Place for his clinical paper on “Ligation vs. Reconstruction of the Soft Pancreatic Remnant Following Pancreaticoduodenectomy: Revisiting an Old Friend.” Dr. Denbo is a second-year resident from Indianapolis, Ind., with a bachelor’s degree from Greenville College in Greenville, Ill., and an MD from Indiana University of Medicine in Indianapolis. He plans to specialize in surgical oncology.

Adrianne Myers, MD, earned Second Place for her basic science paper “Bevacizumab-Induced Tumor Vessel Remodeling in Neuroblastoma Xenografts.” The third-year resident earned both of her degrees from St. Louis, Mo., institutions: a BA at Washington University and her MD from Saint Louis University. She plans to specialize in pediatric surgery and viewed the statewide ACS competition as “a great opportunity for surgical residents to present their research.”

“We are extremely proud of these young researchers and their wonderful accomplishments,” said Tim Fabian, MD, chairman of the UTHSC Department of Surgery and holder of the Harwell W. Wilson Alumni Professorship in Surgery. “I also want to commend the faculty mentors for their excellence in teaching and research, and for the strong support they lend to the residents in our labs.”