American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

The Jacobson Promising Investigator Award

Past Recipients

Sam Wang, MD, FACS2019
Sam Wang, MD, FACS
Institution: University of Texas—Southwestern
Research Conducted: Dr. Wang is studying the molecular mechanisms that cause cancer health outcome disparities in Hispanic gastric cancer patients, who have twice the incidence and mortality as compared to White patients and present younger and with more advanced disease. His clinical interests are in foregut malignancies, including pancreatic, liver, and gastric cancer. In the lab, Dr. Wang is working to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the initiation and progression of these diseases in order to identify novel diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Upon joining UT Southwestern in 2014, Dr. Wang worked to elucidate the functional role of a chromatin remodeler molecule called ARID-1A, which is one of the most commonly mutated genes in cancer. He found that contrary to conventional wisdom that ARID-1A is simply a tumor suppressor gene, the molecule can have oncogenic effect in liver cancer. In the pancreas, he found that ARID-1A mutations leads to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma if mutated in acinar cells and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) if mutated in duct cells.

Hari Nathan, MD, PhD2018
Hari Nathan, MD, PhD
Institution: University of Michigan
Research Conducted: Overarching research goals are to better understand variation in the quality and cost of care for surgical patients and to identify strategies for improving both the quality and cost of care. He has studied surgical care in the Medicare program and has made important contributions to our understanding of how pre-operative patient risk and hospital factors impact the occurrence of complications and cost of care. In particular, his work had been instrumental in demonstrating that peri-operative complications are a chief driver of surgical expenditures, and that patients with multiple medical comorbidities incur outsized costs when they experience complications, even at high volume hospitals.

Matthew D. Neal, MD, FACS2017
Matthew D. Neal, MD, FACS
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Research Conducted: Dr. Neal’s basic science research focuses on the mechanisms of organ failure and coagulopathy following trauma and hemorrhage. Specifically, his lab is interested in the role of innate immune activation in the regulation of hemostasis and thrombosis, and the lab recently discovered a novel signaling pathway in platelets involving the danger signaling molecule, HMGB1. This work, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has led to a series of novel observations regarding platelet response following sterile injury and the role of platelets in thrombotic complications such as DVT and PE. Dr. Neal also runs a clinical research group that is investigating novel resuscitation and hemorrhage control strategies for trauma patients as well as outcomes following massive transfusion and the management of anticoagulation in trauma patients.

Ankit Bharat, MD, FACS

Ankit Bharat, MD, FACS
Institution: Northwestern University
Research Conducted: Investigating the pathogenesis and importance of lung-restricted autoimmunity in allograft rejection. Dr. Bharat has described a novel two-hit mechanism for the development of autoimmunity, showing that it plays a dominant role in lung allograft rejection. Upon completion, this work will challenge the current paradigm that only looks at histocompatibility antigens in allotransplantation. Related to his work in immunology, Dr. Bharat has identified the presence of a novel subset of intravascular pulmonary monocytes that are responsible for the initial signals of neutrophil recruitment in the transplanted lung, leading to its injury.

Benjamin Levi, MD, PhD

Benjamin Levi, MD, PhD
Institution: University of Michigan
Research Conducted: Developing novel imaging and treatment modalities for trauma induced bone pathologies including heterotopic ossification and non-healing osseous wounds. Dr. Levi’s work has demonstrated that Raman Spectroscopy and near infra-red imaging can detect pathologic extra-skeletal bone formation prior to radiographic detection. This early detection is crucial for the testing of therapeutics that can prevent this destructive process before it begins. Dr. Levi next identified the central signaling pathways that cause heterotopic ossification and has validated several prophylactic strategies in pre-clinical trials. Additionally, he has identified and characterized the “stem cells” that are enriched and are responsible for trauma induced heterotopic ossification. This work has provided the rationale for therapeutic interventions based on bone morphogenetic protein and hypoxia inducible factor one alpha.

Carrie A. Sims

Carrie A. Sims, MD, MS, FACS
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Research Conducted: Use of novel resuscitative strategies to treat mitochondrial dysfunction in hemorrhagic and septic shock. Dr. Sims is currently investigating the use of hormonal adjuncts during the resuscitation of exsanguinating hemorrhage and the impact of sirtuin modulation on cellular function following hemorrhagic shock and sepsis.

Adil H. Haider, MD, MPH, FACS

Adil H. Haider, MD, MPH, FACS
Institution: Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Research Conducted: Understanding mechanisms that lead to disparities in outcomes after surgery and trauma. In the past, racial disparities research has not been thought to be significant, especially in the field of trauma, where many people still believed that Emergency Rooms are the great equalizers of care and questioned the very existence of any disparities in outcomes.
Current Research: Dr. Haider has moved on from simply describing disparities to actually understanding why they occur and offering solutions with intervention trials. In addition, he and his team are now investigating disparities among LGBT populations and other previously marginalized groups such as those with Dwarfism and American Indians.

Jaqueline S. Jeruss, MD, FACS

Jaqueline S. Jeruss, MD, PhD, FACS
Institution: University of Michigan
Research Conducted: Examining the impact of CDK inhibition alone and in conjunction with chemotherapy on cell models of both ER+ and ER- breast cancer.
Current Research: Dr. Jeruss and her team focus on the role of novel therapeutics for the treatment of aggressive breast cancer subtypes. Their main focus has been on the impact of CDK inhibitors alone and in combination with established chemotherapies. Recently her group published two manuscripts containing preclinical data describing the mechanisms of action for the new drug combinations. They have also patented a pharmaceutical-grade CDK inhibitor along with the chemotherapy eribulin for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. They plan to initiate a clinical trial in the near future implementing the therapeutic drug combination.

Tippi C. MacKenzie, MD, FACS

Tippi C. MacKenzie, MD, FACS
Institution: UCSF Medical Center
Research Conducted: Fetal surgery is life saving for many patients with congenital anomalies, but it remains limited by high incidence of preterm labor. The study of immune response to fetal surgery can help understand the triggers for preterm labor. During the time of the award, Dr. MacKenzie examined the mother’s immune response and found that T-cell activation in the mother triggers preterm delivery.
Current Research: Dr. MacKenzie’s work now explores the maternal and fetal immune responses to the stress of feral surgery and is making the surprising finding that surgery alters the delicate balance of maternal-fetal tolerance.

Justin B. Dimick, MD, FACS

Justin B. Dimick, MD, MPH, FACS
Institution: University of Michigan
Research Conducted: Development of better measures of surgical quality.
Current Research: Dr. Dimick’s work continues to focus on quality measurement, health care policy evaluation, and large-scale quality improvement interventions. The two main areas of focus for his work include: (1) evaluating the impact of several Medicare payment reforms from the Accountable Care Act (Obamacare) in surgical populations; and (2) evaluating the impact of a statewide video-based coaching intervention to improve the technical skills of practicing bariatric surgeons in Michigan.

Dorry L. Segev, MD, PhD, FACS

Dorry L. Segev, MD, PhD, FACS
Institution: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Research Conducted: Risk prediction in older adults considering kidney transplantation.
Current Research: Dr. Segev’s research now focuses on (1) frailty and risk prediction in older adults undergoing surgery; (2) better understanding the immunology of kidney transplants against HLA and ABO barriers; (3) better understanding shot-term and long-term sequelae of living kidney donation, particularly in medically complex donors and African Americans; and (4) redrawing the national organ distribution map to reduce geographic disparities in organ availability.

Christopher K. Breuer, MD, FACS

Christopher K. Breuer, MD, FACS
Institution: Nationwide Children's Hospital
Research Conducted: Development of a tissue-engineered vascular graft. The tissue-engineered vascular graft is the first man-made vascular graft with growth capacity and was designed specifically for use in congenital heart surgery. During the course of the Jacobson Promising Investigator Award, he performed basic science studies designed to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying vascular neotissue formation. He performed applied studies in an attempt to rationally design and validate improved second-generation technologies based on his discoveries.
Current Research: Dr. Breuer and his team are in the midst of the first FDA-approved clinical trial investigating the use of tissue-engineered vascular grafts in congenital heart surgery. They have developed the next generation tissue-engineered vascular graft rationally designed to outperform the first-generation technology. They have also developed the prototype for the first tissue-engineered, valved conduit designed for fetal surgery.

Mark Puder, MD, FACS

Mark Puder, MD, PhD, FACS
Institution: Boston Children's Hospital
Research Conducted: Development of a new treatment for parenteral nutrition-associated liver injury as well as fatty acid liver disease using and intravenous omega 3 fatty acid-based lipid emulsion. The discovery was taken to patients and is now used under compassionate care to treat that disease.
Current Research: Dr. Puder continues to work on parenteral nutrition-associated liver injury and is working to obtain FDA approval for the use of the fish oil lipid emulsion as well as determine true essential fatty acids and elucidate the mechanisms by which they reduce inflammation and liver injury.

Edith Tzeng, MD, FACS

Edith Tzeng, MD, FACS
Institution: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Research Conducted: Carbon monoxide mediated anti-inflammatory actions in vasoprotection.
Current Research: Dr. Tzeng’s research continues to focus on carbon monoxide and understanding its elaborate mechanism of protection. She is honing in on the phenotypic switch that it mediates in macrophages and the role of neural signaling pathways mediating this switch.

Michael T. Longaker

Michael T. Longaker, MD, MBA, FACS
Institution: Stanford University Medical Center
Research Conducted: Mechanisms underlying cranial suture fusion in mice, mesenchymal stromal cells for skeletal tissue engineering using adipose tissue from mouse and man, and mechanisms underlying scar formation during wound repair.
Current Research: Dr. Longaker continues to focus on scar formation during wound healing and has recently identified a cellular culprit that is responsible to a large degree for the fibrosis seen following wound repair, radiation therapy, and in the stroma surrounding melanoma. In addition, he has reported on the ability to minimize scarring in both pigs and humans by the use of a tension shielding dressing is applied postoperatively. Most recently he has isolated the mouse skeletal stem cell which gives rise to bone, cartilage, and bone marrow stroma progenitors.