Research Syposium

Research Symposium

The Department of Surgery's annual Research Symposium brings together faculty, project scientists, residents, research fellows, post-doctoral scholars, and medical students who are interested in our research enterprise.


Research symposium

The main goals of this event are 1) prepare future leaders in surgical sciences research; 2) foster systematic and evidence-driven research; 3) incubate junior researchers for applying for research grants; and, 4) improve health outcomes among surgical patients through basic, clinical, and transitional research.

The Symposium consists of keynote lectures, oral sessions, quick shot presentations, and networking.  It enables the sharing of research and accomplishments as well as the review of research being conducted by peers. Following each presentation, faculty and students alike can debate the research topic, ask questions, and provide commentary.

The program is planned and organized with the help of the Symposium Organization Committee that includes Dr. Bellal Joseph, MD (Vice Chair of Research), Charlotte Smith (Department Administrator), Jessica Montoya (Administrative Support Manager), Dr. Abdul Tawab Saljuqi (Research Scientist), and Denis Sandoval (Administrative Support Professional).

The Organizing Committee will prepare the call for abstracts, which will be disseminated through the DOS research newsletter and all DOS listservs two months before the Symposium. Abstracts will be reviewed by a group of experts from different research backgrounds ranging from basic science to clinical research to transitional research.

Join the Department of Surgery for the 2023 Research Symposium on Wednesday, May 17 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Health Sciences Innovation Building lobby.

This year, our keynote speaker will be Ronald DeMatteo, MD, FACS, John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery and chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. DeMatteo is a surgical oncologist who is nationally recognized for his expertise in treating diseases of the liver, bile duct, gallbladder, pancreas, abdominal sarcomas, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Among his many accomplishment over the course of his career, Dr. DeMatteo has made significant research advances studying the immune environment of the liver and tumor immunology, and working to develop immune therapies to help prevent tumors from returning after surgery.

The schedule for the 2023 Research Symposium is as follows:

7 - 8:25 a.m: Oral Presentations
8:40 - 9:20 a.m: Department of Surgery Invited Faculty Talks

  • Dr. Tanya Anand, MD, MPH, FACS
  • Dr. Ken Liechty, MD, FACS
  • Dr. Jason Wertheim, MD, PHD, FACS

9:25 - 10:25 a.m: Quick Shot Presentations
10:30 - 11:30 a.m: Grand Rounds/Keynote Address

Save the Date:

The 2023 Research Symposium will be held on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

RSVP to the 2023 Research Symposium

Get to know the featured speakers

Ronald DeMatteo

Ronald DeMatteo, MD, FACS
John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery
Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania

Ronald DeMatteo, MD, FACS, is the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery, and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. DeMatteo is a surgical oncologist who is nationally recognized for his expertise in treating diseases of the liver, bile duct, gallbladder, pancreas, abdominal sarcomas, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). His clinical research is focused on liver, bile duct, gallbladder, and pancreas cancers.

Dr. DeMatteo completed his surgical residency and two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine: the first in molecular biology and virology with Steven E. Raper, MD, and James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, and the second in immunology and transplantation with Clyde F. Barker, MD. Dr. DeMatteo returned to the University of Pennsylvania in July 2017 as chair of the Department of Surgery after spending 20 years spent at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He most recently served as vice chair of the Department of Surgery and head of the Division of General Surgical Oncology at MSKCC. He also held the titles of professor of surgery and associate dean at Weill Medical College at Cornell University. At Penn, Dr. DeMatteo leads 130 faculty across 11 divisions who provide advanced patient care and conduct a robust portfolio of basic and clinical research.

Over the course of his career, Dr. DeMatteo has made significant research advances studying the immune environment of the liver and tumor immunology, working to develop immune therapies to help prevent tumors from returning after surgery. He has served as the principal investigator on three national trials of the adjuvant drug imatinib, which is used following surgery to remove gastrointestinal stromal tumors, leading to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and establishing a new standard of care for the disease. A well-respected educator, Dr. DeMatteo was director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program for seven years at MSKCC, and he has mentored more than 135 clinical and laboratory fellows.

Dr. DeMatteo has participated in senior leadership activities through many international and national professional societies and associations, including as the leader of the American Joint Commission on Cancer Staging Guidelines for GIST (2015), and as a member of the National Institutes of Health Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CII) Study Section. In addition, Dr. DeMatteo has been honored with the Jeroen Pit Science Award from The GIST Life Raft Support Group, and since 2013 he has been listed in U.S. News and World Reports America’s Top Doctors list. Dr. DeMatteo earned his medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Tanya Anand, MD, MPH, FACS

Tanya Anand, MD, MPH, FACS
Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery
Director, Geriatric Trauma
Director, Surgical Clerkship

Tanya Anand, MD, MPH, FACS, is a clinical assistant professor of surgery with the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burn & Emergency Surgery.

Originally from southern California, Dr. Anand attained her undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and worked for several years as a licensed clinical laboratory scientist. She simultaneously completed her MPH, with an interest in health policy and epidemiology, at the University of Southern California. She then completed medical school, graduating magna cum laude, at St. George’s University in Grenada, WI, followed by residency at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, CA. Her interest in trauma, acute care surgery, and critical care led her to complete a 2-year fellowship at the UAZ DoS.

Dr. Anand’s research interests are diverse but revolve around improving all aspects of care of critically ill trauma, acute care, and burn patients. In particular, she is interested in understanding the impact of inflammation upon resuscitation and glycocalyx integrity in the critically ill trauma patient. She also has a passion for exploring avenues to improve patient equity in health care access. Dr. Anand is certified by the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care and obtained a certification in Advanced Trauma Life Support, among other clinical certifications. She is a member of multiple professional societies, including the American College of Surgeons, Association of Women Surgeons, and the American Medical Association.

Kenneth Liechty, MD

Ken Liechty, MD, FACS​
Division Chief, Pediatric Surgery
Director, Fetal Medicine
Surgeon-in-Chief, Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center
Professor, Surgery
Professor, Pediatrics
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Ken Liechty, MD, FACS is the division chief of pediatric surgery in the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Surgery, as well as director of fetal medicine at Banner – University Medicine and surgeon-in-chief of Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

Dr. Liechty is internationally recognized for his clinical care in fetal medicine and his research in wound healing and regeneration. He received undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Utah, and he went on to receive certifications in general surgery from the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) and fetal and pediatric surgery from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Liechty stayed on as faculty at CHOP and UPENN for five years as a fetal and pediatric surgeon and basic science researcher.

Prior to joining the University of Arizona, Dr. Liechty spent eight years at the University of Colorado, where he was co-director of the Children’s Hospital Colorado Fetal Care Center and director of Pediatric Surgery Basic and Translational Research.

Dr. Liechty’s laboratory, which has been continuously funded for the last 18 years, is the source of many patents and two companies. He has trained numerous medical students, residents and fellows who have gone on to academic surgical positions. His research into wound healing and tissue regeneration will help ensure we are able to bring high quality fetal and pediatric surgery to patients throughout Arizona.

Jason A. Wertheim, MD, PhD

Jason Wertheim, MD, PHD, FACS​
Vice Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
Professor, Surgery
Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Jason Wertheim, MD, PHD, FACS, joined the University of Arizona from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he served as vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery and associate director of the MD-PhD program. Dr. Wertheim’s NIH- and VA-funded laboratory investigates new methods to bioengineer liver and kidney tissue as a future solution to organ shortage in transplantation.

Dr. Wertheim holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained a doctoral degree in bioengineering and a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his clinical training in general surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a transplant surgery fellowship at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Wertheim was awarded the highly coveted Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2019.

CME CREDIT PROVIDED BY UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF MEDICINE - TUCSON. Overall Series Objectives: 1.) Incorporate into practice intraoperative teaching and feedback to improve operative performance. 2.) Incorporate cutting-edge surgical techniques and patient management strategies. 3.) Incorporate into practice results from recent randomized-controlled trials/studies. 4.) Communicate operative knowledge effectively to peers. Accreditation Statement: The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Disclosure Statement(s): All Faculty, CME Planning Committee Members and the CME Office Reviewers have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with commercial interests that would constitute a conflict of interest concerning this CME activity.