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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Surgery

Surgical Research Lab

Research Staff

Surgery Research Lab Location:

Rooms B8-330 and B8-325, University Hospital of Brooklyn, Hospital Building, 8th Floor
450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203

Left to right:

  • Dr. Jinguang He (Visiting Scholar)
  • Zuzanna Niewiadomska (Research student)
  • Cathy Mueller (Laboratory Manager)
  • Kaylene Barrera M.D. (Surgical Research Resident)
  • Albert Stanek, M.D., Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery & Pathology
  • Peiqi Ou (PhD candidate)
  • Chongmin Huan M.D., PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Surgery Research


The Department of Surgery at Downstate and its academic residency program is part of a long tradition of research at SUNY Downstate. As well as its College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate consists of a Graduate School with Molecular and Cell Biology as well as Neuroscience and Biotechnology programs (for PhD studies), a School of Public Health (for MPH and higher degrees) and collaborations with Brooklyn Polytechnic and CUNY?s Brooklyn College. The Department has its own molecular biology research laboratory. These resources provide diverse opportunities for pursuing academic and scholarly activities, strongly encouraged by the Chairman and Faculty of the Department ? some of whom have active, inter-disciplinary research programs.

Each academic year the Department funds 2-3 Lab Residents for 2 years, recommended after completing PGY 2. The positions are competitively assigned. These fellowships are pursued with PIs within the Department as well as with those in other clinical departments within the College of Medicine and/or in Biomedical Laboratory Research in the SUNY School of Graduate Studies. Residents with pre-existing strong research connections outside Downstate are also accommodated when such research has clearly articulated translational goals.

Research Focus

  • Chemoresistance in Pancreatic Cancer
  • Molecular Pathways in Acute Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic Regeneration
  • Defective B Cell Tolerance in Lupus

Lab Alumni

  • Andre Valentin M.D. (Downstate COM 2016, Surgical Resident Northwell)
  • Ramy Abdel-Naby M.D. (Downstate COM 2015, Current Surgical Resident)
  • Sid Sharma M.D. (Current Surgical Resident)
  • Marc LaFonte M.D. (Class of 2016, Trauma Surgery Fellow – Brown University)
  • Shunpei Okochi M.D. (Downstate COM Class of 2012, Current Surgical Resident, Columbia Pediatric ECMO Research Fellow)
  • Daniel Kim M.D. (Class of 2015, Attending Surgeon at University of Washington)
  • Nefertiti Brown M.D (Class of 2012, Breast Oncology, Los Angeles)
  • Sofia Fu M.D. (Class of 2011, General Surgery, New York)



  • May 2016: Murry Friedman Research Competition First Place
  • May 2016: Furchgott Award for Excellence in Research
  • October 2015: American College Of Surgeons, Scientific Forum Excellence in Research
  • May 2015: Murry Friedman Research Competition First Place

Selected Abstracts and Publications

  • Huan C, Kim D, Alfonso A, Stanek A.  “Mechanisms of Interleukin-22’s beneficial effects in acute pancreatitis” World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol.  2016 Feb 15;7(1):108-16. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v7.i1.108 PMID: 26909233
  • Valentin A, Abdel-Naby R, Stanek A, Persaud Y, Helmi C, Niewiadomska Z, Mueller C, Ou P, Alfonso A, Huan C.  “REG1 Promotes the Development of Chemoresistance in Pancreatic Cancer Cells Through Activation of AKT” Journal of the American College of Surgeons.  2015 Oct; 221(4):S94 Link  (Winner: Excellence in Research, Surgical Forum)
  • Okochi S, Stanek A, Xu M, Seiden L, Mueller C, Ou P, Iovanna J, Sugiyama G, Alfonso A, Huan C. Regenerating Islet-Derived 3a (Reg3a) Is Required for Acinar Cell NFkB Activation and Tissue Protection in Experimental Acute Pancreatitis. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2014 Sep; Vol. 219, Issue 3, S26  Link
  • Abdel-Naby R, Wang K, Song D, Bozentka J, LaFonte M, Ou P, Stanek A, Mueller C, Alfonso A, Huan C.  “Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase (ERK)-dependent p21 (WAF1/Cip1) Expression Is Associated with Gemcitabine Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer Cells” Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2014 Sep; Vol. 219, Issue 3, S27  Link
  • Chakraborty M, Lou C, Huan C, Kuo MS, Park TS, Cao G, Jiang XC. “Myeloid cell-specific serine palmitoyltransferase subunit 2 haploinsufficiency reduces murine atherosclerosis.” The Journal of clinical investigation. 2013; 123(4):1784-97. PMID: 23549085
  • LaFonte MW, Stanek A, Mueller C, Zenilman ME, Sugawara A, Alfonso AE, Huan C. “Identification of Reg1 as a novel stellate cell activator in regenerating pancreas”. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2013; 217(3):S18.  Link
  • LaFonte MW, Stanek A, Mueller C, Gainosuke S, Alfonso AE, Iovanna JL, Huan C. “PAP1/Reg3b dependant MAPK activation mediates pancreatic regeneration after partial pancreatectomy in mouse” Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2013; 217(3):S19.  Link
  • Fu S, Stanek A, Hassanain E, Oylborhoro O, Mueller C, Brown N, Huan C, Zenilman ME.  “Acute Pancreatitis (AP) in Aging Animals” World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jul 14;18(26):3379-88. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i26.3379   PMID: 22807607
  • Boucher G, Stanek A, Sharma S, Mueller C, Sugiyama G, Weber T, Ghilardi N, Ouyang W, Alfonso A, Huan C.  “Endogenous interleukin (IL-23) protects against acinar injury in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated mouse severe pancreatitis”. 2012 Sep; Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 215, Issue 3, S23  Link
  • Fu S, Stanek A, Mueller CM, Brown NA, Huan C, Bluth MH, Zenilman ME.  “Acute Pancreatitis in aging animals: loss of pancreatitis-associated protein protection?” World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jul 14;18(26):3379-88. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i26.3379. PMID: 22807607
  • Li Z, Fan Y, Liu J, Li Y, Huan C, Bui HH, Kuo MS, Park TS, Cao G, Jiang XC. “Impact of sphingomyelin synthase 1 deficiency on sphingolipid metabolism and atherosclerosis in mice.” Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2012; 32(7):1577-84. PMID: 22580896
  • Hassanain E, Huan C, Mueller CM, Stanek A, Quan W, Viterbo D, Bluth MH, Zenilman ME. “Pancreatitis-associated proteins' regulation of inflammation is correlated with their ability to aggregate.” Pancreas. 2011 Oct;40(7):1151-3. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e3182218006  PMID: 21926556
  • Kim D, Stanek A, Mueller C, Zeilman ME, Weber T, Alfonso A, Ouyang W, Huan C.  “Interleukin 22: A novel mediator of inflammatory inhibition and tissue damage in acute pancreatitis” 2011 Oct; 213(3): S14-15  Link
  • Huan C, Zenilman ME.  “A proteasome inhibitor to treat acute pancreatitis?  Maybe …“ J Surg Res. 2010 Jul;162(1):39-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2009.10.024  PMID: 20085842
  • Liu J, Huan C, Chakraborty M, Zhang H, Lu D, Kuo MS, Cao G, Jiang XC. “Macrophage sphingomyelin synthase 2 deficiency decreases atherosclerosis in mice.” Circulation research. 2009; 105(3):295-303. PMID:19590047