Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Surgery

Resident Research


July 17, 2016 San Diego, CA

Katrina Brakoniecki, a graduating medical student under the mentorship of Dr. Gainosuke Sugiyama working with chief residents Paul Chung MD and Michael Smith MD, represented our Department of Surgery at this annual conference hosted by the American College of Surgeons. The project was entitled "Let's Intervene Early: Disparity is Not With The Operation." NSQIP, the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, over recent years has been instrumental in providing much needed insight into surgical outcomes. Ms. Brakoniecki presented our department's research on disparities in colon surgery. Overall, black patients have a higher incidence of mortality, however after propensity score matching, there was no significant difference in mortality. However, there still remained a significant difference in blood transfusion and return to the operating room.

Katrina Brakoniecki, medical student - Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

EUPSA 17th European Congress

June 17, 2016 Milan, Italy Universita Degli Studi Di Milano

A case report written by surgical residents Jason Sulkowski M.D., Michael Smith M.D., and Douglas James M.D. was presented at the 17th European Congress, the annual meeting for the European Pediatric Surgeon's Association. This prestigious event was held at the University of Milan. The poster presentation titled "Congenital Mesoblasic Nephroma in a Premature Twin Gestation" described our experience with this rare tumor, the first described in a twin gestation.

Medical Education Subway Summit

June 21, 2016 Bronx, New York

Elizabeth Kao, M.D., an upcoming second year resident, presented a project that enhanced competency based education in our surgery clerkship which was well received. The Medical Education Subway Summit is an annual conference, hosted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and provides a platform for all medical schools in New York City and features the latest developments in medical education.

Below: Dr. Kao
Elizabeth Kao, M.D. - Medical Education Subway Summit

Robert Furchgott Medical Student Award

May 19th, 2016 Brooklyn, New York

Andre Valentin, a fourth year medical student who will be starting general surgery at Northshore-LIJ received the Robert Furchgott Medical Student Research Award for his research in the role of REG1 and chemoresistance in Pancreatic Cancer.

This prestigious award is given to one medical student per year that demonstrates significant scientific merit. During medical school, he dedicated 1 year to basic science research mentored by Dr. Chongmin Huan, and was awarded a Scientific Forum Excellence in Research Award at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in October 2015.

Below: Andre Valentin
Andre Valentin, Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center - Robert Furchgott Medical Student Research Award

Murry Friedman Resident Research Competition

May 12, 2016 Queens, New York

Kaylene Barrera, M.D. presented progress on Site-1-Protease (S1P) in the pathogenesis of Acute Pancreatitis. S1P deficiency leads to inability to compensate for ER stress conditions associated with pancreatitis, and thus greater acinar cell injury making it a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of acute pancreatitis.
This project received 1st place in the Basic Sciences competition.

Below: Kaylene Barrera, M.D.
Murray Friedman Research Competition - Kaylene Barrera, M.D., Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Downstate Annual Research Day

April 13, 2016 Brooklyn, NY
Eleven residents, medical students and PhD students participated in the event hosted by The School of Graduate Studies. This is a yearly opportunity to showcase the extensive and groundbreaking research at downstate. With more than 180 participants presenting both basic and clinical scientific research this is a distinguished occasion. Thank you to the School of Graduate Studies for including us every year.


  • Kaylene Barrera, M.D.,
  • Peiqi Ou - PhD Candidate,
  • Michael Smith M.D.
  • Nicholas Ullman - Medical Student
  • Sara Ullrich - Medical Student
  • Yohannes Constable - Medical Student
  • Brendan Chen - Medical Student
  • Gina Milone - Medical Student
  • Katrina Brakoniecki - Medical Student
  • Koby Herman - Medical Student ** Recipient 2nd place Poster
  • Michael Lee - Medical Student


Dr. Gainosuke Sugiyama, Dr. Antonio Alfonso, Paul Chung M.D., Sara Kim M.D., David Radvinsky M.D.

  • Annual Research Day Photo 1
  • Annual Research Day Photo 2
  • Annual Research Day Photo 3
  • Annual Research Day Photo 4
  • Annual Research Day Photo 5
  • Annual Research Day Photo 6
  • Annual Research Day Photo 7
  • Annual Research Day Photo 8
  • Annual Research Day Photo 9
  • Annual Research Day Photo 10
  • Annual Research Day Photo 11
  • Annual Research Day Photo 12

NEGEA Conference:

April 8, 2016 Providence, RI
Drs. Michael Klein and Dr. Warren Widmann presented at this annual event sponsored by the AAMC. Dr. Klein shared his work on improving surgical clerkship and focusing on medical student competencies and Dr. Widmann presented outcomes after implementing mock oral examinations.

9th Annual National Healthcare Disparities Conference

March 9, 2016 Washington, DC

Third-year SUNY Downstate medical students Nicholas Ullman, Katrina Brakoniecki, and Gina Milone participated in this national conference (link: The theme this year was "A National Dialogue for Building Healthy Communities", focusing on health disparities with the involvement and support of US Congress members and important political organizations. The students, under the guidance of Dr. Sugiyama and Chief Residents Paul Chung, M.D., Michael Smith M.D. and Sara Kim M.D., presented research on colon and breast cancer disparities both nationwide and locally at our institutions. Acknowledgments: Dr. Antonio Alfonso, Dr. Lisa Dresner, Dr. Alex Schwartzman.

Health Disparities Conference

Academic Surgical Congress:

February 2, 2016 Jacksonville FL

Several Downstate surgical residents and medical students showcased their projects at the yearly Academic Surgical Congress, sponsored by the Association for Academic Surgery. Presenters included Paul Chung M.D., Michael Smith M.D., Kaylene Barrera M.D. and Sarah Ullrich ? presenting research on the disparities in surgery. ACS Surgery News, the Official Newspaper of the American College of Surgeons featured Dr. Mike Smith?s project on HIV and appendicitis.

Long Island / Brooklyn ACS Clinic Day:

Dec 2, 2016 Uniondale NY

Several Downstate residents participated in this yearly event. First and Third place awards were bestowed upon our very own Sara Kim M.D. and Michael Smith M.D.