Resident Research Electives
Benjamin Allar, MD
Tufts University School of Medicine
Ben’s hometown is Newton, MA. Ben completed received his BA summa cum laude at Connecticut College, majoring in Biological Sciences and Religious Studies. He received multiple awards for academic and leadership excellence, including the Unsung Hero Award and the Judy Bailen Kateman ’65 Outstanding Senior Prize. As a student at Tufts University School of Medicine, Ben was elected to AOA, served on the Admissions Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and was an active student delegate to the Massachusetts Medical Society. Ben also served as President of the Team Cathedral Project, mentoring and teaching local students and was engaged in a number of clinical research projects. His surgical interests are colorectal surgery, minimally invasive surgery, HPB, and surgical education. He enjoys cooking, reading, and golf.
Donna Alvino, MD
Harvard Medical School
Donna’s hometown is the Bronx, NY. Donna received her BA summa cum laude from Boston University, majoring in Biology and was a member of the College Scholars Society and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, Donna pursued research in the area of HIV immunity at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Walker. Donna received her MD from Harvard Medical School, pursuing research interests in gastrointestinal surgery. Her surgical interests include surgical oncology with a focus in hepatobiliary surgery as well as transplant surgery. Donna enjoys reading, collecting vinyl records, and cooking.
Jordan Broekhuis, MD
University of Nebraska College of Medicine
Jordan’s hometown is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He received his BA in music with high distinction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his MD with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine where he received the Paul E. Hodgson award for outstanding performance in surgery and was elected to AOA. During medical school, Jordan participated in the Enhanced Medical Education Track in HIV medicine, during which he studied a model of physician-pharmacist partnership for the provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis. Jordan’s clinical interests are in endocrine surgery and breast surgery. He enjoys cooking, traveling, and playing the piano.
Gabrielle Dombek, MD
University of Florida College of Medicine
Gabrielle’s hometown is Miami, Florida. She received her BS at the University of Florida – Gainesville, majoring in Biology and Psychology, receiving the National Hispanic Scholar Award and the Bausch and Lomb Math and Science Award. As a medical student at the University of Florida, Gabrielle received the Thomas McLelland Brown Rotary Scholarship and the Goodman Trust Research Award. Gabrielle served as the Women’s Healthcare Coordinator at Equal Access, a student run medical clinic, participated in Project Heal, served as President of Medical Students for Choice, and was a member of the Admissions Committee. Gabrielle is currently pursuing translational research in colon and rectal cancer as a postdoctoral fellow in glycobiology. Her clinical interest is colon and rectal surgery. Gabrielle enjoys running, painting, camping, hiking reading, baking, and watching movies with her cat Max!
Jane Cheng, MD
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Jane’s hometown is Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jane received her BS from the University of Michigan, majoring in Biochemistry. She received the Woodlock Alumnae Scholarship, Gomberg Chemistry Scholarship, and the Walton Scholarship, and served as Captain for the University of Michigan Dance Marathon and was a health screening coordinator for the Vietnamese American Association. Jane received her MD from the Wayne State School of Medicine and was a member of the Cass Clinic for uninsured and underinsured residents of Detroit, the Detroit Medical Orchestra, and served as President of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. Her surgical interest includes surgical oncology. Jane is currently doing a research fellowship in cancer biology at BIDMC. Jane enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring various culture through food.
Daniel Cloonan, MD
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Daniel’s hometown is Omaha, Nebraska. He received his BS in Biology at the University of Nebraska and his MD, With Distinction, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he was elected to AOA and received the Marjorie Merwin Simons Memorial Scholarship for leadership. Daniel served as President of the UNMC Student Senate and was the UNMC Student Regent to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.He pursued several research projects including investigating drug metabolism of antiretroviral therapy in transgender women, medical education, and the development of the Clinical Educator Enhanced Medical Education Track. Daniel’s surgical interests include pediatric surgery and thoracic surgery. He enjoys cooking, gardening, sport climbing and bouldering.
Carly Comer, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Carly grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carly received her BS summa cum laude from the Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Biology, and was a recipient of the Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Scholarship, the Even Pugh Senior Scholar Award, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, Carly pursued research at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center and interned with the non-profit organization, Save A Child’s Heart. Carly received her MD from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, receiving the Measey Scholarship and was inducted into the Hobart Amory Hare Honor Medical Society, the National Pathology Honor Society, and the Dean’s Student Leadership Forum. Carly was active in a number of extracurriculars and was elected to AOA. Her surgical interests include academic general surgery and surgical education. Carly enjoys running, yoga, Philly sports, and travel.
Shahdabul Faraz, MD
Weill Cornell Medical College
Shad's hometown is Toronto, Canada. He graduated as valedictorian from Emory University with a BS, magna cum laude, in Biology, with election to Phi Beta Kappa as a Junior. He received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College, graduating in the top quartile of his class. During medical school, he was engaged in community service, leadership, and research. Shad served as Vice President of the Weill Cornell Student Council and was co-founder and co-President of the South Asian Medical Society. He also served on the Admissions Committee during his senior year, helping to attract the best and brightest to Weill Cornell. His surgical interests include Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery, Endocrine Surgery and Breast Surgery. He enjoys music, soccer and travel.
Scott Fligor, MD
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Scott’s hometown is Marblehead, Massachusetts. Scott received his BS from Georgetown University, cum laude, majoring in Biology of Global Health. He received his MD from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, where he was elected AOA. As a medical student, Scott participated in a number of research projects in trauma surgery, resulting in multiple presentations and publications. He held numerous state and national positions in the Medical Society of Virginia and the student section of the American Medical Association. Scott’s clinical interests include pediatric surgery. He enjoys snowboarding, scuba diving, travel, Georgetown basketball, and Boston sports.
Omar Haque, MD
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine
Omar is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He has a Bachelor of Science with honors from Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. In college, he was a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow, received the William F. Clinger, Jr. International Research Award and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also studied abroad at Oxford during his junior year, researching the economics of health and development. Omar received his MD from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. At Mayo, he won the Endowment for Education Research Award and was elected to the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society. Omar created and taught a video based surgical skills curriculum and was active in refugee resettlement work in Rochester, MN. His surgical interests include abdominal transplant surgery and liver perfusion research. Omar enjoys watching the Red Sox, running, tennis, and traveling.
Kayla Isbell, MD
University of Alabama School of Medicine
Kayla’s hometown is Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Kayla received her BS in Mathematics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Masters in Applied American Politics and Policy from Florida State University. Kayla received her MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine where she received the Paul W. Burleson Scholarship, the Society of Thoracic Surgery Looking to the Future Scholarship, and was a recipient of a NIH research training grant. Kayla was a member of the Admissions Committee, the Student Government Association, and volunteered at Equal Access Birmingham, a free clinic. Kayla was the co-founder and President of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Interest Group and pursued research in cardiothoracic surgery with James Kirklin,MD. Her surgical interests include general surgery. Kayla enjoys drawing, reading, and traveling.
Rashi Jhunjhunwala, MD
Emory University School of Medicine
Rashi’s hometown is Portland, Oregon. Rashi received her BA cum laude from Claremont McKenna College, majoring in Biology and Literature, with election to Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation, Rashi pursued clinical research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Rashi received her MD from Emory University School of Medicine, where she served as Editor of the Medical School Literary Magazine, volunteered for the Georgia Rape Crisis Hotline, and pursued research on the traumatically injured patient. During her time at Emory she received the Emory University Creativity and Arts Award and the American Academy for the Surgery of Trauma Research and Education Foundation Scholarship. She also received a Masters of Arts in Bioethics and Society from King’s College London, where she received the King’s Leadership and Professional Skills Award and the Award for Best Overall Performance in the Masters. Her surgical interests include trauma/critical care, global health, and acute care surgery. Rashi enjoys cooking, photography, traveling, and yoga.
Daniel Kent, MD
Albany Medical College
Dan’s hometown is Los Gatos, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dan obtained his BA from the University of California at Los Angeles, majoring in International Development Studies and minoring in Spanish. During college, he worked for Physicians for Social Responsibility and Amigos de las Americas. Between college and medical school, he worked at PEAK Surgical and Medtronic. Dan obtained his MD from Albany Medical College, where he received the Scholastic Excellence Award, the Tompkins Alumni Scholarship, and was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and AOA. He was the co-founder and co-President of the Albany Medical College Global Health Interest Group, co-President of the Students for a National Health Program, and served as a member of the Executive Board of the IMANA Clinic, a free clinic serving local immigrants and refugees. His surgical interests include trauma, vascular surgery, surgical innovation, and global health. Dan enjoys music, surfing, and woodworking.
Jessica Means, MD
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Jessica is a native of Massachusetts, attended Harvard, and majored in Human Evolutionary Biology, graduating with Honors. She was the first female conductor of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals in 161 years, produced Harvard’s 375th Anniversary Celebration, and was the recipient of the Edward H. Potter Prize for fulfilling the enthusiasm and curiosity for eclectic learning. Upon graduating, she received the Harvard Center for Public Interest Careers Fellowship to serve at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City. While in NYC, she played the piano for the Broadway community, and became the pianist for Tony Award-winner Alice Ripley, with whom she plays concerts in NYC and across the country. She attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she pursued research in breast and plastic surgery, was the national first-prize winner of the Linda Brodsky MD Essay Contest, the president of the monthly musical Coffeehouse, and recipient of the Seymour Kaplan Award for academic excellence and citizenship. As a resident at BIDMC, she continues to play the piano regularly, recently accompanying Alice Ripley for “Broadway in the Berkshires”. Jessica’s surgical interests include breast surgery, surgical oncology, and surgical education. She enjoys spending time with her partner, family, and two dogs.
Nicole Moraco, MD
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Nikki grew up in Bedford, New York. She received a BS from Bates College, where she majored in Biochemistry and minored in Philosophy. She subsequently completed a Masters in Bioethics from New York University. Prior to medical school, Nikki conducted research on sarcoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She received her MD from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, receiving an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award, organized educational programs focused on issues of impairment, and served as a member of the Geisel Student Government. Nikki was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical society and the gold humanism honor society. Her surgical interests include general surgery, critical care, and surgical oncology. Nikki enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, skiing and dancing.
Samia Osman, MD
Harvard Medical School
Samia was raised in Mesa, Arizona. Samia received her BS summa cum laude from the University of Arizona, majoring in Molecular Cell Biology, Psychology, and International Development and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After college, Samia received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the universal healthcare system in Taiwan. Samia received her MD from Harvard and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, as a Knowles Fellow and Harvard Square to Oval Office Fellow. Samia served as National Student President for the American Medical Women’s Association, receiving the Anne C. Carter Student Leadership Award, was a Harvard Women and Public Policy Fellow, and was first medical student to be inducted into the Massachusetts Medical Society Honor Roll. Her surgical interests include trauma surgery, global surgery, and surgical disparities. Samia has a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys music and creating fusion dishes.
Jonathan Pastrana Del Valle, MD
Ponce Health Sciences University, Puerto Rico
Jonathan’s hometown is Carolina, Puerto Rico. Jonathan graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a BA in Natural Sciences followed by an MD from Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences. After his initial three years of surgical residency, Jonathan is pursuing a research fellowship in surgical oncology with a focus on colorectal cancer immunology. His surgical interests are colorectal surgery and surgical oncology. Jonathan enjoys Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, traveling, and gastronomy.
Alison Pease, MD
SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
Alison’s hometown is Glastonbury, Connecticut. She received her BS from Yale University, majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and was awarded the F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Prize. During college, Alison worked for the BioEnterprise Corporation evaluating medical device and biotechnology proposals for start-up companies. Alison received her MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, where she volunteered for the Brooklyn Free Clinic, created an anatomy module for first year medical students, and was elected AOA. She also received a SUNY Downstate Alumni Research Fellowship, with which she investigated the amount of post-approval evidence being generated for drugs initially approved by the FDA on the basis of limited evidence. Her surgical interests include oncology and trauma/critical care, and her research interests include health services and surgical outcomes research. Alison enjoys snowboarding, running, writing, and golf.
Benjamin Scott, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Ben’s hometown is Pittsburgh, PA. Ben received a BA from Johns Hopkins in International Studies, where he was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha and played varsity baseball and football. After college Ben played three seasons in the Arena Football League. He then received his MD from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, where he enrolled in the Population Health Program, a specialized medical school curriculum in public health. At Jefferson, Ben was a Levitt Scholar, pursued research in surgical oncology, and served on the Athlete Health Organization, providing screenings to high school athletes. Ben was inducted into the George McClellan Surgical Honor Society and the Hobart Amory Hare Medical Honor Society. His surgical interests include plastic and reconstructive surgery and surgical oncology. Ben enjoys surfing, cooking at home, going out for sushi, and playing with other people’s dogs.
Claire Sokas, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Claire’s hometown is Highlands Ranch, CO. Claire received a BS in Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame and was the recipient of the Irish Clover Award for outstanding service to the student body. Claire received her MD from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and served on the Admissions Committee, the Professional Conduct Committee, the Student Advisory Committee on Professionalism, and was a student leader for the Jefferson Center for Inter-Professional Education. Claire was elected into the George McClellan Surgical Honors Society. Her surgical interests include vascular surgery as well as clinical effectiveness research and quality improvement. Claire is an avid runner and has volunteered as a guide for Achilles International in both Philadelphia and Boston.
Alessandra Storino Gonzalez, MD
School of Medicine at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Columbia
Alessandra received her MD from the School of Medicine at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, graduating as Class Salutatorian. Following graduation, Alessandra completed one year of social service as a general practitioner in rural Colombia. She continued her studies in the United States, earning a Masters in clinical epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, while pursuing research in pancreatic and biliary disease with multiple contributions to the surgical literature. Alessandra’s clinical interests are gastrointestinal, pancreatobiliary and transplant surgery. She enjoys horseback riding, travelling, dancing and the FIFA World Cup.
Joanne Szewczyk, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Joanne’s hometown is Winchester, Tennessee. Joanne received her BS summa cum laude from Auburn University, majoring in Animal Science, where she was the Student Marshall for the College of Agriculture. She received her MD degree from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. As a medical student, Joanne taught anatomy, was a member of the Admissions Committee, and was a volunteer at Pegasus Horse Therapy Farm, working with both adults and children with disabilities. Joanne has worked as a surgical technician, both in a veterinary clinic and in human operating rooms. Her surgical interests include thoracic surgery and trauma. Joanne enjoys marathon running, competitive equestrian riding, hiking, and cooking.
Savas Tsikis, MD
University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine
Savas’s hometown is Rhodes, Greece. Savas received his BS summa cum laude at the University of Connecticut,majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and served as President of Habitat for Humanity. He received his MD from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, pursued a number of clinical research projects, and was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Savas is passionate about teaching and served as a peer educator for undergraduate and medical courses and developed basic science curriculum. He also served as Co-President of the Health Professions Exposure Program. His surgical interests include pediatric surgery and surgical oncology. Savas enjoys sailing, weight lifting, and traveling to new places.
Jacqueline Wade, MD
University of Vermont College of Medicine
Jacqueline grew up on a horse farm in New Hampshire and received her BS cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Biochemistry. At Mount Holyoke, Jacqueline received the Seven Sisters Student Athlete Award for academic excellence and an HHMI Research Fellowship. Prior to medical school, Jacqueline pursued research in oncology, served as a program coordinator for the Women’s Lung Cancer Program, and led a weekly science course at a local elementary school. Jacqueline received her MD from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where she continued to pursue her research interests in surgical oncology and breast cancer, received a Research Merit Award, and was elected AOA. Her surgical interests include Vascular Surgery And Surgical Oncology. Jacqueline enjoys squash, flag football, broomball, horseback riding, sailing and gardening.
Ashlyn Whitlock, MD
George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Ashlyn’s hometown is Jacksonville Florida. Ashlyn received her BA magna cum laude at Wake Forest University, majoring in Psychology. Throughout college, she worked in India as a health coordinator and teacher for the Fellowship Ashram Mission Rural School Program. Ashlyn received her MD with Distinction from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, with research interests in global health and underserved populations with publications on the Ugandan health system and income based barriers to bariatric surgery. She served as Vice President of Education for the Global Surgery Student Alliance, an Admissions Ambassador, and Class Honor Council Representative. Her surgical interests include global surgery. Ashlyn enjoys art, cooking, running, and traveling.
Lumeng Jenny Yu, MD
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Jenny’s hometown is Plainsboro, New Jersey. She is a graduate of the BA/MD program at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience. She was the recipient of the Rutgers University Tepper Scholarship, Rutgers University Academic Excellence Award, Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Excellence Award, Rutgers University James Dickson Carr Fellowship, and was an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In medical school, Jenny pursued research in the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, served on the Curriculum Committee, was on the board of the Healthy Living Task Force, and served as co-President of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. She is currently pursuing a research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital, studying angiogenesis and tissue regeneration, as well as intestinal failure associated liver disease. Her surgical interests include pediatric surgery and surgical oncology. Jenny enjoys cooking, baking, and reading.
Jennifer Li, MD
Integrated Vascular Surgery Resident
Icahn School of Medicine
Jennifer’s hometown is Monroeville, PA. Jennifer received her BS magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biology w/ Honors distinction in research. In college, she served as President of the Penn Music Mentoring Program and Co-President of the Penn Tae Kwon Do club, leading her team to first place in the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo League. Jennifer received her MD from the Icahn School of Medicine where she conducted both clinical and translational cardiovascular research and was the recipient of the MSTAR research award, NYSVS and SVS research awards, and Yankauer Scholarship. She also helped lead the student-run community health clinic. Her surgical interests are in vascular surgery, especially carotid imaging and micro-embolism research. Jennifer enjoys piano, hiking, and traveling.
Christina Marcaccio, MD
Integrated Vascular Surgery Resident
University of Pennsylvania
Christina is a native of Massachusetts and received her BA summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biology and Philosophy with election to Phi Beta Kappa. Christina received her MD from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as Vice President of the Agnew Surgical Society, Outreach Chair of the Elizabeth Blackwell Society, and coordinator at the Penn University City Hospitality Coalition clinic, providing care to the homeless. She also taught anatomy. Christina was awarded an NIH grant to investigate biomarkers in vascular disease and later studied the clinical outcomes of patients sustaining vascular trauma. She received the William T. Fitts Memorial Prize and the John Pryor Award for Trauma Research, and she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Her clinical interest is vascular surgery. She is an avid runner, cyclist, skier, and sports fan.