Untitled Page

Individualized Care and Outstanding Research Celebrated at Gallie Day

Ben Alman with painting

Ben Alman honoured at Gallie Day

The concept of personalized medicine is growing in popularity, as caregivers and researchers are starting to explore tailored therapies for individual cancers, and the use of individual patient genetics to predict disease severity and response to therapy. As surgeons, we are used to the concept of individualized care. Each time we operate, we make modifications to our approaches to take unique aspects of a patient into account. We also individualize decisions about surgical vs. non-surgical approaches to treatment, and the type of surgery we select, based in part on the risks and benefits, and on each patient’s values and individual attributes and circumstances. Building on this background, this year’s Gallie Day theme was “Making It Personal: Individualized Care in Surgery”.

Individualized treatment can be thought of in several ways, our symposium, in which several of the University faculty members participated, drew on these broad aspects of individualized surgery. Donald Redelmeier (Director, Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) provided a fascinating and thought provoking talk on how we make decisions in surgery. Michael Szego (Clinical Ethicist, Centre for Clinical Ethics, University of Toronto) spoke on the emerging ethical issues associated with whole genome sequencing, which are especially pertinent in the paediatric context. Steven Gallinger (Professor, Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital & Toronto General Hospital , University Health Network) spoke on a long term quest to identify why some patients are able to survive pancreatic cancer. Philippe Bedard (Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto; Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – University Health Network) spoke on a large scale effort to use molecular profiling of tumours to develop targeted chemotherapy. The group of speakers illustrated the high quality and broad range of ongoing academic work in Toronto related to Individualized surgery.

Alman Bradford and Neiderhuber

from left to right - Ben Alman, Rosalind Bradford, John E. Niederhuber


Syba Haykal receiving the Gallie-Batemen Awards 1 st prize

This year’s Gordon Murray Lecturer was John E. Niederhuber, MD (Executive Vice President, Inova Health System; CEO, Inova Translational Medicine Institute; CEO, Inova Comprehensive Cancer & Research Institute; Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, Baltimore, MD). Dr Niederhuber is a surgeon who served as the Director of the National Cancer Institute of the NIH from 2006-10, and was one of the early pioneers formulating the Cancer Genome Atlas. His lecture was on the importance of the tumor microenvironment in cancer progression.

We had a record number of abstracts submitted by trainees working with our faculty. There were 10 platform presentations and 60 poster presentations. The Gallie Bateman Awards (for Surgeon Scientist Training Program participants) and the McMurrich Awards (for any trainee working with a member of the faculty of surgery) were judged for both platform presentations and poster presentations. The array of diverse topics and researchers highlighted the wide-ranging and high quality research being conducted in our Department.

Because of the large number of abstracts, and the close scoring by the judges, there were a record number of awards given. The Gallie Bateman awards are given for work by a trainee in the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP). There was a tie for first place between Boris Zevin (Nicolas J. Dedy, Esther M. Bonrath, [supervisor: Teodor P. Grantcharov]), poster presentation entitled “Development and validation of a comprehensive simulation-enhanced training curriculum in bariatric surgery: A randomized controlled trial” and Siba Haykal (supervisors: Thomas K. Waddell, Stefan O. Hofer), oral presentation, entitled “Advances In tracheal tissue-engineering: Evaluation of the structural integrity, immunogenicity and recellularization of long-segment circumferential decellularized tracheal allografts for airway transplantation” receiving this award. Second place awards went to Marvin Hsiao (supervisors: Avery B. Nathens, Prabhat Jha) and Karineh Kazazian (Roland Xu, Francis Zih, Carla Rosario, [supervisor: Carol Swallow]). Third place awards went to Nir Lipsman (supervisor: Andres M. Lozano); Bheeshma Ravi (Ruth Croxford, Peter C. Austin, Lorraine Lipscombe, Arlene Bierman, Paula Harvey, [supervisor: Gillian Hawker]); and Jefferson R. Wilson (supervisor: Michael G. Fehlings).

The McMurrich Awards are presented for research by a trainee who is not in the Surgeon Scientist Training Program). The first place awards went to Stephen C. Mack, working under the supervision of Michael D. Taylor, and to Mushriq Al-Jazrawe, Shabana Amanda Ali, Gurpreet S. Baht, and Saber Ghadakzadeh working under the supervision of Benjamin Alman. The second place awards went to Heather Baltzer (supervisor: Paul Binhammer): Shahrzad Jalali, [supervisor: Gelareh Zadeh); Chung Ho Leung (supervisors: Christopher Caldarone, Ori D. Rotstein); Anton Mihic (supervisor: Ren-Ke Li); Kathryn Ottolino-Perry (supervisor: Andrea McCart); Jason S. Rockel (supervisors: Benjamin Alman and Gordon Keller): Linda Vi (supervisor: Benjamin Alman); and Bobby Yanagawa (supervisor Subodh Verma).

Nathens Rotstein

Avery Nathens receiving the Lister Prize from Ori Rotstein

Hanna Fazel

Wael Hanna receiving the Shafie Fazel Awrd from Natalie Fazel

Faculty research awards went to Carol-anne Moulton (Bernard Langer Surgeon Scientist Award) awarded to an outstanding graduate of the Surgeon Scientist Training Program in the Department, who shows the greatest promise for a career in academic surgery; Marc Jeschke (George-Armstrong Peters Prize) awarded to a young investigator who has shown outstanding productivity during his initial period as an independent investigator as evidenced by research publications in peer reviewed journals, grants held, and students trained; Michael G. Fehlings (Charles Tator Surgeon Scientist Mentoring Award) recognizing individual supervising participants in the SSTP who emulate Professor Tator’s excellence in research, commitment to SSTP mentoring and dedication to promotion of Surgeon-Scientists; Avery Nathens (Lister Prize) awarded to an investigator who has shown outstanding and continuing productivity of international stature as evidenced by research publications, grants held, students trained and other evidence of stature of the work produced.

Hagen Levine

John Hagen receiving the Tovee Postgraduate award from Ron Levine

Cusimano Christakis

Robert Cusimano receiving the Tovee Undergraduate Prize from George Christakis

The third Shafie Fazel Award was presented to Wael Hanna. Zane Cohen Clinical Fellowship was awarded to David Wasserstein. John Hagen received the Tovee Postgraduate Prize, and Robert J. (RJ) Cusimano received the Tovee Undergraduate Prize.

Benjamin Alman was honoured as he transitions from Surgery at U of T to Surgery at Duke University. Ben was awarded the Certificate of Appreciation. James Rutka also presented a painting called Pine Grove by Douglas Edwards, for Ben to remember his time in Toronto, and Dr. Rutka announced that the January University Research Rounds will be called the “Ben Alman Research Rounds”.

The 36 judges for the poster competition as well as the 13 timers, who volunteered their time for the poster judging process deserve special thanks, as well at the Research Committee members who reviewed and judged the oral presentations. The day could not have gone as well as it did without everyone’s participation and collaborative efforts. Thanks again this year to Andrea McCart for organizing the poster sessions, Cindi Morshead and Michael Tymianski for moderating the talks, and Sylvia Perry for making sure the day’s and evening’s preparations were complete. A very special thanks goes to Val Cabral (who was surprised with receiving the first STRAW award – representing the Vice Chairs of Research to date [Strasberg, Tator, OD Rotstein, Alman, Weisel]) for her incredible dedication and hard work to organize the Surgeon Scientist Training Program, and the day’s organization of Gallie Day.

Surgery staff

Department of Surgery staff- Stephanie Nielson, Sylvia Perry, Nancy Condo, and Val Cabral (front row)

As we were enjoying our meal, the entertainment by Emily Kruspe, violinist, and Emily Rho, pianist, added a great classical tone to the evening.

Val Cabral (with contributions from Ben Alman)

Skip Navigation Links