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Q & A

Andrew Baird, PhD

Q&A with Dr. Andrew Baird
UC San Diego's Andrew Baird, PhD, has spent most of his academic life pursuing research. Currently the Vice Chair for Research for the Department of Surgery, Baird's interest in research has led him to a position as chair of the University Committee on Research Policy (UCORP), which is a component of the University of California's Academic Senate. Here we talk with Prof. Baird about his life, how he got interested in UCORP and what he's gotten out of the board as both a member of the Department of Surgery, and as an individual.

Dr. Allison Berndston

Q&A with Dr. Allison Berndston
UC San Diego's Dr. Allison Berndtson has devoted much of her career to training and collaborating with surgeons and surgical care facilities around the world. Having a particular interest in global health, Dr. Berndtson – an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery – has provided education and clinical care in Ghana, Colombia, Haiti, India, Mexico and Mozambique, and was a founding member of the annual Abuja National Trauma Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr. Santiago Horgan

Q&A with Dr. Santiago Horgan
With the new expansion of the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS), we’re taking a moment for a retrospective and prospective look at the facility by way of a Q&A with CFS Director Santiago Horgan, MD. Learn how CFS has evolved since its creation in 2011, what sets it apart from other surgical training facilities and Dr. Horgan’s goals for CFS over the next decade and beyond.

Dr. Victor Pretorius

Q&A with Dr. Victor Pretorius
Here we interview Victor Pretorius, MBchB, surgical director of cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support at UC San Diego Health, to talk about how he and his team achieved these outcomes and how they plan to maintain their success moving forward.

Dr. Frederic Kolb

Q&A with Dr. Frederic Kolb
Here we interview Dr. Kolb about his interest in working with both plastics and wood, the future of plastic surgery and his first (or, it turns out, second) impressions of San Diego.

Dr. Andrew Lowy

Q&A with Andrew Lowy
In this interview with Dr. Lowy, he elaborates on his new role and vision for cancer surgery at UC San Diego. 

Alexander Khalessi, MD

Q&A with Jay Doucet
In this interview we chat with Dr. Doucet about the division’s current strengths, his vision for the future and the challenges of meeting San Diego’s needs as the only Level I Trauma Center in the region.

Alexander Khalessi, MD

Q&A with Alexander Khalessi
In this month’s Q&A, Neurosurgery Division Chief Alexander Khalessi, MD, explains the implications of SAH, the type of treatment Clarke received and the importance of receiving treatment at a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Amanda Gosman

Q&A with Amanda Gosman
Dr. Amanda Gosman—the recently named Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at UC San Diego—wears many hats. She serves as Director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery; as the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital; and also directs the Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Program, which provides disadvantaged children free reconstructive surgery. In this interview she discusses her hopes for the Division of Plastic Surgery in patient care, training and research; and shares the unlikely road that led her to medicine.

Bryan Clary

Q&A with Bryan Clary
In this interview, Dr. Bryan M. Clary, now in his 4th year as Chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego, answers questions from faculty, trainees, and alumni of the Department. Among them: what’s the best (and worst) part of being a chair; what is he most excited about clinically, in training, and in research; how can alumni help the Department (and how can the Department help them); and should UC San Diego Surgery have a Department band?

Tatiana Kisseleva

Q&A with Tatiana Kisseleva
Dr. Tatiana Kisseleva, a research scientist and expert in liver fibrosis, planned to be a liver surgeon before launching a career dedicated to full-time research. Since joining UC San Diego in 2007, her lab has focused on the characterization of the origin of fibrogenic myofibroblasts and identification of novel targets for anti-fibrotic therapy. In this interview, Dr. Kisseleva shares the journey that took her from Moscow to Germany, New York, and finally San Diego; discusses how her work on liver fibrosis extends to other surgical fields; and offers a taste of how scientific insights gleaned from her lab are translating into clinical practice.

Santiago Horgan

Q&A with Santiago Horgan
Santiago Horgan directs the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS) and is Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery. Before joining the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2006, Dr. Horgan was director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotic Surgery Department and co-director of the Swallowing Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also director of the Minimally Invasive Bariatric Center in Chicago. In this interview he talks about what led him to surgery, the ongoing expansion of the CFS, and why it’s important to be business-savvy when you’re a surgeon.

Mahmoud Malas

Q&A with Mahmoud Malas
Dr. Mahmoud Malas will begin as Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery in September 2018. One of the most active clinical trialists in the country in the field of vascular surgery—a field where the development and implementation of new technology is rapidly occurring—Dr. Malas will bring to UC San Diego 13 years of experience from the Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he directs the Center for Research Excellence and Surgical Trials. In this Q&A, Dr. Malas shares his hopes for the Division, as well as his thoughts on destiny and the path that led him to a career in vascular surgery.

Erik Owens

Q&A with Erik Owens
The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, with an annual budget of some $68 billion, and responsibility for overseeing delivery of care to more than 9 million veterans. But the VA has been under intense scrutiny in recent months: its leadership is in flux and it is still recovering from a 2014 scandal involving wait times at some facilities. In this Q&A, we talk with Dr. Erik Owens, Chief of Surgical Service at the San Diego VA Medical Center, and Professor of Vascular Surgery at UC San Diego, to understand the issues, get to know him personally, and hear his hopes for the future of the institution.

David Lazar

Q&A with David Lazar
Dr. David Lazar is a pediatric surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at UC San Diego. A graduate of UCSD’s general surgery residency program, he specializes in prenatal counseling and intervention; caring for children with thoracic and abdominal congenital anomalies; and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. In this interview, he talks about what it’s like to work with kids—and parents; shares new goings-on in the Division of Pediatric Surgery; and recounts the time he played black jack with former Department chair, Dr. A.R. Moossa.

Lisa Parry

Q&A with Lisa Parry
Lisa Parry is Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. In this interview, she discusses why she loves working with residents; innovations in robotic surgery; and dealing with fertility issues as a young female surgeon.

Kristin Mekeel

Q&A with Kristin Mekeel
Dr. Kristin Mekeel is Interim Chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary & Transplant Surgery, and Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation. Her team performed 85 kidney transplants in 2017—the most since 2010. In this interview, she discusses organ allocation reforms; strategies for increasing the pool of available organs and what it’s like to be a woman in surgery.

Gert Pretorius

Q&A with Gert Pretorius
Millions of people suffer from acute and chronic heart failure. In this interview, Dr. Gert Pretorius, Surgical Director of Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, discusses heart failure surgery innovations at UC San Diego, including expanding the donor pool by using the hearts of Hepatitis C-positive donors, thanks to highly effective Hepatitis C antivirals.

Bryan Clary

Q&A with Bryan Clary
Bryan Clary, MD, FACS, is Chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego. A nationally recognized specialist in diseases of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts, he was recruited in 2015, from Duke University where he served on faculty for 15 years. In this interview, he discusses challenges and opportunities ahead for the Department and the surgical field; and looks back on what shaped him as a surgeon, and what it was like to grow up in San Diego’s neighbor to the east, Imperial Valley.

Jeffrey Harris

Q&A with Jeffrey Harris
Jeffrey Harris, MD, PhD, is Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology / Head & Neck Surgery, the largest division in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego. In this interview, he reflects on his 38 years at UC San Diego, new happenings in the division—including a new center for acoustic neuroma; ethical dilemmas inherent in the surgical profession; and why he's optimistic about the future.

Raul Coimbra

Q&A with Raul Coimbra
Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized trauma surgeon who specializes in trauma, surgical critical care and acute care surgery. He is the surgeon-in-chief of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and the director of the UCSD Level 1 Trauma Center. In this interview he discusses global trauma care; the controversy surrounding the shooting and subsequent care of Rep. Steve Scalise, and how he and others built the UCSD Trauma Center.

Mark Whitehead

Q&A with Mark Whitehead
Mark Whitehead, PhD, is the chief of the Anatomy Division in UC San Diego's Department of Surgery. In this interview with Communications Director Lindsay Morgan, he discusses his research on neuroplasticity, and specifically how taste information is processed by the central nervous system; UC San Diego's dissection-based approach to anatomy education; and whether anatomy is being squeezed from the medical school curriculum?

Raul Coimbra

Q&A with Todd Costantini
Todd Costantini, MD FACS, is assistant director of UC San Diego Health's Level 1 Trauma Center, an assistant professor in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns and Acute Care Surgery, and an alum of the UC San Diego general surgery residency program and trauma/surgical critical care fellowship. In this interview, he discusses his ground-breaking research into ways to counteract organ-damaging inflammation; UCSD's Trauma Center and San Diego's unparalleled Trauma System; and how he balances teaching, clinical care, and teaching.

Sonia Ramamoorthy

Q&A with Sonia Ramamoorthy
Dr. Sonia Ramamoorthy is a nationally recognized colorectal surgeon who serves as the Chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery and as Vice-Chair of the Department for Quality and Safety. In this interview, she talks about what brought her to surgery; the innovations coming out of the UC San Diego's Department of Surgery in quality of care, robotics, and minimally invasive surgery, and shares what she'd do if she weren't a surgeon.