On January 27th, 2012, the Department of Surgery Strategic Planning Retreat was held at the University Club. Over 80 faculty, residents, and medical students participated in the event.  In the morning, presentations were delivered by Dean Catharine Whiteside, Dr. Robert Bell, Mr. Saad Rafi, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Dr. Jay Rosenfield, Vice Dean Undergraduate Medical Education, and Dr. Mark Bernstein.  Robert DiRaddo, Scientific Lead for the NeuroTouch Project at the National Research Council, delivered the Keynote Presentation entitled “Surgery in the 21st Century:  Innovations and Opportunities”.  In the afternoon, hot-topic items discussed included the Quality Agenda, by Dr. Kaveh Shojania; Duty Hours for Surgical Residents, by Dr. Kevin Imrie; Advances in Information Technology Health Care Platforms by Mr. Brent McGaw; and Relationships between Surgeons and Industry by Mr. Andy Williams.  During the day, break-out sessions took place for the six working groups who reported back with the key innovations and advancements that were identified.  We have entitled our Strategic Plan:  “Transforming Surgery:  Beyond the Cutting Edge”.  This title was selected because of our collective desire to take the Department of Surgery above and beyond where we have been in the past.  Ideally, we would like to see ourselves ranked in the top 5 programs in Surgery around the world.  The Retreat was a success, and I should like to thank our main consultant/facilitator, Helena Axler, for leading the charge at the Retreat, and our wonderful staff from the Banting, Nancy Condo, Sylvia Perry and Stephanie Neilson for making the day so eventful.  We will now be moving towards a draft document of the Strategic Plan that will be shared widely with all of you before finalization.  I look forward to receiving your many comments and suggestions in this regard. 

James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FRCSC


University Rounds - Kergin Lecture

“Development of a Multi-institutional Academic Surgery Practice: Mesothelioma Paradigm” 
David J. Sugarbaker, MD
Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgical Oncology
Harvard Medical School
Friday, February 3, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
Auditorium, Main Floor
Women’s College Hospital

Memorial Tribute for Dr. Abhijit Guha
Saturday, February 25, 2012, 1 – 3 p.m.
Trinity College Chapel
6 Hoskin Avenue
Trauma Association of Canada Annual Scientific Meeting
Dates: April 12 - 13, 2012
Location: The Hilton Toronto
Registration Information:
Gallie Day 2012
Gallie Day will be held on Friday May 4, 2012 at the MaRS Complex. Surgeon Scientist Program trainees, students and residents in research labs supervised by a surgical faculty member are invited to submit their manuscripts for the oral presentations or abstracts for poster presentations.
Deadline date for submissions is Friday March 2, 2012.

University Roundswere held on January 6th at Women’s College Hospital on the topic of “Making it Personal:  Personalized Genomics in Surgery”. Presentations were given by Peter Dirks, Neurosurgery, Steven Gallinger, General Surgery, and Lillian Siu, Medical Oncologist. 

Technology tool reshaping health care
Dr. John Semple, Women’s College Hospital, and colleagues have created a mobile, hand-held application which allows for the post-op evaluation of patients after surgical procedures.  With this app, patients simply take a photo of their surgical incision, and send it to their treating physician or team for analysis. It is hoped that this app will be of considerable value to all hospitals and health care groups in the near future.  Full article in the Globe and Mail, January 20th, 2012.

Minimally Invasive Surgery to Correct Hypertension
Dr. George Oreopolous, Vascular Surgery TGH, and team members from cardiology (Douglas Ing) and interventional radiology (Deeraj Rajan) performed Canada’s first endovascular renal denervation procedure to control hypertension on January 17, 2012. The full story is published on-line at the Toronto Star, January 18, 2012.

Stem Cell Transplantation for Congestive Heart Failure
Terrence Yau, Cardiac Surgery TGH, used stem cells harvested from the bone marrow of a patient undergoing cardiac surgery to treat the problem of congestive heart failure.  In this procedure, Dr Yau injected 2.83 million stem cells harvested on the same day as surgery, January 19th, 2012, into the damaged heart of the patient who had suffered a prior myocardial infarction.  The full story is found on line at the Toronto Star January 27th, 2012.

Dr. Kenneth Pace, Head, Division of Urology, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Ken Pace will assume the position of Division Head of Urology at St. Michael's Hospital effective next month as Dr. John Honey steps down. Ken is a superb advanced MIS surgeon with expertise in laparoscopic and robotic surgery and a scientist who is internationally renowned for his research work related to stone disease.


American Society for Peripheral Nerve Meeting Recognizes UofT
The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children has had a particularly fine showing at the recent meeting of the American Society for Peripheral Nerve in Las Vegas.  A total of six of the seventy-two free papers presented originated from members of the Division and their trainees.  Presenters were: Dr Tessa Gordon, one of three President’s Invited Lectures; Dr Tessa Gordon and Dr Howard Clarke had the two top-ranked abstracts; three of Dr. Borschel`s trainees including Dr. Matthew Wood, postdoctoral fellow, who won the Basic Science Research Trainee Award.
European Society for Paediatric Urology (ESPU) recognizes Bagli research
Darius Bagli and his lab have 7 accepted abstracts in the basic research program. In addition, the Division of Urology at The Hospital for Sick Children have 4 clinical papers accepted in a variety of topics.
Hockey Tournament
The Department of Surgery is organizing a hockey tournament March 31, 2012.  If you are interested in participating, please let Stephanie know at or 416-946-4003.  Teams will be formed on a Divisional basis.
Slo-pitch Tournament
The Department of Surgery will be hosting a slo-pitch tournament in the spring of 2012.  If you would be interested in signing up for this event, please let Stephanie know at or 416-946-4003. 
The following Continuing Appointment Reviews (CARs) took place this month under the leadership of Ori Rotstein, Associate Chair, Department of Surgery:
Carol-anne Moulton is a Scientist in the Wilson Centre, an Assistant Professor and Surgeon-Scientist in the Department of Surgery, and on Active Staff in the Division of General Surgery at the University Health Network.  She is a recipient of the Frank Mills Award for excellence in teaching in 2011.  Carol-anne currently holds grant awards from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Royal College of Surgeons, and the Physicians Services Incorporation.  Her research work in which she is well published includes an analysis of how surgeons self-regulate their performance in the operating room.

Tom Schweizer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery (Neurosurgery), Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre at St Michael's Hospital, and member of the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto.  His main area of research interest is directed at understanding the architecture and neural bases for human cognitive and real-world functioning using experimental cognitive paradigms, neuroimaging, and neuropsychology.  He currently supervises 14 students, and holds grant awards from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.  

Toni Zhong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery), and Surgeon-Investigator.  She earned her Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2011.  Her main research focus is in breast reconstruction after mastectomy.  In this area, she has numerous publications in the surgical oncology literature.  She currently holds grants from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons.


Lifetime Achievement Award
Maureen Dennis, Division of Neurosurgery, has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Neuropsychological Society.  This award is in recognition of a senior individual who has made a substantive independent contribution throughout their careers to research in the area of brain-behavior relationships.
OREF Young Investigator Grant
Paul R. Kuzyk, Clinical Associate, Division of Orthopaedics at Mount Sinai Hospital has received an OREF Young Investigator Grant.   
September 2011 CIHR Operating Grant Awards
Sean Cleary, General Surgery, UHN and research appointment at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and co-applicants received a 1 year grant from CIHR for their work entitled: The association of serum Vitamin D levels, genetic variants in vitamin D metabolism genes and pancreatic cancer risk.
Paolo Koeberle, Anatomy, received a 5 year grant from CIHR entitled: “Focal adhesion kinase: A pivotal factor in the degeneration and regeneration of adult CNS neurons”.
Ren-Ke Li and colleagues from UHN received a 3 year grant from CIHR entitled:  Ultrasound-targeted gene delivery to enhance cell engraftment in the aged heart after ischemic injury.
Ming-Yao Liu and colleagues from Thoracic Surgery UHN received a 5 year grant from CIHR entitled:  Acute lung injury: from cellular mechanisms to molecular therapies.
Tom Waddell, co-investigator, received a 5 year grant from CIHR entitled:   “Development of personalized immunotherapy to treat lung cancer using gamma-delta-T cells.
Gelareh Zadeh, Neurosurgery, received a 3 year grant from the CIHR for her grant entitled: Role of bone marrow derived progenitor cells in brain tumor neovascularization.

Bouffet E, Hawkins CE, Balloura W, Taylor MD, Bartels UK, Schoenhoff N, Tsangaris E, Huang A, Kulkarni A, Mabbot DJ, Laperriere N, Tabori U.  Survival benefit for pediatric patients with recurrent ependymoma treated with reirradiation.  International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics. January 13, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Gruenwald CE, Manlhiot C, Abadilla AA, Kwok J, Maxwell S, Holtby HM, Brandão LR, Chan AK, Crawford-Lean L, Foreman C, Caldarone CA, Van Arsdell GS, McCrindle BW.  Heparin brand is associated with postsurgical outcomes in children undergoing cardiac surgery.  The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. January  4, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Hickey EJ, Caldarone CA, McCrindle BW.  Left ventricular hypoplasia a spectrum of disease involving the left ventricular outflow tract, aortic valve, and aorta.  Journal of the American College of Cardiology. January 3, 2012.  59(1 Suppl):S43-54.
Hickey EJ, Veldtman G, Bradley TJ, Gengsakul A, Webb G, Williams WG, Manlhiot C, McCrindle BW.  Functional health status in adult survivors of operative repair of tetralogy of fallot.  American Journal of Cardiology. January 12, 2012 [Epub ahead of print]
Hill AD, Fowler RA, Nathens AB.  Impact of interhospital transfer on outcomes for trauma patients: A systematic review.  Journal of Trauma.  71(6):1885-1901, 2011.
Ibrahim GM, Macdonald RL.  Letter to the Editor regarding: Method of aneurysm treatment does not affect clot clearance after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Neurosurgery. January 18, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Kraft R, Herndon DN, Al-Mousawi AM, Williams FN, Finnerty CC,  Jeschke MG.  Burn size and survival probability in paediatric patients in modern burn care: a prospective observational cohort study.  The Lancet.  January 31, 2012.  [Epub ahead of print]
Original Text
Macdonald RL.  Editorial: On the persisting difficulty of making predictions, especially about the future.  Journal of Neurosurgery.  January 13, 2012.  Epub ahead of print]
Macdonald RL.  Shunts and aneurysms.  World Neurosurgery. 76(6):520-521, 2012.   
Margel D, Bostrom P, Baniel J, Yossepowitch O, Zlotta A, Fleshner N.  External validation of a biomarker based pre-cystectomy algorithm to predict nonorgan confined urothelial cancers.  Journal of Urology. January 13, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Passos EM, Engels PT, Doyle JD, Beckett A, Nascimento B Jr, Rizoli SB, Tien HC.  Societal costs of inappropriate emergency department thoracotomy.  Journal of the American College of Surgeons 214:18-24, 2012
Sahgal A, Soliman H, Larson DA.  Whole-brain radiation therapy of brain metastasis.  Prog Neurol Surg.  25:82-95, 2012. Epublished January 6, 2012.
Tsang E, Hamani C, Moro E, Mazzella F, Lozano AM, Yeh IJ, Chen R.  Prominent 5-18 Hz oscillations in the pallidal-thalamic circuit in a patient with secondary hemi-dystonia. Neurology, January 24, 2012.
Wan H, Loch Macdonald R.  Circulatory and vascular changes after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences.  55(4):329-341, 2011
Have a new high impact paper in press or published?  Let us know at
For further information on divisional events, please go to the Surgery Bulletin Board