It has been a great pleasure to work with George Christakis, Director, and Shibu Thomas, Co-ordinator of Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) towards improving the curriculum for the year 3 medical students beginning with adjustments in the content and timing of the lectures in the “crash course”, and with the solidification of their clinical experiences on site at each of the hospitals.  This effort has also required significant involvement of our faculty for which I am truly grateful.  This past year, we have also implemented a number of new initiatives to provide further exposure of medical students in years 1 and 2 to a potential career in surgery.  Recently, Carol-Anne Moulton and Ron Levine held a “Life in Surgery” evening event at the Faculty Club for the medical students in all years to learn about how to achieve family and work balance in a career in surgery.  For this event, many of the participating faculty brought their children to speak to the medical students about what it was like growing up in the home of a surgeon.  This month, we held a “Suturing Workshop” for medical students in which years 1 and 2 students purchased suture kits, subsidized in part by the Department of Surgery, and learned the art and practice of tying surgical knots, and closing surgical wounds on a simulation model.  Special thanks are given to medical students, Nada Gawad and Konrad Salata, for their help in organizing this workshop, and to the many faculty who participated in making this workshop so successful.  Most of the Divisions have been attending the Student Surgical Skills Development (S3D) Group evenings in which representatives of the Divisions attend the dinner or lunch events, and speak to the medical students about a career as a surgical subspecialist.  I should like to thank Sarah Beech in particular who is the medical student at UofT who has helped us organize these seminars.  Sarah has also been involved in providing exposure to medical students wishing to practice basic surgical skills on model systems.  This summer, we will be assisting with the Surgery Exploration and Discovery (SEAD) course which will provide medical students with an opportunity to learn more about the careers of the different subspecialties in surgery.  Special thanks are once again given to Nada Gawad who has organized this course for the students with our support.  Finally, I have begun a “Breakfast with the Chairman” initiative in which I meet with the medical students at the Banting Institute over breakfast to provide information to them about career paths in surgery, and to answer their many questions.  It has been a distinct pleasure for me to see the various new offerings we are supporting in the Department of Surgery for our medical students.  Our strong hope is that we can encourage many more of them to contemplate lives and careers in surgery upon graduation.  To this end, over the next 5 years, we will be tracking the courses of our graduating medical students to see if we have made a difference in this regard.

James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FRCSC 
RS McLaughlin Chair 


Harland Smith Lecture (University Rounds)

Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 7 - 9 a.m.
Auditorium, 2nd Floor, West Wing,
Toronto Western Hospital

K. Daniel Riew, MD 
Mildred B. Simon, Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Chief, Cervical Spine Surgery
Washington University Orthopedics
Professor, Neurological Surgery

"Anatomical Considerations in Cervical Spine Surgery"

John Palmer Lecture (University Rounds)
April 13, 2012, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Hollywood Theatre, 1st Floor, Elm Street Wing,
The Hospital for Sick Children
Michael Choti, MD
The Jacob C. Handelsman Professor of Surgery, and Chief of the Handelsman Division of Surgical Oncology
Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins,

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 Rounds were held on February 3rd at Women’s College Hospital.  Dr. David Sugarbaker, Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Brigham & Women’s Hospital spoke on “Development of a Multi-institutional Academic Surgery Practice: Mesothelioma Paradigm”.  


Department of Surgery Suturing Workshop for Medical Students
This past month, almost 250 year 1 and 2 medical students purchased suture tying kits (subsidized in part by the Department of Surgery), and attended one of several suture tying workshops held at the Medical Sciences Building on campus.  During the workshops, the students learned how to tie one-hand surgical knots, and to perform instrument-assisted ties on simulated wound models.  Special thanks are given to medical students Nada Gawad and Konrad Salata for their help organizing these workshops, and to all the faculty who assisted with training the medical students in these surgical skills. 

On the Genetic Origins of Metastases in Human Medulloblastoma
This month, Michael Taylor, Division of Neurosurgery, the Hospital for Sick Children, and colleagues published a report in Nature on the genetic origins of metastases in pediatric medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumour.  Using high throughput and ultra-high resolution genetic mapping and DNA sequencing techniques, Michael showed that the metastatic tumours had new mutations which were not part of the original or primary tumours.  His study suggests that neurosurgeons may wish to consider biopsying the metastases now given the fact that they harbor different genetic lesions, and are likely best treated with different strategies than the primary tumour.  We congratulate Michael and his team for this major accomplishment.  The impact factor of Nature is 36.1.
Calvin Law appointed to Head of Surgical Oncology, Sunnybrook
Dr. Calvin Law has been appointed as Head of Surgical Oncology at the Odette Cancer Centre, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  Dr. Law currently holds the Hanna Family Research Chair in Surgical Oncology at the University of Toronto and also serves as an Adjunct Scientist for the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
Helen Macrae Takes Lead as Colorectal Surgery Program Director
Dr. Helen Macrae has been appointed as the Colorectal Surgery Program Director and has taken over from Dr. Marcus Burnstein who has served in this capacity for the last 16 years.

Natalie Coburn Assumes Head of Division of General Surgery, Sunnybrook
Natalie Coburn has been appointed Head of the Division of General Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  Dr. Coburn has also taken on the role of Clinical Leader for Quality and Patient Safety in the Division of General Surgery.
A World First – Day Surgery for Cerebral Aneurysms
Dr. Michael Tymianski, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital received attention from the Globe and Mail for his success in performing outpatient craniotomy for cerebral aneurysms through a minimally invasive approach.  The full story is found on line at the Globe and Mail, February 22, 2012.
Redefining Complex and ‘Hopeless’ Cancer Surgery
Dr. Ian McGilvray, Divison of General Surgery, member of the multi-organ transplant program at the Toronto General Hospital, was featured in the Toronto Star February 24, 2012, for his groundbreaking work operating on patients with advanced liver cancer.  With his technique, the cancer is removed while the organ remains inside the patient, using a modified “ex vivo” approach.
Speedy Surgery Lessens Chance of Paralysis in Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
Dr. Michael Fehlings, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital was lead author on a report published in PLoS One demonstrating that patients with spinal injuries are twice as likely to have major neurological recoveries if operated on within 24 hours of injury.  The full story is found on line at the Toronto Star, February 23, 2012.
Appointment of Chair, Department of Medical Imaging
Professor Alan Moody has been appointed as Chair of the Department of Medical Imaging in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.  Dr. Moody is Radiologist in Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an associate scientist within the Imaging Research Discipline of the Sunnybrook Research Institute as part of the Schulich Heart Research program. 

Shafie S. Fazel Outstanding Resident Surgeon and Investigator Award in memory of Dr. Shafie S. Fazel, an outstanding resident within the Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Toronto.  The award will be presented annually to a senior resident in his or her last year of training within the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments during their residency both as a surgeon and as an investigator.  Each division within the Department of Surgery will be asked to submit the name of one potential candidate. Nominations must be accompanied by a letter of support from the division’s Program Director, outlining how the nominee meets the criteria. The deadline for submission of nominations is March 31, 2012.  The award will consist of a monetary prize in the amount of $1000.00, along with a plaque bearing the name of Dr. Shafie S. Fazel.  
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 s.neilson@utoronto.caor 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 s.neilson@utoronto.caor 416-946-4003.  
The following Continuing Appointment Reviews (CARs) took place this month under the leadership of Ori Rotstein, Associate Chair, Department of Surgery:

Clement Hamani
Clement joined the neurosurgical faculty at the Toronto Western Hospital as an Assistant Professor in 2008 having performed his neurosurgical training in Sao Paulo Brazil.  He is a Surgeon-Scientist studying the effects of deep brain stimulation on neuropsychiatric diseases.  He has attained over $1 Million in research funds from national granting agencies, and has over 90 peer reviewed publications to his credit.  He is now actively engaged in a number of translational research studies at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Rebecca Gladdy
Rebecca is an Assistant Professor in General Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, and a Surgeon-Scientist in the Department of Surgery.  She has been developing novel mouse models of soft tissue sarcomas, and involved in clinical/translational research projects studying the role of novel therapeutic agents against sarcomas.  Rebecca did a Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City prior to beginning her staff appointment in 2008.  She is funded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and the American Surgical Association.

Armando Lorenzo
Armando is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric General Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children.  During his early faculty appointment, he obtained a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation.  He has over 75 peer reviewed publications primarily in the urology literature.  As a Surgeon-Investigator, he has plans to create a fertility preservation program for pre-pubertal oncology patients, and to use intra-vesical botulinum toxin for patients with neurogenic bladder. 

CIHR Operating Grant Awards to Toni Zhong and Stefan Hofer
Congratulations to Drs. Toni Zhong and Stefan Hofer (UHN) for their CIHR Knowledge Translation Research Grant entitled "Development of a Decision Support Tool in Post-Mastectomy Breast Reconstruction Surgery" with co-investigators Kelly Metcalfe and David McCready.  In addition, Toni was also successful with a CIHR Planning Grant entitled "Patient-Reported Outcomes in International Surgical Reconstruction Missions".
New Investigator Recognition Award, Orthopaedic Research Society
Dr. Diane Nam was one of ten to receive a New Investigator Recognition Award at the recent meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society.
CEO Award of Excellence in Public Relations
Dr. Robert Bell, CEO of the University Health Network was the recipient of the 2011-2012 Award of Excellence in Public Relations presented by The Canadian Public Relations Society. 

Arno A, Barret JP, Harrison RA, Jeschke MG.  Face Allotransplantation and Burns: A Review.  Journal of Burn Care Research, January 23, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Brandt MG, Hassa A, Roth K, Wehrli B, Moore CC.  Biomechanical Properties of the Facial Retaining Ligaments.  Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, February  20, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Chahal J, Marks PH, Macdonald PB, Shah PS, Theodoropoulos J, Ravi B, Whelan DB.  Anatomic Bankart Repair Compared With Nonoperative Treatment and/or Arthroscopic Lavage for First-Time Traumatic Shoulder Dislocation.  Arthroscopy, February 14, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Cordeiro P, Snell L, Heerdt A, McCarthy C.  Immediate Tissue Expander/Implant Breast Reconstruction after Salvage Mastectomy for Cancer Recurrence following Lumpectomy/Irradiation.  Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery,129(2):341–350, 2012
Dubrowski A, Brydges R, Satterthwaite L, Xeroulis G, Classen R.  Do not teach me while I am working! American Journal of Surgery.  203(2):253-7, 2012
Etame AB, Diaz RJ, O'Reilly MA, Smith CA, Mainprize TG, Hynynen K, Rutka JT.
Enhanced delivery of gold nanoparticles with therapeutic potential into the brain using MRI-guided focused ultrasound.  Nanomedicine. February 17, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Fattah A,  Borschel GH, Manktelow RT, Bezuhly M, Zuker, RM.  Facial palsy and reconstruction.  Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:129(2):340e–352e.  February 2012
Fehlings MG, Smith JS, Kopjar B, Arnold PM, Yoon ST, Vaccaro AR, Brodke DS, Janssen ME, Chapman JR, Sasso RC, Woodard EJ, Banco RJ, Massicotte EM, Dekutoski MB, Gokaslan ZL, Bono CM, Shaffrey CI.  Perioperative and delayed complications associated with the surgicaltreatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy based on 302 patients from the AOSpine North America Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Study.  Journal of Neurosurgery, Spine. February 10, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Griffin AM, Ferguson PC, Catton CN, Chung PW, White LM, Wunder JS, Bell RS, O'Sullivan B.  Long-term outcome of the treatment of high-risk tenosynovial giant cell tumor/pigmented villonodular synovitis with radiotherapy and surgery.  Cancer. January 26, 2012. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26529. [Epub ahead of print]
Gunton MJ, Carey JL, Shaw CR, Murnaghan ML.  Drilling Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans: Retro- or Transarticular?  Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. January 25, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Gupta M, Singh N, Tsigoulis M, Kajil M, Hirjikaka S, Quan A, Teoh H, Verma S.
Perceptions of canadian primary care physicians towards cardiovascular risk assessment and lipid management.  Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 28(1):14-9, 2012.
Haas B, Xiong W, Brennan-Barnes M, Gomez D, Nathens AB.  Overcoming barriers to population-based injury research: development and validation of an ICD10-to-AIS algorithm.  Canadian Journal of Surgery. 55(1):21-6, 2012.
Hickey EJ, McCrindle BW, Larsen SH, Benson L, Manlhiot C, Caldarone CA, Van Arsdell GS, McCrindle BM, Williams WG.  Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Childhood: Disease Natural History, Impact of Obstruction, and Its Influence on Survival.  Annals of Thoracic Surgery. January 25, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Jeschke MG, Finnerty CC, Herndon DN, Song J, Boehning D, Tompkins RG, Baker HV, Gauglitz GG.  Severe injury is associated with insulin resistance, endoplasmic reticulum stress response, and unfolded protein response.  Annals of Surgery. 255(2):370-8, 2012.
Kuzyk PR, Zdero R, Shah S, Olsen M, Waddell JP, Schemitsch EH. Femoral Head Lag Screw Position for Cephalomedullary Nails: A Biomechanical Analysis.  Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. February 11, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Macdonald RL, Hunsche E, Schüler R, Wlodarczyk J, Mayer SA.  Stroke. 2012 0
External validation of a biomarker based pre-cystectomy algorithm to predict nonorgan confined urothelial cancers.  Journal of Urology. 187(3):840-844, 2012. E-published January 15, 2012.
McKee RC, McKee MD.  Complex fractures of the proximal ulna: the critical importance of the coronoid fragment.  Instructional Course Lectures. 61:227-233, 2012.
Nauth A, Schemitsch EH.  Stem cells for the repair and regeneration of bone.
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. 46(1):19-21, 2012.
Nousiainen MT, Latter DA, Backstein D, Webster F, Harris KA.  Surgical fellowship training in Canada: What is its current status and is improvement required?  Canadian Journal of Surgery.  55(1):58-65, 2012.
Sandhu L, Sandroussi C, Guba M, Selzner M, Ghanekar A, Cattral MS, McGilvray ID, Levy G, Greig PD, Renner EL, Grant DR. Living Donor Liver Transplantation Versus Deceased Donor Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Comparable Survival and Recurrence. Liver Transplantation. 18:315-322, 2012.
Sato M, Hwang DM, Ohmori-Matsuda K, Chaparro C, Waddell TK, Singer LG, Hutcheon MA, Keshavjee S. Revisiting the pathologic finding of diffuse alveolar damage after lung transplantation.Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. February 11, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Schweizer TA, Al-Khindi T, Loch Macdonald R.  Diffusion tensor imaging as a surrogate marker for outcome after perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. February 6, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Schweizer TA, Al-Khindi T, Macdonald RL.  Mini-Mental State Examination versus Montreal Cognitive Assessment: Rapid assessment tools for cognitive and functional outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Journal of the Neurological Sciences. January 24, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Turker P, Bostrom PJ, Wroclawski ML, van Rhijn B, Kortekangas H, Kuk C, Mirtti T, Fleshner NE, Jewett MA, Finelli A, Kwast TV, Evans A, Sweet J, Laato M, Zlotta AR.  Upstaging of urothelial cancer at the time of radical cystectomy: factors associated with upstaging and its effect on outcome.  BJU International. February 9, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
Wang CY, Wei Q, Han I, Sato S, Azarnier RG, Whetstone H, Poon R, Hu J, Zheng F, Zhang P, Wang W, Wunder JS, Alman BA.  Hedgehog and notch signaling regulate self-renewal of undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas.  Cancer Reseach.  72(4):1013-1022, 2012. E-published January 9, 2012.
Wu X, Northcott PA, Dubuc A, Dupuy AJ, Shih DJH, Witt H, Croul S, Bouffet E, Fults DW, Eberhart CG, Garzia L, Van Meter T, Zagzag D, Jabado N, Schwartzentruber J, Majewski J, Scheetz TE, Pfister SM, Korshunov A, Li X-N, Scherer SW, Cho Y-J, Akagi K, MacDonald TJ, Koster J, McCabe MG, Sarver AL, Collins VP, Weiss WA, Largaespada DA, Collier LS, Taylor MD.  Clonal selection drives genetic divergence of metastatic medulloblastomaNature.  482: 529–533, 2012. doi:10.1038/nature10825  Published online  February 15, 2012
Yap SA, Alibhai SM, Abouassaly R, Timilshina N, Finelli A.
Do we continue to unnecessarily perform ipsilateral adrenalectomy at the time of radical nephrectomy? A population based study.Journal of Urology. 187(2):398-404, 2012. E-published December 15, 2011.
Zlotta AR, Nam RKZlotta AR, Nam RK.  To Biopsy or Not to Biopsy-Thou Shall Think Twice.  European Urology. February 7, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]
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