I welcome all of you to the new Academic Year in the Department of Surgery, 2011-12!  Once again, I am delighted to be leading the Department of Surgery this year as the RS McLaughlin Chair.  This year, we will be moving ahead with numerous new initiatives and projects — the two most important of which are strategic planning, and the accreditation of our Medical School at the University of Toronto.
We will develop our Strategic Plan through a process of broad consultation with and engagement of our faculty, residents, medical students and fellows.  There will be numerous stakeholder meetings throughout the fall and early winter with a focus on several key areas including education, research, faculty development, and best practices, to name a few.  Earlier this month, all of you received a survey regarding the future directions of the Department of Surgery, and I thank you for your participation in the survey.  Assisting us with the planned roll out of the Strategic Plan are Dr. Bryce Taylor, and facilitator, Helena Axler.  Once formed, our Strategic Plan will become the blueprint for the future of the Department of Surgery for the next 5 years.   Once again, if any of you wish to be involved in the strategic planning process, please do not hesitate to let me know.
As for Accreditation of the Medical School, this is a process that takes place once every eight years. The University of Toronto will be reviewed by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS), in conjunction with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in the United States.  These two Committees will be reviewing defined accreditation standards such as institutional setting, educational program for the MD degree, medical students, faculty, and educational resources.  For us in the Department of Surgery, it is critical that we ensure that our medical students receive the very best education in surgery, both in terms of the didactic curriculum and their clinical experience on the wards, in the clinics, and in the operating room. 
I look forward to working with all of you to enhance the stature of the Department nationally, and globally.
James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FRCSC


University Rounds
October 14, 2011
7:30 a.m.
Bigelow Lecture
Dr. Sid Levitsky, David W. and David Cheever Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School

"Healthcare Inflation: Evidenced Based Medicine vs. The Medical-Industrial Complex"

McLaughlin Auditorium, EG61, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Future University Rounds
November 4, 2011
Presentations by winners of Lister & George Armstrong-Peters Prizes
Mount Sinai Hospital


1. Newsworthy Items
2. Honours and Awards

3. High-Impact Papers Published


Newsworthy Items
Annual Address
On September 7th, 2011, Dr. Rutka delivered the Annual Address in the Department of Surgery at the Li Ka Shing Centre at St. Michael's Hospital.  He spoke of the recent appointments in the Executive Committee in the Department of Surgery, administrative changes in the Banting Office, ongoing searches, promotions, and external honours, awards and grants.  Presentations were given by Dr. David Latter on education at the medical student, resident and fellow levels, and by Dr. Nir Lipsman who spoke about his experience in the Surgeon Scientist Program.  For those of you unable to attend the Annual Address this year, you can see the powerpoint presentation online on the Departmental website at:

Ross Tilley Burn Centre Receives ABS Verification
The Ross Tilley Burn Centre, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has been verified as an adult burn centre after a site visit in June 2011.  Toronto now becomes the sole designated verified burn centre as sanctioned by the ABS in all of Canada.  Special thanks are given to Dr. Marc Jeschke and his team for this wonderful accomplishment.

New Appointments to the Department of Surgery

Professor Ivan Silver, Vice Dean Continuing Education and Professional Development has accepted the position of Vice President, Education at the Centre for Addiction andMental Health (CAMH).  Professor Dimitri Anastakis will be Interim Vice Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development until June 30, 2012 or until a new Vice Dean is appointed.

Dr. Anand Govindarajan, Surgical Oncologist, has joined the Division of General Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital. He did a 2 year Fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and specializes in the management of peritoneal malignancy and other advanced gastrointestinal cancers. 

Dr. Paul Karanicolas, Surgical Oncologist, has joined the Division of General Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  He did his Fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and his specialty is in hepatopancreatobiliary surgical oncology. 

Dr. Manuel Dibildox has joined the staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre as a Surgeon-Investigator working in the Ross Tilley Burn Centre as a member of the Division of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery.  He did fellowships in surgical critical care as well as burn and reconstructive surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas.

Dr. Marcelo Cypel has joined the Division of Thoracic Surgery at UHN in the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine.  He did a research fellowship at the Latner Thoracic Surgery Laboratory and then went on to do a clinical fellowship in thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery and lung transplantation at the Toronto General Hospital.  His areas of clinical interest include lung transplantation, extracorporeal life support and thoracic oncology.

Dr. Martin Koyle has joined the The Hospital for Sick Children as Professor and Program Head for the Division of Urology.  He was previously Division Chief at Seattle Children's and the University of Washington.  Dr. Koyle is known for his innovations and contributions, specifically in the fields of pediatric urology and transplantation.  He has sat on the executive of several urology societies.  

Dr. Tony Moloney has joined the Division of Vascular Surgery at St. Michael's Hospital after completing a 2-year  Fellowship at St. Michael's Hospital and the Toronto General Hospital.  His clinical interests include open vascular and endovascular surgery and interventional radiology.  Special interests are complex aortic pathology, type B aortic dissections and vascular trauma.  

Undergraduate Medical Education

Having served as Director of Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) in the Department of Surgery for 7 years, Dr. David Backstein has stepped down from this position to focus on his academic position as Head of the Division of Orthopaedics at Mount Sinai Hospital.  We take this opportunity to thank David sincerely for his tireless efforts and devotion to undergraduate medical education, and for putting into place a new curriculum for our students.  Following a city-wide search this summer, I am pleased to report to you that Dr. George Christakis has been appointed as the new Director of UME.  George is a Professor of Cardiac Surgery with a longstanding devotion to undergraduate education.  

Assisting Dr. Christakis with the UME program will be pre-clerkship co-ordinator, Dr. Ron Kodama, and newly appointed UME Co-ordinator, Mr. Shibu Thomas.  Shibu is following in the footsteps of Mrs. Carmela Calorendi who served capably in this role for 22 years.  We would like to thank Carnela sincerely for her many years of service to the Department, and for assisting with the education of countless hundreds of medical students over those years.


Stephanie Neilson has joined the Department of Surgery as Communications and Web Co-ordinator.  Stephanie comes to us from the Division of Neurosurgery.  Anyone wishing assistance with their website, please contact her at 416-946-4003 or at 

Honours and Awards
Dr. John Murnaghan in the Division of Orthopaedics at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 RCPSC/AMS Donald Richards Wilson Award.   

Dr. Paul Karanicolas in the Division of General Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has received funding from Colon Cancer Canada ($50,000) for his work entitled "Quality of Life Following Resection of Colorectal Cancer"

Selected High-Impact Papers Published
Amini-Nik S, Glancy D, Boimer C, Whetstone H, Keller C, Alman BA: Pax7 Expressing cells contribute to dermal wound repair:  Regulating scar size through a beta-catenin mediated process. Stem Cells 2011: 29(9): 1371-1379.
Hsu S-HC, Zhang X, Yu C, Li ZJ, Wunder JS, Hui CC, Alman BA: Kif7 promotes hedgehog signaling in growth plate chondrocytes by restricting the inhibitory function of Sufu. Development 2011: 138(17): 3791-3801.
Sonnadara RR, Van Vliet A, Safir O, Alman BA, Ferguson P, Kraemer W, Reznick R: Orthopaedic boot camp: Examining the effectiveness of an intensive surgical skills course. Surgery.  2011: 149(6): 745-749.
Witt H, Mack SC, Ryzhova M, Bender S, Sill M, Isserlin R, Benner A, Hielscher T, Milde T, Remke M, Jones DT, Northcott PA, Garzia L, Bertrand KC, Wittmann A, Yao Y, Roberts SS, Massimi L, Van Meter T, Weiss WA, Gupta N, Grajkowska W, Lach B, Cho YJ, von Deimling A, Kulozik AE, Witt O, Bader GD, Hawkins CE, Tabori U, Guha A, Rutka JT, Lichter P, Korshunov A, Taylor MD, Pfister SM.  Delineation of two clinically and molecularly distinct subgroups of posterior fossa ependymoma.  Cell. 2011 Aug 16;20(2):143-57.
Knudson MM, Gomez D, Haas B, Cohen MJ, Nathens AB. Three Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty-Eight Posttraumatic Pulmonary Emboli: A New Look At an Old Disease. Ann Surg. 2011 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21869675.
Ingraham AM, Cohen ME, Raval MV, Ko CY, Nathens AB. Variation in quality of care after emergency general surgery procedures in the elderly. J Am Coll Surg. 2011 Jun;212(6):1039-48. PubMed PMID: 21620289.
Bawa R, Fung S, Shiozaki A, Yang H, Zheng G, Keshavjee S, Liu M. Self-assembling peptide based nanoparticles enhance cellular delivery of the hydrophobic anticancer drug ellipticine through caveolin-dependent endocytosis. Nanomedicine 2011 Aug 31. 
Han JS, Abou-Hamden A, Mandell DM, Poublanc J, Crawley AP, Fisher JA, Mikulis DJ, Tymianski M.    Impact of Extracranial-Intracranial Bypass on Cerebrovascular Reactivity and Clinical Outcome in Patients With Symptomatic Moyamoya Vasculopathy. Stroke 2011 Sep 8.