Surgery Research Fellowship

About the Fellowship

The Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery Research lasts from one to three years, and is open to general surgery residents who have completed the second or third year of residency. It’s designed for those who wish to focus exclusively on basic science or research projects. Fellows in this program generally do not take on any clinical responsibilities, although they are expected to provide night call coverage on occasion.

How to Apply 

Send your CV and letters of recommendation to Dr. Kasper Wang via email

Program Fast Facts

ACGME Accredited: No
Fellows per year: 1-4
Application Deadline: October 31
Duration: 2 - 3 years
Postgraduate Training Required: Yes, must have completed at least 2 years of general surgery clinical residency and be enrolled in a general surgery residency program
U.S. Citizenship Required: Yes
Salary Minimums:
First year fellow: $63,344
Second year fellow: $65,018
Third year fellow: $67,225
Benefits Include: Health and dental insurance, 14 days paid vacation + 6 personal days, and yearly educational stipend

Program Descriptions

  • PI: Kasper Wang
  • PI: Tracy Grikscheit
  • PI: Lorraine Kelley-Quon
  • PI: Christopher Gayer

Research Description

Biliary atresia (BA) is the most common cause of end-stage liver failure and the leading indication for liver transplantation in children. Even with establishing successful biliary drainage in infants with BA, continued and aggressive progression of liver fibrosis towards cirrhosis is extremely common. Thus, there is a great need to understand the fibrogenic process associated with biliary atresia.  We have published our observations that BA is associated with the expansion of a population of hepatic progenitor cells expressing Prominin-1 (Prom1) within areas of evolving liver fibrosis and proliferation of intrahepatic biliary ductular reactions (Mavila, Hepatology 2014). We have observed a strong correlation between expression of PROM1 in humans with the genes associated with liver fibrosis and in a mouse model of BA, knockout of Prom1 is associated with decreased fibrosis (Zagory, Hepatology 2019). Hence, we hypothesize that Prom1 plays an important functional role in liver fibrosis. Our lab is focused on further understanding mechanistically how Prom1 promotes fibrosis and how important it is within the context of liver fibrogenesis in general. Prior experience in the lab is not required. We will teach and mentor you with the expectation that you will mature your critical thinking as a scientist by the end of a minimum two-year minimum commitment.

Research Description

The focus of our research is regenerative medicine and tissue engineering at The Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We transplant intestinal organoid units and other stem-cell containing units with resulting engineered tissue that has been harvested and characterized, comprising portions of the entire gastrointestinal tract, liver, spleen, and lung. We encourage fellows to commit two years to this research program in order this research program in order to maximize productivity. Clinical opportunities include conference attendance as well as call on the pediatric surgical service.

Research Description

The Health Outcomes and Policy Effects (HOPE) Lab at CHLA aims to create knowledge that directly translates to policy level interventions to improve pediatric health.  We work with several large administrative and clinical datasets (Office of Statewide Health and Planning Development (OSHPD),  Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), and the Pediatric National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP Peds)) putting our group in the unique position to answer meaningful clinical questions using diverse data resources. We also partner with the Western Pediatric Surgical Research Consortium (WPSRC) to conduct multi-institutional research among 9 free standing children’s hospitals in the Western United States.  In addition, we are running several clinical projects at CHLA exploring opioid use in children and adolescents after surgery and often collaborate with the Institute for Addiction Science at USC. We encourage fellows to commit two years to this research program in order to maximize productivity. Clinical opportunities include conference attendance as well as call on the pediatric surgical service.

Research Description

Our lab focuses on intestinal inflammatory injury and recovery and the role of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) in these processes. FXR is a key bile acid receptor that influences the intestinal epithelial barrier. While activation of FXR seems to be beneficial in chronic injury models of the intestine, our data show that in acute, inflammatory injury, FXR activation is deleterious. In contrast, FXR knock-out (KO) animals are protected from acute injury. Our work focuses on defining the role of FXR in intestinal barrier function during acute injury. We hypothesize that FXR activation compromises intestinal barrier function by upregulating small heterodimer protein (SHP), while interfering with EGFR signaling, leading to tight junction disruption. We are exploring the role of FXR and its downstream effector SHP in intestinal barrier function in vitrousing enteroid-derived monolayers from wild type and genetically modified animals. We are also exploring the role of macrophages using bone marrow-derived macrophage cultures. In vivo models include an LPS-injection model of acute injury, cecal ligation and puncture, inflammatory bowel disease models, and models of necrotizing enterocolitis. We also utilize human samples from CHLA. Research fellows do not need experience in a basic science lab setting; our job is to teach you what you need to succeed. You would be given your own projects in the lab but collaboration is encouraged, even on clinical projects. We expect that research fellows will present any accepted abstracts. We encourage a two-year commitment to the research program to maximize productivity.