The aim of the Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship program is to improve the lives of people with cancer through state-of-the-art clinical care, continuous discovery and innovation, and the education and development of leaders in surgical oncology.
MD Anderson's Department of Surgical Oncology offers a fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology. Fellows are exposed to a large volume of complex surgical problems and are involved in the initial evaluation of new patients, treatment planning including multidisciplinary approaches, design of the surgical approach, and postoperative and long-term follow-up care.
This clinical experience, combined with numerous opportunities for research, provides graduates with a rich experience that prepares them to enter academic careers, establish successful surgical oncology programs at university centers, and develop productive research and training programs. Graduates will be well poised to take on future leadership roles in surgery. More than 85% of our graduates assume a full-time appointment in academic surgery.
Applicants for the CGSO fellowship must meet the following educational qualifications:
- Successful completion of an ACGME-accredited general surgery residency program in the U.S. or Canada
- Graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada must have a valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
- At the time of entry into the fellowship program all applicants will be board-eligible or board-certified general surgeons under the auspices of the American Board of Surgery
- Applicants must have passed each step of the USMLE by the third attempt
Eligibility for the research fellowship track are the same as for the CGSO fellowship but applicants must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in order to qualify for the NIH research grant funding. MD Anderson requires international medical graduates to meet requirements for an institutional permit as outlined by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and have the necessary documents for a J-1 visa.
Applications for fellowship positions will be made through ERAS.
All eligible, completed applications will be holistically reviewed by at least three faculty members.
Candidates will be selected for interviews and notified in early March.
The following documents should also be included with the application:
- A current curriculum vitae
- Personal statement
- Three letters of recommendation
- Medical school transcripts
- ABSITE scores
- USMLE scores
- Recent photograph
MD Anderson will participate in the national match program for Complex General Surgical Oncology administered by the National Resident Matching Program.
MD Anderson offers seven ACGME-accredited positions annually in two tracks. Both tracks are designed to refine surgical skills and clinical judgment involving complex cancer operations, and intellectual skills encompassing all aspects of cancer management (including radiation biology, pharmacology, cancer pathology, clinical immunology and tumor biology). Fellows in both tracks are expected to conduct research projects that result in at least one finished manuscript ready for publication prior to the completion of their fellowship. These may range from a short-term clinical research project to a more sophisticated clinical investigation or laboratory science project.
Track 1: Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship
There are six positions annually for the 2-year CGSO fellowship program in Track 1. The program enables fellows to acquire an advanced body of knowledge and skill level in the surgical and multidisciplinary management of malignant diseases.
Fellows in the basic two-year clinical curriculum spend 17 months on general surgical oncology services (melanoma, sarcoma, breast, endocrine, colorectal, hepatobiliary, pancreas, gastric/HIPEC) and one month each in medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology. The remaining four months are dedicated to learning research principles such as biostatistics, design of clinical trials, data collection and management, and protocol writing (including clinical trials conducted during the two-year fellowship). The second-year curriculum allows for specialization of training tailored to match the individual fellow’s goals.
Sample 2-Year Curriculum:
- Colon and Rectal
- Peritoneal Surface Malignancy
- Medical Oncology
- Colon and Rectal
- Radiation Oncology
- Peritoneal Surface Malignancy
- Colon and Rectal
Track 2: Combined Complex General Surgical Oncology/Research Fellowship
Fellows can choose from numerous opportunities in the Surgical Oncology department, the various basic/translational research programs throughout MD Anderson, or in the Health Services Research department. The research track has an additional goal of preparing individuals for a productive career in academic surgery by providing a teaching program in biostatistics, principles of clinical research, molecular biology, genomics, tumor immunology, grantsmanship and the writing of scientific manuscripts.There is one position annually for the Track 2 combined fellowship program. This program includes the 2-year CGSO fellowship with an additional year of laboratory, translational or health services/outcomes research funded by a NIH T32 grant for the training of academic surgical oncologists. This 3-year program allows fellows who have not had a significant research experience as part of their general surgical residency to spend an additional 12 months training. This program is also especially helpful for fellows who have already had significant basic/translational research experience who desire to spend additional research time to acquire new skills, expertise and preliminary data to excel as an independently funded surgeon-scientist.
Fellows have access to a wide range of research opportunities, from translational research to prospective clinical trials. All fellows participate in a formal Clinical Trials training course and have access to a variety of research methodology workshops offered by the institution.
Fellows in the 3-year T32 track can choose from numerous opportunities in the Surgical Oncology department, the various basic/translational research programs throughout MD Anderson, or in the Health Services Research department. The research track has an additional goal of preparing individuals for a productive career in academic surgery by providing a teaching program in biostatistics, principles of clinical research, molecular biology, genomics, tumor immunology, grantsmanship and the writing of scientific manuscripts.
All first-year fellows take part in the Annual Surgical Oncology Fellows’ Clinical Trials Design Course. This course consists of four half-day sessions in the first few months of the year that focus on answering research questions in the world of oncology. With 30+ participating faculty and more than15 experienced speakers, the didactic sessions review clinical trial logistics and design, budgeting, statistical considerations, ethics in clinical trials, alternative trial design, and other important topics. Each fellow has the opportunity to mature a clinical research question into a clinical trial with the help of faculty-lead small group sessions. Fellows are protected from clinical duties during the course.
Fellows are offered a variety of career development opportunities including leadership training through the institution, sponsored attendance to the AAS/SUS Fall Courses, sponsored attendance to the SSO Fellow’s Institute, and many more experiences tailored to the individual’s interests.
MD Anderson is located within Houston's Texas Medical Center – the largest medical city in the world. Located in central Houston, Texas, the area is rich in academic and cultural opportunity. The Medical Center lies adjacent to Rice University, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and is near Houston’s prestigious symphony orchestra, opera, theater, and ballet. There are also numerous parks, including neighboring Hermann Park which has an outdoor theater and large zoo.
Other sites that are close to the Medical Center are Sam Houston Raceway Park, Downtown Aquarium, Space Center Houston, Lone Star Flight Museum, NRG Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, and the George R. Brown Convention Center. For more information, go to Visit Houston.
Our trainees live throughout the various neighborhoods of Houston, including West University/Rice Village, Montrose, the Houston Heights, the Museum District, or immediately adjacent to the Medical Center.
Beyond MD Anderson Cancer Center’s institutional commitment to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the Department of Surgical Oncology values and promotes ideas and individuals who represent diverse backgrounds and experiences. As a department, we recognize the significant barriers that have always existed for members of marginalized communities, and we are specifically dedicated to making our department a more welcoming place for all faculty, staff, trainees and patients. Our collective efforts in DEI include cultivating a supportive environment for employees and patients from all backgrounds, recruiting and retaining a diverse physician workforce, and community outreach and relationship building in the Houston community, with a particular focus in medically underserved populations.
Visit https://jobs.mdanderson.org/creative/about to learn more about working at MD Anderson.
Current Fellows & Alumni
Reed I. Ayabe, M.D.
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Education: Residency – Harbor UCLA Medical Center; M.D. – David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Undergraduate – Pomona College
Clinical/Research Interests: HPB and GI Oncology, metastasis biology
Hobbies: Blues guitar, snowboarding, skiing
Neal Bhutiani, M.D., Ph.D.
Hometown: Winter Haven, FL
Education: Residency – University of Louisville; Ph.D. – University of Louisville (Immunology); M.D. – Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Undergraduate – Duke University
Clinical/Research Interests: Colon/rectal/anal cancer, peritoneal disease, mucosal tumor immunology, microbiome-tumor-immune system interaction
Hobbies: Tennis, running, cycling, cooking, hiking/backpacking, camping, traveling
Seth J. Concors, M.D.
Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ
Education: Residency – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; M.D. – New York University; Undergraduate – New York University
Clinical/Research Interests: Gastrointestinal/Hepatobiliary Surgical Oncology, with a focus on Neuroendocrine Tumors
Hobbies: Sports, Peloton, cooking, travel
Heather A. Lillemoe, M.D.
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Education: Residency – Vanderbilt University Medical Center; M.D. – University of Maryland School of Medicine; Undergraduate – Vanderbilt University
Clinical/Research Interests: Breast and sarcoma surgery, surgical education, clinical outcomes research
Hobbies: Music and concerts, Ravens football, Peloton, spending time exploring Houston with my husband and rescue dog, Duncan
Elizabeth Lilley, M.D., MPH
Hometown: Westwood, NJ
Education: Residency – Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, M.D. – Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; MPH – Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Undergraduate – Lafayette College
Clinical research/interest: integrating palliative care for surgical patients, surgical decision making.
Hobbies: Cooking, brunching, traveling, shopping
Heather Lyu, M.D., MBI
Hometown: Great Falls, VA
Education: Residency – Brigham and Women’s Hospital; M.D. – Johns Hopkins University; Undergraduate – University of Virginia; Master of Biomedical Informatics – Harvard University
Clinical/Research Interests: GI/Pancreas/Sarcoma, clinical Informatics – specifically, creation and utilization of real world data for clinical research, improving database quality
Hobbies: Spinning, baking, and traveling
Y. David Seo, M.D.
Hometown: Los Gatos, CA
Education: Residency – University of Washington; M.D. – University of Michigan Medical School; Undergraduate – Harvard University
Clinical/Research Interests: Immuno-oncology, pancreatic cancer, sarcoma, HPB surgery
Hobbies: Hiking, fishing, cycling, Michigan football, home brewing, music
Sandra DiBrito, M.D., Ph.D.
Hometown: Silverthorne, CO
Education: Residency – Johns Hopkins; Ph.D. – The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; M.D. – Boston University School of Medicine; Undergraduate – University of Denver
Clinical/Research Interests: Hepatobiliary and GI malignancy, colorectal liver metastases, disparities in cancer care provision
Hobbies: Managing my home circus (three children and two dogs)
Derek Erstad, M.D.
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Education: Residency – Massachusetts General Hospital; M.D. – Harvard Medical School; Undergraduate – The College of Idaho
Clinical/Research Interests: GI surgical oncology, cancer immune evasion
Hobbies: Running in the Houston area parks, European professional soccer, being a dad to two amazing girls
Caitlin Hester, M.D.
Hometown: Cartersville, GA
Education: Residency – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; M.D. – Medical College of Georgia – Augusta University; Undergraduate – University of Georgia
Clinical/Research Interests: pancreatic malignancies, clinical trials, measures of response to preoperative therapy, ctDNA interpretation
Hobbies: Pilates, writing poetry, traveling
Allison Martin, M.D., MPH
Hometown: Greenville, KY
Education: Residency – University of Virginia; M.D. – Vanderbilt University; MPH – Harvard School of Public Health; Undergraduate – University of Louisville
Clinical/Research Interests: Hepatobiliary, GI, clinical outcomes research and health disparities
Hobbies: Hanging with our pups (Kivu and Remy), baking, travel
Andrew Newton, M.D.
Hometown: Finksburg, MD
Education: Residency – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; M.D. – University of Maryland School of Medicine; Undergraduate – University of Maryland
Clinical Interests: GI surgical oncology, HPB, peritoneal malignancies
Research Interests: Fluorescence guided surgery and other intraoperative techniques to improve precision in oncologic surgery, clinical trials, surgical education
Hobbies: Spending time with my family, Ravens football, Maryland basketball
Doug Swords, M.D.
Hometown: Waxhaw, NC
Education: Residency – University of Utah; M.D. – Wake Forest; Undergraduate – Montreat College
Clinical/Research Interests: GI and HPB surgical oncology, peritoneal surface malignancies, sarcoma, and melanoma / health services research
Hobbies: Family, hiking, rock climbing
Michael White, M.D., M.S.
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Education: Residency – University of Chicago; Master's — University of Chicago; M.D. – Jefferson Medical College; Undergraduate – Princeton University;
Clinical/Research Interests: Peritoneal surface malignancies, microbiome, tumor microenvironment
Hobbies: Surfing, hiking, time with my wife and kids
Russell Witt, M.D.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Education: Residency – Brigham and Women’s Hospital; M.D. – University of California Davis; Master's (Clinical Research), University of California Davis Undergraduate – University of California Santa Cruz
Clinical/Research Interests: Sarcoma, melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma, GI malignancy, translational research, oncoimmunology, microbiome, opioid reduction strategies
Hobbies: Cats, art, videogames, MMA, memes, exercise
- Casey Allen: Assistant Professor, Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, PA
- Cameron Gaskill: Assistant Professor, University of California Davis, CA
- Bradford Kim: Hepatopancreaticobiliary Fellow, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Anai Kothari: Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
- Meredith Mason: Assistant Professor, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
- Natalia Paez Arango: Surgical Oncologist, Trihealth PHO, Cincinnati, OH
- Rachel Voss: Assistant Professor, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
- Ryan Day: Abdominal Transplantation Fellow, University of California San Francisco
- James Griffin: Surgical Oncologist, Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta, GA
- Mark Healy: Surgical Oncologist, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, AZ
- Beth Helmink: Assistant Professor, Washington University St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
- Jessica Maxwell: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Alexander Stark: Surgical Oncologist, Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN
- Nabeel Zafar: Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
- Elliot Asare: Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Emily Keung: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Colleen Kiernan: Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
- Geoffrey Krampitz: Surgical Oncologist, Sharp Healthcare, San Diego, CA
- Andrew Lee: Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
- Timothy Newhook: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Christopher Scally: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Timothy Vreeland: Lieutenant Colonel, Associate Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
- Sarah Fisher: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Annabelle Fonseca: Assistant Professor, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
- Naruhiko Ikoma: Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- James Lindberg, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worchester, MA
- Andrew Loehrer: Assistant Professor, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
- Lakhbir Sandhu: Surgical Oncologist, Kaiser Permanente Healthcare, Sacramento, CA
- Diego Vicente: Commander, Associate Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
- Jordan Cloyd: Ward Family Endowed Professor, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
- Casey Duncan: Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX
- Michael Egger: Assistant Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
- Travis Grotz: Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
- Ashley Holder: Assistant Professor, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
- Sameer Patel: Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
- Peter Prieto: Assistant Professor, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
- Rebecca Snyder: Assistant Professor, Eastern Carolina University, Greenville, NC
For inquiries about the Complex General Surgical Oncology fellowship program, contact:
Elizabeth Grubbs, M.D.
Department of Surgical Oncology, Unit 1484
P.O. Box 301402
Houston, TX 77230
Education Program Coordinator
Department of Surgical Oncology, Unit 1484
P.O. Box 301402
Houston, TX 77230
For inquiries about the Track 2 research year, contact:
Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D.
T-32 Research Fellowship Director
Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics
1400 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 455
Houston, TX 77030
MD Anderson Cancer Center is committed to encouraging good health and staying true to our mission to end cancer. If you are applying for a GME fellowship or residency program starting on or after July 1, 2016, please be advised that MD Anderson will have instituted a tobacco-free hiring process as part of its efforts to achieve these goals. If you are offered an appointment, you will be subject to a Pre-Employment Drug Screen for tobacco compounds in compliance with applicable state laws. If you do not pass the urine drug screening which includes testing for tobacco compounds, you CANNOT be appointed at MD Anderson. Should you fail to meet this contingency, MD Anderson will withdraw your offer of appointment for the academic year. You may reapply for the following academic year, but there are no guarantees that you will be offered a position as many of our programs are already filled for several years out.