We offer a variety of research opportunities that enhance your learning experience and help you improve your chance at getting a residency match. Contact a mentor on the list below to learn more about any research projects that interest you.


Mentor Topic of Research Time Commitment Contact
Muslim Atiq, M.D. Pancreatic cancer, epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, risk reduction through early detection. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings at the Division of Gastroenterology Deborah.Skaff@sanfordhealth.org
Jonathan Bleeker, M.D. Gastrointestinal cancers, clinical trials in esophageal cancer, gastric cancer and colorectal cancer Evenings on your own and periodic meetings in the Division of Oncology Cassie.Mcclure@sanfordhealth.org
Michael McHale, M.D. Hematologic malignancies, clinical trials in leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings with the Division of Hematology Toni.LeVasseur@usd.edu
Steven Powell, M.D. Clinical research in head and neck cancer outcomes Six to eight hours per week over three to six months Steven.Powell@sanfordhealth.org
Steven Powell, M.D. Novel cancer therapies including immunotherapy, targeted therapy and novel delivery systems in head and neck cancer. At least two half-days per week over six to 12 months Steven.Powell@sanfordhealth.org
Jianning Tao, Ph.D. Investigating efficacy of inhibitors in vitro, which may have clinical relevance for novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of osteosarcoma 10 weeks Jianning.Tao@sanfordhealth.org
Haotian Zhao, Ph.D. Brain cancer Two hours weekly in the lab for six to 12 months Haotian.Zhao@sanfordhealth.org

Medical History

Mentor Topic of Research Time Commitment Contact
Henry Travers, M.D., F.A.C.P. Infectious disease history in Sioux Falls Flexible Henry.Travers@usd.edu
Henry Travers, M.D., F.A.C.P. General medical history Flexible Henry.Travers@usd.edu


Mentor Topic of Research Contact
Lora Black Various research in ethics Lora.Black@sanfordhealth.org
Jerome Freeman, M.D. Neurology case reports and articles Jerome.Freeman@sanfordhealth.org
Valentina Joseph, M.D. Neurology case reports and articles Valentina.Joseph@sanfordhealth.org
Jae Kim, M.D. Neurology stroke device/drug studies Jae.Kim@sanfordhealth.org
Bassel Salem, M.D. Neurology case reports and articles Bassel.Salem@sanfordhealth.org

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Mentor Topic of Research Contact
Matthew Barker, M.D. Urogynecology Brenda.Erikson@avera.org
Maria Bell, M.D. Gynecology/oncology Kim.Roby@sanfordhealth.org
John Brannian, M.D. Obstetrics/gynecology John.Brannian@sanfordhealth.org
Elizabeth Dimitrievich, M.D. Obstetrics/gynecology Elizabeth.Dimitrievich@usd.edu
Kristi Egland, M.D. Obstetrics/gynecology Kristi.Egland@sanfordhealth.org
Keith Hansen, M.D. Reproductive endocrinology Staci.Wolff@sanfordhealth.org
Jessica D. Hanson, Ph.D. Sanford Research Jessica.D.Hanson@sanfordhealth.org
Keith Miskimins, M.D. Obstetrics/gynecology - Cancer Keith.Miskimins@sanfordhealth.org


Mentor Topic of Research Contact
Michael Koch, M.D. Pathology Michael.Koch@sanfordhealth.org
Brian J. Tjarks, M.D. Pathology Joel.Tjarks@usd.edu
Henry Travers, M.D. Pathology Henry.Travers@usd.edu


Mentor Topic of Research Time Commitment Contact
Alaa Al Nofal, M.D. Mental health screenings in endocrinology Alaa.Alnofal@sanfordhealth.org
Fernando Bula Rudas, M.D. Antimicrobial stewardship in children Fernando.Bularudas@sanfordhealth.org
Randolph S. Faustino, Ph.D. Studying potential modes of action used by specific nucleoporins to control stem cell pluripotency and cardiovascular development. Flexible according to student interests and research goals Randolph.Faustino@sanfordhealth.org
Kevin Francis, Ph.D. Defining how levels of cholesterol and close metabolites regulate stem cell function, metabolism and differentiation. Varies depending on student availability and interests Kevin.Francis@sanfordhealth.org
Carl Galloway, M.D. Rounding checklist, QI or urinary tract infections Carl.Galloway@sanfordhealth.org
Vishnu Kanala, M.D. Society of Hospital Medicine I-PASS Vishnu.Kanala@sanfordhealth.org
Julie Mayo, M.D. MSK, CAP Julie.Mayo@sanfordhealth.org
Mathia Rall, M.D. Mental health screenings in endocrinology Mathia.Rall@sanfordhealth.org
Jennifer Reed, M.D. MSK, CAP Jennifer.Reed@sanfordhealth.org
Joseph Segeleon Rounding checklist, ONE pediatric intensive care unit Joseph.Segeleon@sanfordhealth.org


Mentor Topic of Research Contact
Gina Forster, Ph.D.  Identifying biomarkers for the development of PTSD, with a focus on early life trauma, traumatic brain injury, substance use, inflammatory markers, microbiome, genetics and brain imaging.  gforster@usd.edu 
William Fuller, M.D. Homeless, mentally ill, Alzheimer's disease, history of psychiatry in South Dakota 605-360-8509
Shawn Van Gerpen Psychiatry Shawn.Vangerpen@avera.org


Mentor Topic of Research Contact
Keith Baumgarten, M.D. Orthopedics kbaumgarten@ortho-i.com
Zhiguang Guo, M.D. Pediatrics/diabetes Zhiguang.Guo@usd.edu
Robert Van Demark, M.D. Orthopedics Linda.Ellingson@sanfordhealth.org
Vance Thompson, M.D. Ophthalmology Alix.Locke@vancethompsonvision.com
John Berdahl, M.D. Ophthalmology Alix.Locke@vancethompsonvision.com
William Spanos, M.D. Ear, nose and throat Tamara.Ledeboer@sanfordhealth.org

Other Opportunities

Mentor Project Area Project Description Time Commitment  Contact
Benjamin Aaker, M.D. Emergency medicine Studies on whether educating health care providers on opioid misuse results in fewer repeat emergency department visits for painful complaints. 40 hours or more to evaluate data and write an article. You will receive education on statistical analysis and writing for publication Benjamin.Aaker@avera.org
Michelle Baack, M.D. Fetal and neonatal nutrition in health and disease Examining the role of lipids in the underlying mechanisms of developmentally programmed disease with a goal of prevention or intervention even before symptoms begin. Depends on the project Michelle.Baack@sanfordhealth.org
Michelle Baack, M.D. Fetal and neonatal nutrition in health and disease Working to understand how adverse pregnancy conditions influence metabolic plasticity and the balance of cardiomyocyte proliferation and differentiation as it relates to early aging and developmentally programmed adult heart disease. Depends on the project Michelle.Baack@sanfordhealth.org
Michelle Baack, M.D. Fetal and neonatal nutrition in health and disease Determining the effects of various maternal conditions and maternal-placental-fetal lipid processing in perinatal morbidity and pregnancy loss. Depends on the project Michelle.Baack@sanfordhealth.org
Michelle Baack, M.D. Fetal and neonatal nutrition in health and disease Improving the short and long-term health of premature infants through optimal provision of omega-3 essential fatty acids that are key to normal health, brain and retinal development. Depends on the project Michelle.Baack@sanfordhealth.org
Michelle Biehl, M.D. Pulmonology Impact of ventilation parameters on clinical outcome for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings with critical care team in Sanford intensive care unit Debbie.Qua@sanfordhealth.org
Brian Burrell, Ph.D. Neurophysicality, pain signaling and modulation Studies on the mechanisms by which pain signaling is modulated by endocannabinoids, which could include behavioral studies on its effects, bioinformatic and molecular biology studies to identify potential critical molecular targets and neurophysiological experiments. Depends on the project Brian.Burrell@usd.edu
Larry Burris, M.D. Kidney transplants Outcomes in patients with kidney transplantation, response to immune-suppression, balancing efficacy and toxicity. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings in the Division of Nephrology Stacy.Weller@sanfordhealth.org
Hesham Elgouhari, M.D. Hepatology Quantifying the impact of acute hepatic injury on the relationship between chronic hepatic disease and hepatocellular cancer. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings at the Avera Liver Transplant Center Toni.Levasseur@usd.edu
Barbara Goodman, Ph.D. Education How various pedagogies impact student learning in a variety of courses and with different levels of students. Flexible time for implementing change, collecting and evaluating data Barb.Goodman@usd.edu
Marco Griebeler, M.D. Endocrinology Calcium homeostasis and bone health, endocrine complications of cancer immunotherapy. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings at the Division of Endocrinology Amanda.Saeger@sanfordhealth.org
Victor Huber, Ph.D. Immunology Using DNA shuffling to generate influenza vaccines that protect against both swine and human-origin influenza A viruses. Varies based on student availability and project Victor.Huber@usd.edu
Victor Huber, Ph.D. Immunology Defining the contributions of vaccine-induced immunity toward limiting secondary bacterial infections. Varies based on student availability and project Victor.Huber@usd.edu
Jennifer Hsu, M.D. Infectious disease Antibiotic stewardship, balancing efficacy and resistance, adverse effects of overprescribing antibiotics Evenings on your own and periodic meetings in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Toni.Levasseur@usd.edu
Michael Kareta, Ph.D. Translational Investigating the role of the Sox2 transcription factor in development and tumor formation. Evenings and weekends Michael.Kareta@sanfordhealth.org
Lance Lee, Ph.D. Motile cilia disorders Investigating how ciliary defects affect ciliary protein localization and transport, identifying novel ciliary protein networks and investigating the cellular feedback mechanisms resulting from ciliary dysfunction. Varies depending on project and availability Lance.Lee@sanfordhealth.org
Dan Rath, M.D. Chart review Percent of osteomyelitis patients who have had a bone biopsy for culture. Eight hours over four to six weeks Dan.Rath@usd.edu
Adam Stys, M.D. Cardiology New techniques in PCI, impact of technique on outcome and reduction in coronary artery stent complications. Evenings on your own and periodic meetings in the Division of Cardiology Darla.Fjerstad@sanfordhealth.org
Kamesh Surendran, Ph.D. Kidney development Characterizing the expression pattern in normal human and mouse kidneys, following physiologic stress in mouse kidneys and in polycystic kidney disease. Four hours per week minimum, flexible hours Kamesh.Surendran@sanfordhealth.org
Peter Vitiello, Ph.D. Laboratory science Applying biochemical and molecular approaches to transgenic mouse models to understand how lung cells respond to increase atmospheric oxygen levels and how antioxidant enzymes regulate the molecular and cellular changes related to newborn oxidative lung disease. Six to eight supervised or non-supervised hours per week Peter.Vitiello@sanfordhealth.org
Jill Weimer, Ph.D. Neuroscience Understanding the processes that control development of the cerebral cortex and how disruption in these processes leads to various neuropediatric diseases. Six to 10 hours per week minimum Jill.Weimer@sanfordhealth.org