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Surgical Research

The OU-Tulsa Department of Surgery has been involved in research for several years.  Through targeted faculty recruitment and a philosophical rededication, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive portfolio of basic science, translational, clinical and health services research as well as both investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored clinical trials.  In the basic and translational areas, strong collaboration with and support from the OU Integrative Immunology Center, led by Dr. Kent Teague, allows the state-of-the-art molecular investigation focused on genomic and proteomic predictors of surgical outcomes that drives our precision medicine program into the future of surgical science.  In the clinical and health-services areas, combining a strong local surgical clinical volume with participation in several relevant regional and national large data registries, our investigators are making profound observations providing new knowledge to define the future of surgical care delivery.  This combination positions the OU-Tulsa Department of Surgery at the forefront of surgical research.

Each year, using these resources, our residents and faculty maintain a strong presence at local, regional, and national conferences presenting their research.  On the local level, our Department is a major contributor to the OU-Tulsa Annual Research Forum and Clinical Vignette Symposium winning many awards.  On the regional and national level, our residents and faculty have presented at such meetings as the Annual Clinical Congress as well as the Oklahoma Chapter meeting of the American College of Surgeons, the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the Academic Surgical Congress, SAGES, Southwestern Surgical, the Society for Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the Society for Thoracic Surgeons, the Western Trauma Association, the ASMBS Obesity Week, and the Society for Vascular Surgery.  Inherent in these efforts is a strong commitment on the part of both the OU Surgery faculty and residents to mentorship and sponsorship and institutional resources provided by the OU Office for Research Development and Scholarly Activity (ORDSA).

We will introduce you to some of the key personnel driving this research mission below, but we invite you to come visit us to see it first hand for yourself.

Peter R. Nelson, MD, MS, FACS, DFSVS
Research Director, Department of Surgery

OU Research Images

Surgery Research Faculty and Staff

Peter R. Nelson, MD, MS, FACS, DFSVS

Peter Nelson

Dr. Nelson is the Mary Louise Todd Chair for Cardiovascular Research, Professor of Surgery, Vascular Surgery Section Chief, Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program Director, and Director of Surgical Research.  In addition to his medical degree and general/vascular surgery training, he has had dedicated research training through the NIH-T32 Harvard-Longwood Vascular Surgery Research Fellowship program and a Masters degree in Medical Sciences/Clinical Investigation from the University of Florida College of Medicine.  Dr. Nelson's translational research interests focus on genomic and proteomic predictors of clinical outcomes following vascular intervention and the development of a personalized/precision medicine program.  He has been funded by the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for these efforts.  In addition, he conducts investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored clinical trials and has an active interest in health services research focused on disparities in the delivery of vascular surgical care.

Kent Teague, PhD

Kent Teague


Dr. Teague completed his Ph.D. in Immunology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He completed postdoctoral training in Immunology at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Denver. Dr. Teague serves as the Assistant Vice President for Research and leads the research efforts at OU-Tulsa. He specializes in studying the effects of psychosocial stress and chronic inflammation on the immune system and the downstream effects on health. Dr. Teague is also the Associate Dean for Research for the OU-TU School of Community Medicine and holds the GKFF Chair in Community Medicine Research.  In addition to his roles in research, Dr. Teague is the associate course director for the Immunology, Microbiology, and Integument course for the medical students and co-directs the immunology course for the PA students.

Julie Marino, PhD

Juili Marino

Dr. Marino is an instructor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Oklahoma, School of Community Medicine, Tulsa.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Covenant College before completing her PhD in Immunology at the University of Tulsa. She completed post-doctoral training in the Department of Surgery at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa.  She is an expert in gene expression analysis and directs the genomics research efforts at the Integrative Immunology Center.

Ahlam Alarbi, PhD

Juili Marino

Dr. Alarbi is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Surgery at the University of Oklahoma, School of Community Medicine, Tulsa. She received a Bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Al-Fatah University, Tripoli, Libya. She completed her Master’s degree in Biochemistry and PhD in Chemistry at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Alarbi is an expert in biomarker and cellular analysis and conducts the genomic and proteomic analyses at the Department of Surgery. 

Clinical And Health Services Research

William C. Jennings, MD, FACS

Dr. Jennings’ surgical practice and clinic research efforts are focused on vascular access. He served as director and speaker for the CMS sponsored Fistula First program and conducted many regional meetings for surgeons and the renal community. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in the field. Dr. Jennings was a co-author of the Society for Vascular Surgery clinical practice guidelines for surgical arterial-venous hemodialysis access and a member of the Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative Technical Expert Panel. In addition to clinical research, other interests include working with industry sponsored projects such as the Ellipsys© percutaneous AVF device. He also works with the Bridge of Life (BOL) non-profit organization, serving patients with renal disease and dialysis care in 25 countries worldwide. Dr. Jennings has led 16 vascular access surgical missions, with more than 600 operations while working with local teams to leave a sustained impact at each site.

Geoffrey Chow, MD

Juili Marino


Dr. Chow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. He obtained his Medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Texas and completed a General Surgery residency at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University followed by a Minimally Invasive Surgery fellowship in British Columbia. Dr Chow is board certified in General Surgery. Dr. Chow’s research interests focus on clinical outcomes of minimally invasive procedures along with surgical education. He has additional interests in surgical device development, novel laparoscopic imaging techniques, and augmented reality in minimally invasive surgery.

Kelly Kempe, MD

Juili Marino


Dr. Kelly Kempe, MD, RPVI, FACS is an Assistant Professor at OU Tulsa School of Community Medicine and the Associate Program Director of the only Vascular Surgery Fellowship in Oklahoma. She is dedicated to improving vascular health in Oklahoma through research, quality improvement, community outreach, and education. She focuses her research on health services outcomes and recently completed the Health Services Research Methods Course conducted by American College of Surgeons. She is focused on epidemiological prevalence of disease, disparities in access to care, and state and regional differences in vascular surgery outcomes. To increase the educational and research goals, the division of vascular surgery has recently started a Vascular Surgery Research Interest Group (VRIG) with all interested students. 

Zhamak Khorgami, MD

Juili Marino


Dr. Khorgami is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. He obtained his medical degree from Tehran University and completed a General Surgery residency at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa. He has completed fellowships in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at the University of Miami and the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Khorgami has numerous publications in surgical treatment of obesity. His research is focused on the outcomes of metabolic and bariatric surgery, and is experienced using national databases (e.g. NSQIP and HCUP-NIS) for outcome research. His other research interests are foregut neoplasms and minimally invasive surgical and endoscopic techniques. He has also been involved in several randomized controlled trials (RCT) as the principal investigator and has published five RCTs. 

Carol Cox, PhD

Juili Marino

Dr. Cox is a native Tulsan and earned her Bachelor of Science and PhD in Biological Science at the University of Tulsa.  She completed postdoctoral training in molecular genetics at TU, and was recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship in the NIAID Immunology Training Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Following completion of the fellowship, she served as Assistant Professor of Research for the OUHSC-OKC Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Cox has presented research at both national and international meetings and has published original work in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Journal of Immunology and other peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Cox joined the OU-Tulsa Department of Surgery as Research Coordinator in 2017.

Surgical Research Highlights

Recent Research Projects, Department Presentations, and Publications here (PDF)


Khorgami Z, Fleischer W, Mushtaq N, Charles M, Howard CA. Ten-year trends in traumatic injury mechanisms and outcomes: A Trauma Registry analysis. 2018. Am J of Surgery. Apr;215(4):727-734. PMID: 29397887.

Khorgami Z, Shoar S, Saber AA, Howard CA, Goodarz D, Sclabas GMTwo-year outcomes of bariatric surgery versus medical management for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.  Diabetes Care. Submitted.

Tanious A, Wooster M, Jung A, Nelson PR, Armstrong PA, Shames ML. Open abdominal surgical training differences experienced by integrated vascular and general surgery residents. 2017. J Vasc Surg. Oct;66(4):1280-1284. doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2017.02.059. PMID: 28583729.

Khorgami Z, Aminian A, Shoar S, Andalib A, Saber AA, Schauer PR, Brethauer SA, Sclabas GM. Cost of bariatric surgery and factors associated with increased cost: an analysis of national inpatient sample. 2017. Surg Obes Relat Dis. Aug:13(8):1284-1289. doi:10.1016/j.soard.2017.04.010. PMID: 28583812.

Posters & Presentations

Khorgami Z. National Costs of Bariatric Surgery & the Predictors of Extreme Costs, American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Nov 2016

Heard J, Wilson B, Ng G, Khorgami ZHoward CA. Successful treatment of bleeding duodenal lesion of Dieulafoy post-gastric bypass. Presented at: Clinical Vignette Symposium, May 16, 2018; Tulsa, OK

Diaz A, Ng G, Baker J, Hoff S. Case Report: A rare case of colorectal cancer metastasis to the endometrium. Presented at: Clinical Vignette Symposium, May 16, 2018; Tulsa, OK.

Reavis HS, Sahawneh JPatel DNelson PRChow G. Splenic artery pseudoaneurysm: A difficult diagnosis to make. Presented at: Clinical Vignette Symposium, May 16, 2018; Tulsa, OK.

Mendelsberg RPatel DTaubman KNelson PR. Endovascular treatment of an anastomotic stricture secondary to intimal hyperplasia. Presented at: Clinical Vignette Symposium, May 16, 2018; Tulsa, OK.  CVS 2nd Place Award Winner.

Contact Us

For questions regarding research opportunities & resources, please contact the Department of Surgery Research Project Coordinator, Carol J. Cox, Ph.D., by email at or by phone at (918) 660-8357.