The John Wayne Cancer Foundation Surgical Oncology Fellowship program is a surgical oncology training and research program funded by John Wayne Cancer Foundation. The program trains the top surgeons of tomorrow in the latest techniques and technologies for treating and researching cancer. We partner with academic institutions with robust research facilities so we can give each surgeon an additional two years of exceptional focus and education after their residencies.  These surgeons - known as "fellows"-  graduate from the two year program and go on to leadership roles at cancer centers and academic institutions across the country. To date, there are over 160 John Wayne Alumni Fellows.
The areas of focus include:

  • Inpatient and outpatient surgical oncology
  • Research rotations in medical oncology and radiation oncology
  • Pathology
  • Genetics
  • Biostatistics


At the University of California, Irvine, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation supports the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Surgical Oncology Fellowship Chair and Program.

This program will advance research, teaching, and service activities in surgical oncology.

John Wayne Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair of Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program: Dr. Maheswari Senthil

“The John Wayne Cancer Foundation, my family and I are extremely proud to partner with UCI to change the course of cancer treatment for patients and their loved ones for generations to come,” said Ethan Wayne, John Wayne Cancer Foundation director. “Together, through research and lifesaving clinical trials, and by training future surgical oncologists like Dr. Senthil and her extraordinary fellows, we are poised to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

A nationally recognized surgical oncologist and physician-scientist, Senthil is an expert in the management of patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis and advanced malignancies. She also is the founder of the complex general surgical oncology fellowship at UCI School of Medicine, the first of its kind within the University of California system. In her role as chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Senthil has received numerous awards for her commitment and dedication to educational excellence and has contributed to surgical research on a global scale.

Among her many accolades, Senthil was the recipient of the 2021 John E. Connolly, MD, Teaching Professor of the Year award. That same year, she published a study in the Journal of Surgery titled, “Promoting surgical research in the global south.” She also headed up an investigator-initiated clinical trial called STOPGAP – a Phase II study of sequential systemic and intraperitoneal chemotherapy for gastric peritoneal carcinomatosis, and was awarded the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge Pilot Project Award. Additionally, Senthil is the Lancet Commission Global Cancer Surgery PAHO region champion.

And now, she is the first Endowed Chair of John Wayne Cancer Foundation Surgical Oncology Fellowship Progam at UCI.

“I am honored to hold the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology,” Senthil said. “This partnership will help move the field forward and continue our ‘Discover. Teach. Heal.’ mission.” Dr. Senthil


2nd Year Fellow
Dr. Amy Li

Dr Amy Li hails from Michigan, where she attended University of Michigan for her undergraduate studies, followed by Wayne State University School of Medicine for her medical degree. She completed three years of general surgery residency at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI before moving to California to complete two years of clinical hepatobiliary and pancreatic research under the mentorship of Dr Brendan Visser at Stanford University.

She finished the last two years of general surgery residency at Stanford University and has recently started her Complex General Surgical Oncology fellowship at the University of California Irvine. Her research interests include GI oncology and outcomes. Outside of the hospital, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring restaurants.

“It is my dream to pursue surgical oncology. I am so lucky for this opportunity to train at University of California Irvine through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. I look forward to working with all the staff, residents, and surgical oncology department over the next two years!”

1st Year Fellow
Dr. Eyob

Dr. Eyob, 4th surgical resident at Columbia University will start her fellowship at UCI in 2024. She moved to the United States from Ethiopia at the age of 17 and supported herself throughout college and medical school (Georgetown University).

Due to her interest in Global health and health care equity, she completed MPH in Global Health at Harvard. Her research work during this time was instrumental in the content of the Dakar Declaration of 2022 to improve access to safe surgical care by 2030.


Incoming fellow for Summer 2025
Dr. Jingjing (Helen) Yu

Dr. Jingjing (Helen) Yu completed her medical training at the University of Colorado. She is now at the University of California, Irvine for her General Surgery residency training. During her time, she spent two years as a research fellow in Dr. Maheswari Senthil's lab, where she studied vascularized microtumors and exosomes. Her primary interests are in gastrointestinal malignancies and peritoneal surface disease.

Outside of the hospital, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.



We have partnered with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to create a John Wayne Fellowship Program, which is set to launch in 2025. The program is focused on the advanced surgical education of oncologists and research to find new ways to stop, diagnose and treat cancer. 


An "Alumni Fellow" is a doctor who has graduated from a John Wayne Fellowship program. After they've graduated, an Alumni Fellow can apply for a John Wayne Alumni Fellows Grant which provides funding to further clinical research efforts in surgical oncology; this might include, for example, a leadership role in a clinical trial, in a prospective cancer outcomes study, or a translational research project related to a prospective clinical trial. We are proud  to support a network of over 160+ alumni fellows who are revolutionizing cancer treatment worldwide.


2024 Graduate:
Dr. Kia Mashayekhi

Dr. Mashayekhi completed his medical degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2011. Following his medical education, he matriculated to the University of Southern California to complete an M.S. in molecular biology and immunology.

Mashayekhi went on to begin his surgical training with a preliminary year with Harbor-UCLA and completed his general surgery residency with San Joaquin Hospital. Prior to beginning his training with UCI, he completed a fellowship in advanced gastrointestinal, MIS and bariatric surgery with the University of Texas Southwestern.

We are excited to have him as our inaugural fellow for the UCI John Wayne Cancer Foundation Endowed Fellowship in Surgical Oncology.


2021 Graduate:
Ana K Wilson, DO, MS

Area of Interest: Breast Cancer, Endocrine disorders and Skin and
Soft Tissue Malignancies

After graduating from medical school in her home state of Texas, Dr. Wilson completed General Surgery residency in Baltimore, Maryland where she developed an interest in treating cancer patients and completed one year of research in this field at Johns Hopkins. From there she went on to complete a Surgical Oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. Afterwards, she settled down with her husband and two children in Knoxville, Tennessee where she is in private practice, specializing in treating cancers of the breast, skin, soft tissue and endocrine organs.


2021 Graduate:
Judi Ramiscal, MD

Area of Interest: Oncoplastic Breast Surgery, Melanoma,
Adrenal Tumors.

Dr. Ramiscal's childhood interest in cancer was further fueled by her undergraduate research experiences at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, after which she spent her early career working in translational oncology and drug development at Genentech. She then received her medical degree from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and returned to the west coast to continue her training at the University of Hawaii and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. She has returned home to teach future providers and to develop the breast, skin, soft tissue and endocrine programs at ARMC's new Cancer Care Center where she strives to continually improve the experience of cancer patients in Southern California’s Inland Empire.Outside of work, Dr. Ramiscal enjoys road trips and outdoor activities, especially in the ocean and on the snow.  


Looking for a cancer specialist near you? Use this map to find a John Wayne Alumni Fellow today!

New Partnership between John Wayne Cancer Institute and UC Irvine

2nd year Fellows will have the opportunity to rotate down to Orange County, and work alongside Dr. Pigazzi and faculty.

"UCI is delighted to partner with the John Wayne Cancer Institute on this important educational initiative," states Dr. Pigazzi, Chief of the Surgical Oncology Division and Program Director, UC Irvine Medical Center. "As the only academic Medical Center in Orange County we are honored to be able to lend the expertise of our faculty to such a talented group of young surgeons."

In 2015, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation fulfilled a $500,000, 3-year gift to the JWCI Surgical Oncology Fellowship Training Program.

2016 Presenting Fellows Grant Recipients

John Wayne Alumni Fellows Giving Oral Presentations at World Cancer Congress 2016

Dr. Preya Ananthakrishnan, White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY

Dr. Melanie Goldfarb, JWCI, St. John's Medical Center, Santa Monica, CA

Dr. Anna Leung, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Jennifer Lin, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Anthony Lucci, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

Dr. Partha Ray, University of Illinois, Urbana, Carle Cancer Center

Our Community

Features on the 2016-2017 1st-year Fellows

Andrew Conger, MD (Neurosurgery)

Following a brief career as a high school science teacher, Dr. Conger completed his MD, general surgery internship, and neurosurgical residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. In his final year of residency, he served as chief resident during which he designed and implemented a new didactic curriculum and revised the existing program for ABNS primary exam preparation. Dr. Conger's first-author citations include technical reviews of endoscopic endonasal resection of craniopharyngiomas (Neurosurg Focus 2014) and multimodal treatment of arteriovenous malformations (Surg Neurol Int 2015). His review of a conservative approach to radiation therapy following resection of cerebral metastases was recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.

Amanda Graff-Baker, MD (Surg Onc)

Dr. Graff-Baker obtained her medical degree from Yale University in 2010 and completed her surgical internship and general surgery residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR, where she was recognized as the St. Vincent’s Hospital Chief Resident of the Year in 2016. She pursued year-long research fellowships during both medical school and residency. Dr. Graff-Baker’s first author publications include “Primary Thyroid Lymphoma: Demographic, Clinical and Pathologic Predictors of Survival in 1408 Cases” (Surgery, 2009) and “Expanded Criteria for Carcinoid Liver Debulking: Maintaining Survival and Increasing the Number of Eligible Patients” (Surgery, 2014). She gave a podium presentation at the 2014 American Association of Endocrine Surgeons Annual Meeting in Boston, MA and was a finalist for the 2015 OHSU Resident Paper of the Year for her research focusing on the outcomes of patients who undergo liver resection for metastatic carcinoid tumors.

Daniel W. Nelson, DO (Surg Onc)

Dr. Nelson is currently an active duty Major in the United States Army. After graduating with honors from Des Moines University College of Medicine (Des Moines, Iowa), he went on to complete general surgery internship and residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center (Fort Lewis, Washington). While at MAMC, Dr. Nelson served as administrative chief resident and was a clinical instructor in general surgery through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Bethesda, Maryland). After completing residency, Dr. Nelson was stationed overseas for 1 year, where served as the Chief of General Surgery at the 121st Combat Support Hospital (Seoul, South Korea). Dr. Nelson has authored more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received awards at both regional and National meetings for his research.

Emily Ho, MD (Breast)

Dr. Emily Ho obtained her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine (Detroit). While there she was president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. Additionally, she was nominated to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She then completed her surgical residency at the Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC, New York). At NUMC she served as chief resident and Graduate Medical Education representative. Dr. Ho’s research includes a third place poster at the regional annual conference for lung herniation in trauma. Additional research includes studies on hip fractures in the elderly at a public safety net hospital.

Ahmed Dehal, MD (Surg Onc)

Dr. Dehal obtained his medical degree from University of Baghdad in Iraq; he was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Georgia Southern University where he completed a Master’s degree in Public health and clinical research. As part of his MPH degree, he worked as a research assistant at Georgia Cancer Registry. He then joined the cancer research program at the American Cancer Society where he published several papers on colorectal cancer in the journal of clinical oncology. Dr. Dehal completed his surgical internship and residency training at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center/Kaiser (Fontana) program where he served as chief resident. An evidence-based review of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC conducted during his elective rotation at MSKCC was recently published in the journal of gastrointestinal oncology. Dr.Dehal also co-authored a chapter on colectomy in a surgical oncology textbook that is currently in press. His research on robotic colorectal surgery was recently presented at the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons meeting Santa Barbara.

Brooke Vuong, MD ( Surg Onc)

Dr. Brooke Vuong obtained her medical degree from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine and then completed surgical internship and residency training at Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles. Dr. Vuong’s general surgery research has included a thorough examination of bile duct injuries during cholecystectomy in a large managed health care organization, the effect of an appendectomy on the nosocomial Clostridium difficile infection, and the relationship between pediatric obesity and perforated appendicitis, all presented at regional, national, and international meetings. She has been involved in oncologic research projects focused on outcome of robotic hepatectomies, the extent of lymph node dissections in thyroid cancer, and the significance of porcelain gallbladder. She is currently enrolling patients in a clinical trial studying the benefit of prophylactic pre-operative pancreatic duct stenting on reducing the rate of post-operative pancreatic fistulas in distal pancreatectomies.