Resident/Fellow SCRIPS Scholars

Meet our current Resident/ Fellow Scholars:


Matthew Buendia, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2023

Research Mentor: Yash Choksi, MD & Christopher Williams, MD, PhD

About Matt: Dr. Buendia is an Instructor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Vanderbilt. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, he completed his Pediatrics residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and his fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN.  His clinical focus is on eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders in children.

Research Focus: Dr. Buendia’s research focuses on understanding mechanisms of the pathobiology of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). During fellowship, he joined the lab of Dr. Yash Choksi, a former SCRIPS awardee, studying the role of oxidative stress in EoE, and the role of antioxidants as potential therapeutic agents. He hopes to develop his research program over time with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets in the treatment of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs).


David Hanna, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2022

Research Mentor: Daniel Beauchamp, MD

About David: Dr. David N. Hanna is a general surgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He grew up in Baltimore and attending medical school there at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Hanna will graduate from surgical residency in 2024 and complete his Complex General Surgical Oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. David plans to pursue a career in surgical oncology with a focus in peritoneal surface malignancies. His greatest accomplishment is being a girl dad to Esther and Mary.
Research Focus: Dr. Hanna's research is centered on how SMAD4 suppresses tumor formation, particularly in the colon. He studies one of its major downstream signaling pathways to understand how SMAD4-regulated pathways alter the epithelial and stromal immune responses to inflammation to promote inflammation-associated cancer.


W. Kelly Wu, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2021

Research Mentor: Matthew Bacchetta, MD 

About Kelly: Dr. W. Kelly Wu is a general surgery resident in the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She grew up in Toronto, Canada and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto prior to attending Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She has a clinical interest in transplantation and aspires to be an abdominal transplant surgeon with research interests in organ salvage and regenerative medicine.

Research Focus: Significant donor organ shortages and waitlist mortality exist in liver transplantation, highlighting unmet needs for improved organ salvage techniques. Isolated, single-organ machine perfusion systems lack the ability to duplicate the myriad physiologic processes that maintain homeostasis in vivo. Dr. Wu's research focuses on developing a platform for the maintenance and recovery of ex vivo human donor livers using cross-circulation with porcine hosts to recapitulate a physiologic milieu and provide total homeostatic support. Learn more:…



Ruth Davis, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2022

Research Mentor: Alexander Gelbard, MD

Paula Marincola Smith, MD - Resident Physician - Vanderbilt University  Medical Center | LinkedIn

Paula Marincola Smith, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2020 

Research Mentor: R. Daniel Beauchamp, MD

About Paula: Dr. Paula Marincola Smith is a senior general surgery resident in the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Prior to residency, she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Maryland and with a medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She has a clinical interest in complex general surgical oncology, primarily of the gastro-entero-pancreatic variety, and plans to pursue an academic appointment as a surgeon scientist after she completes her training.

Research Focus: Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and around the world. The TGFβ signaling pathway plays an important role in intestinal homeostasis, and alterations in this pathway are highly associated with gastrointestinal pathologies including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Dr Marincola Smith is interested in learning how TGFβ signaling modulates intestinal inflammation and barrier function, and how alterations in this signaling pathway contribute to tumorigenesis. 

Kevin Motz

Kevin Motz, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2020-2021

Research Mentor: Alexander Gelbard, MD 

About Kevin: Dr. Kevin Motz is a laryngology (voice/airway) fellow in the department of Otolaryngology. He grew up in Hagerstown, MD and attended medical school at Georgetown University and completed his residency in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck surgery at Johns Hopkins. His research interests focus on immunologic mechanisms regulating pathologic airway fibrosis. 

Research Focus: Iatrogenic Laryngotracheal Stenosis (iLTS) is the pathologic narrowing of the glottis (voice box), subglottis, and/or trachea secondary to prolonged or traumatic endotracheal intubation. Dr. Motz’s research focuses on how aberrant immune responses influence the deposition of pathologic extracellular matrix in iLTS.  Specifically, he aims to identify specific macrophage phenotypes associated with iLTS, and to target the metabolic pathways that influence this phenotype in an effort to augment the aberrant fibroblast behavior that leads to iLTS disease development. 


Akshitkumar M. Mistry, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2018-2021

Primary Research Mentor: Rebecca A. Ihrie, PhD

About Mistry: Dr. Mistry is a senior neurosurgery resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Prior to commencing his residency, he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Virginia and with a medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He aspires to be a surgical neuro-oncologist with research interests in understanding the influence stem cell niches play in brain tumor biology.

Research Focus: Glioblastoma is a lethal brain tumor without any current targeted therapies. Dr. Mistry’s interest is to understand the interplay between glioblastoma and the prominent stem cell niche in the brain called the subventricular zone. Specifically, he aims to identify molecular drivers responsible for migration of glioblastoma cells towards the subventricular zone. Revealing these molecular drivers may expose potential therapeutic targets because these tumor-escaping cells that take up residence in the subventricular zone are believed to be responsible for tumor recurrence and treatment failure.

Yash Chokski.jpg

Yash Choksi, MD

SCRIPS Scholar 2018-2020

Research Mentor: Chris Williams, MD, PhD 

About Yash: Dr. Yash Choksi is a Clinical Instructor in Gastroenterology. He grew up in Middle TN, left briefly for college (go Blue Devils!), and returned to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt for medical school, internal medicine residency, and gastroenterology fellowship as a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program (Harrison Society). His research interests include defining the role of eosinophils in esophageal cancers and the role of oxidative stress in eosinophilic esophagitis.

Research Focus: Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, allergic inflammatory disorder of the esophagus. Uncontrolled EoE can lead to fibrosis which can result in frequent esophageal dilation and a significant change in eating habits. Dr. Choksi is interested in uncovering mechanisms by which oxidative stress leads to the development of fibrotic disease. Specifically, selenoproteins, which protect against oxidative injury, modulate inflammation in the gut. Glutathione peroxidase 3 (Gpx3), the only known extracellular form of glutathione peroxidase, is present in plasma and the esophagus. The role of Gpx3 in EoE is currently unknown. His hope is that improving the understanding Gpx3 in disease pathogenesis will provide insights that could be useful either in drug development or in monitoring disease activity.

Application for 2021 Resident and Fellow SCRIPS Scholar Positions

2021 application cycle is now closed. Instructions archived for reference.

SCRIPS is soliciting nominations from for two 2021 Resident/Fellow SCRIPS Scholar positions, to begin on July 1, 2021. In the first year, Scholars will receive salary support ($80k), 50% support of a technician ($20k), funds for research supplies ($20k), and support toward loan repayment ($10k.) Fellows will be eligible for up to 2 additional years of research supplies ($20k/year) and 50% of a technician ($20k/year), and graded loan repayment ($20k in year 2 and $40k in year 3). Scholars will also receive career mentoring from prestigious internal and external Physician Scientists.

Eligibility: Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Single degree MD or DO (MD/PhD not eligible.)
  • Resident or Fellow in final year of residency/fellowship research OR Instructor (must be less than 2 years since initial appointment.)
  • Appointment must be in a field representing surgery, gynecology, anesthesiology, interventional radiology or a medical or pediatric interventional sub-specialty.
  • Training must be in basic/translational research, sponsored in a basic research laboratory where the applicant is embedded.
  • Commitment to continue academic career in basic/translational research.
  • Must be able to attend a virtual interview on February 25, 2021.

To apply: Submit the following via by 11:59 p.m. on January 15, 2021.

  • Research proposal (up to 6 pages, NIH F32 format recommended)
  • Updated CV
  • Letters of support from 1) candidate’s research mentor and 2) appropriate Division Chief or Department Chair
  • Up to two additional letters of support (Optional)

For more information, contact Program Director Jim Goldenring, MD, PhD ( or Sr. Program Manager Amy Martinez, PhD (