Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Education >> Residency Training Bonica Scholars Program

Residency Training Program:
Bonica Scholars Program
Developing anesthesiology Leaders in Research and Innovation


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UW Dept of Anesthesiology Research

Overview and Introduction

Bonica Portrait
Dr. John J. Bonica

The University of Washington (UW) Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine is committed to training the future leaders in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. As one of the top grant funded anesthesiology departments in the United States, our diverse research faculty are internationally renowned for their scholarship in numerous disciplines. These areas cover neuroscience, pharmacology, pain physiology, global perioperative health, health care economics, bioengineering, clinical trials, outcomes research, quality improvement, bioethics and many other inter-disciplinary areas of innovation.

The Bonica Scholars Research Program is a selective research residency track that fosters scientific discovery in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. Our program is designed to provide world-class clinical and research training for exceptional individuals who desire a career in academic anesthesiology. We select up to two individuals a year through the residency match process.

The Bonica Scholars Research Program derives its name from Dr. John Bonica, a pioneer in pain medicine and the first chair of the Anesthesiology Department at UW. Widely considered the founding father of pain management, Dr. Bonica established the first multi-disciplinary pain center and authored more than 240 articles and the quintessential pain medicine textbook The Management of Pain. Continuing his research legacy, the Bonica Scholars Research Program is a 5 to 7-year training opportunity for anesthesiology residents committed to a career in academic research. Our goal is to provide high quality clinical training, rigorous research instruction and comprehensive mentoring to support successful academic careers.

A full description of the program is available at this link.

Timeline and Scholarship

The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) allows for a maximum of 11 months of research time during the four required post-graduate years of anesthesiology residency training. Our flexible program allocates this research time starting in the first clinical base intern year and during the subsequent years of clinical anesthesia (CA) training (see Table). We also provide up to $20,000 in research funding that can be used during the program. During the second half of the CA3 year, a 24 month dedicated research training begins with six months of allotted research time. This initiates an appointment as a trainee in the NIH funded T32 postdoctoral training program within the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. After this period the Bonica Scholar remains in the department as a T32 fellow.

Video link to the personal experiences of 3 scholars can be found HERE.

T32 Fellowship: The T32 postdoctoral fellowship in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine research provides a minimum of 2 years of intensive research training (with an option to apply for a third year of support). Training begins in the CA 3 year, which is followed consecutively by an additional 18 months of 80% dedicated research time as a T32 fellow. For a detailed description of the T32 program, please see

Research Allocation

This table shows the general allocation of research time during the post-graduate years (PGY), which includes a clinical base year (CBY), three clinical anesthesia (CA) years and 18 months as a fellow.

Clinical and Research Training Facilities

Our department provides clinical residency training at our four main academic hospitals: University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), Harborview Medical Center (HMC), Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) and the VA Puget Sound (VAPUG).

Photos of Clinical and Research Training Facilities

We have additional research facilities and faculty working at the University of Washington, School of Medicine South Lake Union, the University of Washington Main Campus adjacent to the UWMC, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) in downtown Seattle, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute.

Photos of Clinical and Research Training Facilities

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Core Research Areas

The UW Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine has four core focus areas of research across our hospitals and research institutions: pain medicine and neuroscience, mitochondrial biology and genomics, clinical outcomes and epidemiology and medical training and patient education.

Pain Medicine Research AreasOverview of Current Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Research Areas

Many of our faculty collaborate with academic departments across UW School of Medicine, which received over $340 million in NIH funding in FY2019 and ranks among the best medical schools in the nation in both primary care and research. The UW Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine also ranks among the top NIH-funded anesthesiology departments in the US, and has been awarded a prestigious T32 NIH grant to support the development of clinician researchers.

Bonica Scholars can perform research in any of the centers listed above or collaborate with faculty in other departments at the UW or its many affiliates. Our goal is to expose scholars to research experiences that will facilitate identification of a research focus and begin the path towards research independence. In addition to research time, we provide grant writing seminars, journal clubs, work-in-progress seminars and a writer’s workshop for manuscripts in progress. Awarded a Clinical and Translational Science Award by the NIH, the UW has an Institute for Translational Health Sciences (ITHS), which hosts career development seminars and offers educational programs with possibility of formal degree award (MPH, MS, MSE, MSHS or PhD). These programs are available to Bonica Scholars during their training.

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Selection Process

The Bonica Scholars are selected through the National Residency Match Process (NRMP) in March of each year. Residents are required to apply to the core residency program using the Electronic Resident Application Service (ERAS). Applicants are also required to complete a short additional Bonica Scholars application questionnaire about their research interests and career goals.

Bonica Scholars candidates will be selected for interview based on their accomplishments including: performance in medical school and undergraduate studies, USMLE (or equivalent) scores, prior research experience and success, leadership, volunteer and professional activities. Candidates will be invited to a reception with members of the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee, which is held 2-3 times during the interview season in conjunction with general resident interviews. In addition, candidates will be encouraged to meet and/or discuss their career goals and research interests with UW faculty members. Candidates will be evaluated based on their academic merit, previous experience and their performance during the interviews.

A rank order of candidates will be submitted to the NRMP (program number 1918040C2). Candidates for the Bonica Scholars Program are not excluded from applying for the general 4-year residency program or 5-year combined ICU program. We encourage interested candidates to rank the UW Anesthesiology residency program in addition to ranking the Bonica Scholars Research Program. Applications for the Bonica Scholars Research Program are accepted only through the NRMP system. Successful candidates will join the anesthesiology CBY in June after the match.

Program Oversight and Expectations

The Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee, and the Residency Program Director oversee the Bonica Scholars Program and the individual Bonica Scholar.

Oversight Committee Members
Dr. Burkhard Mackensen, Interim Department Chair
Dr. Michael Crowder
Dr. Karen Domino, Vice Chair for Clinical Research
Dr. Matt Hallman, Residency Program Director
Dr. Philip Morgan, Director for Research at SCH
Dr. Tonya Palermo, NIH T32 Fellowship Director
Dr. Margaret Sedensky, Vice Chair for Basic Research and
Bonica Program Director

In addition to the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee, each Bonica Scholar has a clinical and a research mentoring team. Each scholar undergoes a formal annual review to assess academic progress. The Residency Program Director will have overall responsibility for scheduling the Bonica Scholars’ research time in a way that both meets the Bonica Scholar's academic needs and clinical training requirements.

In order to remain in good standing in the residency program, all residents (including the Bonica Scholar residents) must satisfy the essential requirements mandated by the ACGME, the ABA and the UW Anesthesiology residency program (described in detail in the UW Anesthesiology Resident Manual). Residents who enter the Bonica Scholars Program are required to maintain a high standard of clinical, professional, and academic achievement. Specifically, Bonica Scholars residents must be at or above the ACGME and ABA milestone levels for their training year.

Current Bonica Scholars

Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Mitra Heshmati, MD, PhD, CA1

Mitra Heshmati, MD, PhD, CA3

Mitra is a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She completed her PhD dissertation under the supervision of Scott J. Russo, PhD. Her studies focused on inhibitory synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens after chronic social stress in a mouse model, utilizing viral-mediated gene transfer, electrophysiology and behavioral tools to investigate cell-type specific circuits. Her work was supported by an NIMH F30 grant.

Mitra is continuing to study mesolimbic dopamine circuitry as a Bonica scholar in the laboratory of Michael Bruchas, PhD. Her project focuses on the role of dopaminergic signaling in promoting emergence from anesthesia, comparing effects of commonly used intravenous and inhalational anesthetics, using in vivo fiber photometry and neural circuit dissection in mice. In the future, she plans to continue developing relevant translational models to further a mechanistic understanding of mesolimbic circuits engaged in anesthesia and pain states that will advance both clinical anesthesiology and basic neuroscience. Here is a link to Mitra's publications on Google Scholar


Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Kevin Su, MD, PhD, CBY

Kevin Su, MD, PhD, CA2

Kevin was born raised in Taipei, Taiwan and did his undergraduate studies at Duke University. As a Howard Hughes Research Fellow at Duke, he studied the role of a novel group of kinesins in meiosis, and in particular, its implications in chromosomal missegregation. He went on to pursue a dual MD-PhD degree at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Yale University.

Holding strong interest in cardiac pathophysiology, Kevin served as a research fellow for the NIH-supported Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network, where he designed and implemented a multi-center study that evaluated various management practices that increase patients’ infection risks following cardiac surgery. For his doctoral thesis, Kevin researched the role of the LKB1-AMPK stress signaling pathway in arrhythmogenesis and was awarded the Gruber Science Fellowship for his work in atrial electrophysiology. In his free time, Kevin enjoys sweating it out in fun group fitness classes on weekdays and exploring the great outdoors on weekends. As a Bonica Scholar, Kevin is excited to explore research opportunities at the Mitochondria and Metabolism Center.


Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
David Young, MD, PhD, CBY

David Young, MD, PhD, CA2

Dave grew up in Reno, Nevada, where he completed an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Nevada, Reno. As an undergraduate, and for two years afterwards, he worked with Dr. Tamas Ordog, studying gene expression and drug response in the stem cells that give rise to Interstitial Cells of Cajal, the pacemakers of the gut and precursors of a neoplasm called a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Before starting the Bonica residency track, he completed his MD and PhD at the University of Washington. During graduate school, he worked with Professor Stanley Fields in the Department of Genome Sciences to develop and apply high throughput methods for functionally characterizing genetic variation within synthesized libraries of mutants, using these new assays to study cancer susceptibility genes as well as more general questions about protein folding, evolution, and genetic interactions. His research interests remain broad, but he is particularly interested in the biased agonism, or qualitative intracellular signaling differences, among mu opiod receptor agonists, as well as the potential diagnostic utility of a variety of nucleic acid based assays in critically ill patients.

Dr. Philip Chung
Philip Chung, MD, CBY

Philip Chung, MD, MS, CA1

Philip grew up in Los Angeles, CA. He obtained his undergraduate degree at University of California, Berkeley in Bioengineering. He then completed the UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Masters in Translational Medicine program during which he kickstarted a Gates Foundation-funded project to develop a device for detecting early preterm birth. He then went on to medical school at University of California, San Francisco and took a 1-year hiatus to work at Google AI Healthcare. As a Bonica Scholar, areas of interest include medical informatics, natural language processing and deep learning.


Dr. Miles Fontenot
Miles Fontenot, MD, PhD, CBY



Miles Fontenot, MD, PhD, CA1

Miles grew up near Houston, TX before attending UT Austin as an undergraduate. He then went on to UT Southwestern, where he completed his neuroscience PhD in the genomics of human brain evolution with Dr. Gena Konopka. Moving forward, he is interested in basic neuroscience and pain research. In his free time, Miles enjoys rock climbing, hiking, music, and hanging out with his dog Travis.


Dr. Ksenia Ershova
Ksenia Ershova, MD, MS, CBY

Ksenia Ershova, MD, MS, CBY

Ksenia was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia and attended Saint Petersburg Pavlov State Medical University. She did her residency in anesthesiology and critical care at the same school. She attended Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology for graduate school with a major in data-driven biomedicine. Her master’s thesis in antibiotic resistance in the ICU was completed at USC’s Keck School of Medicine in Dr. Brad Spellberg’s lab. Her current area of research is healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in neurocritical care. She studies risk factors and outcomes of various HAIs using machine learning algorithms and mathematical modeling.

Ksenia’s research goal is to improve quality of care by studying routinely collected critical care and anesthesiology data using high-throughput technologies and advanced mathematical modeling. As a result, potentially developing AI for clinical decision-making, support, and patient safety monitoring. The link to her Scopus page:

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Bonica Scholars Alumni

Class of 2020

Dr. Kelly Michaelsen

Dr. Kelly


Kelly Michaelsen, MD, PhD

Kelly received funding from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) in her last year of residency to use smart eyewear for automation of drug delivery documentation in the operating room. She aims to transform anesthesiology electronic medical records by documenting actions in real time in the operating room to decrease EMR errors and improve patient care and safety. She joined the UWMC Anesthesiology faculty upon graduation.



Dr. Flora Li

Dr. Flora Li

Flora Li, MD

Flora entered residency with an interest in echocardiography and cardiac anesthesia. At the University of Washington, she explored these interests by looking at novel uses of 3D TEE for perioperative guidance for interventional cardiology procedures. University of Washington is a national leader at performing placement of the Mitraclip device, and she has worked with institutional data to characterize procedural outcomes and the use of perioperative TEE measures of left ventricular function to predict Mitraclip outcomes. She is currently a cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellow here.

Thank you for your interest
in the Bonica Scholars Research Program

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Please call, email or write if you need additional information or assistance. Contact Ms. Robin Boland at 206-543-2773, fax 206-543-2958 or email

Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine
University of Washington, Box 356540
1959 NE Pacific Street, BB-1469
Seattle, WA 98195-6540
Phone: 206-543-2673
Fax: 206-543-2958

Our program is indexed on the AMA's Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA). Go to FREIDA and search for our program using our 10-digit identifier: 0405421161

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