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Dr. Shailesh Agarwal

Dr. Shailesh Agarwal Dr. Shailesh Agarwal is a Associate Surgeon Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Dr. Shailesh Agarwal
Dr. Shailesh Agarwal is a Associate Surgeon Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Where are you from?
I am from troy, Michigan which is located in the southeast part of the state.

What made you choose plastic surgery?
I chose plastic surgery because it is a field with a rich history of mentorship and innovation. Early mentorship that I received in medical school from Dr. Lawrence Gottlieb and Dr. Jayant Agarwal both shaped my interest in plastic surgery as a field of creativity.

What brought you to Brigham and Women’s Hospital?
I came to the Brigham because of the commitment and support that I have received from my Division Chief, Dr. Andrea Pusic. The Brigham has a tradition of basic science research and translational science and after speaking with senior and mid-career faculty in the Division, I realized this was the right place for me.

What new developments are you most excited about as you anticipate the future of plastic surgery?
I am most excited that there is no single direction that plastic surgery is going. I think it is amazing to see plastic surgery branching out, with leaders in research across the field. Whether it is muscle physiology, fat biology, nerve regeneration, bone healing, etc., we are at the forefront. It’s the transformation of this breadth of experience to depth of inquiry that is most exciting to me.

What is the hardest part about your job?
Saying no to good idea or opportunity.

What is your favorite part about your job?
Talking to and learning about my patients, coming up with a surgical plan, and executing it to their and my satisfaction.

What was it like transitioning from trainee to attending physician?
It’s been a very enjoyable transition. In the operating room, we make thousands of decisions without knowing it. Often as a trainee, we make those decisions piece meal and, at least in my experience, gauging feedback from the attending. However as an attending physician, we make those thousands of decisions a little bit faster and without looking to others for immediate feedback. It is an immense amount of responsibility but also one that is rewarding.

You have done a significant amount of research, including a NIH-Funded post-doctoral research fellowship during residency. How your interests changed and what is the current focus of your work?
During my NIH post-doctoral research fellowship, I studied heterotopic ossification under the mentorship of Dr. Benjamin Levi. From the experience, I learned how to interrogate complex biologic systems after injury. I remain interested in understanding signaling mechanisms which underlie pathologic cellular function. However, now I am interested in leveraging those pathologic mechanisms for tissue healing and genetic engineering.

What is the best advice you have ever received throughout your training and career?
There’s not a single piece of advice I can quote word for word. However, the general advice I received was to make myself available – be it for science or clinical collaboration – an email, an hour on zoom, a phone call, etc. can be the beginning of a productive relationship.

What advice do you have for medical students interested in plastic surgery?
Understand the personal history of someone who inspires you; understand why they were interested in whatever it is they do – plastic surgery, medicine, engineering, art, cooking, etc. What are the general “categories” that one should think about when selecting your lifelong career.

What are you looking forward to most as a new PSRC Member?
Meeting other junior faculty who are starting their careers and learning how they are making it work. Advising residents who are interested in an academic career and helping them navigate the process as they build their trajectory towards this goal.


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