UK Department of Surgery welcomes eight new faculty members in 2020

The UK Department of Surgery will welcome eight new faculty members for the 2020 academic year. The first, Dr. Carl Backer, a national leader in pediatric heart transplants and cardiac surgery, began his practice and leadership role at UK HealthCare in June. The remaining faculty members will begin practicing in August, September, and October.

Faculty members to begin practice in August will be trauma and critical care surgeons associated with the Division of Acute Care Surgery, Trauma, and Critical Care Surgery (ACSTCCS). Drs. Colin Fath and Tyler Koestner are joining as 1-year term instructors. Dr. Meir Meerkov, however, is returning to the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor. Meerkov is a 2016 alum of the UK General Surgery Residency program. He finished a Trauma fellowship at Case Western Reserve with the intent of returning to Kentucky for his professional practice.

In September and October, thoracic surgeons Mansi Shah, MD and Clint Morgan, MD, PhD, will join the faculty in Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Shah, who completed her general surgery training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her fellowship at UK in 2020, was successfully recruited to stay on at UK as faculty in the Division of CT Surgery, Section of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Morgan hails from the University of Wisconsin, where he completed both his general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery training. Rounding out the new faculty will be Dr. Morgan Brgoch, Plastic and Hand Surgery (fellowship: the Medical College of Wisconsin), and abdominal transplant specialist, Dr. Siddharth Desai (fellowship: Emory University). 

According to Dr. William B. Inabnet III, the Johnston-Wright endowed professor and chair of Surgery, the department needs to augment its present faculty to meet increasing demands for advanced surgical services across most of its divisions. With UK HealthCare opening new services and new surgical facilities at its Turfland location in 2021, there will be a need for further specialists and researchers in Bariatric surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, as well as in many other disciplines.

“It is important that the Department of Surgery continues to keep pace with the region’s need for surgeons skilled in providing the most advanced services available,” Dr. Inabnet said. 


Dr. Carl Backer

Carl L. Backer, MD
Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at 
UK Kentucky Children’s Hospital
(Click here for a feature story on Dr. Backer)

Formerly served at the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he served as the surgical director of the pediatric heart transplant program and the A.C. Buehler Professor of Surgery since 2001. He has been an attending surgeon in the division of cardiovascular-thoracic surgery since 1988, and served as head of that division from 2008 to 2018.
Societies and organizations: Currently serving as president of the Mayo Alumni Association, Director with the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Past President of the Congenital Heart Surgeons Society, Fellow for the American Surgical Association and the American Heart Association, The governing council for the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.
Dr. Backer has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and edited six textbooks on cardiac surgery.
Medical Degree: Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn.
Surgical Residency: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center.
Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery: Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.



Meri Meerkov, MD

Meir B.L. Meerkov, MD, MSE
Assistant Professor
Division of Acute Care Surgery/Trauma/Critical Care Surgery

Graduate School: MS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan
Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School
General Surgery Residency: University of Kentucky
Trauma/Surgical Critical Care Fellow: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine


Colin Fath, MD

Colin Fath, MD
Division of Acute Care Surgery/Trauma/Critical Care Surgery

Medical School:
Wayne State School of Medicine, Detroit Michigan, 2014
General Surgery Residency: University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, 2014-2019
Surgical Critical Care Fellow: University of Kentucky, 2019-2020


Tyler Koestner, MD

Tyler Koestner, MD
Division of Acute Care Surgery/Trauma/Critical Care Surgery

Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine
Surgical Critical Care Fellow: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
General Surgery Residency: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Dr. Mansi Shah

Mansi Shah, MD
Assistant Professor, Thoracic Surgeon
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Medical Degree: Boston University, School of Medicine, Boston, MA.
Surgical Residency: University of North Carolina Hospital
T32 Research Fellow: University of North Carolina
Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery: University of Kentucky


Morgan Brgoch, MD

Morgan Brgoch, MD
Assistant Professor, General Plastic, Microsurgery, and Hand Surgeon
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Medical Degree: Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Plastic Surgery Residency: Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Combined Hand Surgery Fellowship: Medical College of Wisconsin


Siddharth Desai, MD

Siddharth Desai, MD
Assistant Professor, Transplant Surgery
Division of Transplantation

Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, 2012
General Surgery Residency: University of Mississippi, Jackson, 2013-2018
Abdominal Transplant Fellowship: Emory University, Atlanta, 2018-2020 


Dr. Clint Morgan

Clint Morgan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Thoracic Surgeon
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Integrated Medical School/Doctoral: MD/PhD in Biochemistry, Medicine, and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Integrated Program, School of Medicine and Public Health.
General Surgery Residency: University of Wisconsin
Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellow: University of Wisconsin