Alexander Brescia

Alexander Brescia, MD, MSc

House Officer 7, Integrated Thoracic Surgery Residency


Alex was born in Maryland and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended undergrad at the University of Notre Dame, where he double majored in Science Preprofessional Studies and Chinese. After spending 6 months in a lung immunology basic science lab and the next 6 months as a U.S. Student Ambassador at the Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion in Shanghai, China, he completed his medical degree at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. During cardiothoracic residency at the University of Michigan, he has been a member of the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association Executive Committee and served as the President during the 2020-2021 academic year. His research interests include studying the impact of the rapid dissemination of transcatheter technology (e.g., transcatheter aortic valve replacement) on access, outcomes, and resource utilization in cardiac surgery. Additional interests include adult cardiac and aortic surgery clinical outcomes, as well as acute postoperative opioid prescribing and the development of new persistent opioid use among thoracic and cardiac surgical patients.

Academic Development Time (ADT)

During my ADT time, I was a health services research fellow at the University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI). During the first year of ADT, I earned a Masters (MSc) in Health and Healthcare Research through IHPI and the Rackham Graduate School. During the two-year ADT period, I was supported through a Vascular Surgery Institutional National Research Service Award T32 training grant. My dedicated research time during ADT provided the opportunity to learn a deeper level of research methodology and apply those principles to health services and clinical outcomes projects in mitral valve surgery, aortic surgery, surgical management of heart failure, and perioperative pain management including acute postoperative opioid prescribing.

During the ADT period, we worked with stakeholders in the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative to establish and implement statewide opioid prescribing guidelines for patients undergoing cardiac surgery, which resulted in decreased opioid prescribing and decreased opioid use by patients. In addition, I was awarded a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Investigator Initiated Research Grant for $70,000 to perform a randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of non-pharmacological techniques on perioperative pain, anxiety, and stress relating to cardiac surgery. In addition to the privilege of giving oral abstract presentations at national and international meetings, my co-resident Curtis Bergquist and I were fortunate to defeat an opposing team from Berlin, Germany to win the 2020 International Cardiothoracic Surgery Jeopardy Championship while representing the University of Michigan.


My mentorship team has been an invaluable resource during both clinical training and dedicated research time. The collection of individuals who have mentored me in clinical outcomes, health services research, and career development have not only greatly enhanced my training and prospective career but have also taught me how to mentor younger co-residents during training.


  • Undergraduate: University of Notre Dame
  • Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
  • Graduate School: University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School


Get to Know Dr. Alex Brescia, Resident Liaison

Why Michigan Surgery

"I chose to train at Michigan because it is the most well-rounded and best cardiothoracic surgery training program in the country. The depth of training in adult cardiac, general thoracic, and congenital cardiac surgery you receive at the University of Michigan is unmatched and being afforded the opportunity to train here has been a privilege. As one of the few I-6 programs matching multiple residents per year, we have one of the largest integrated CT training programs in the country, which enhances camaraderie among co-residents during every aspect of training."

Life in Ann Arbor

"Ann Arbor is a vibrant city which includes the University of Michigan but is much more than a college town. Notably in the summer, there are events being held every weekend which draw people from inside and outside Michigan. An underrated part of living in Ann Arbor is the extremely close Detroit airport, which has been ranked one of the top airports in the country and makes travel simple and easy. Finally, from going 'up north' to the central and western parts of state, Michigan has a ton to offer and endless opportunities to explore."


"I thoroughly enjoy following St. Louis sports teams, namely the St. Louis Cardinals. I also enjoy watching and playing sports and spending time with my family."