Alumnus Treats Cancer Population as Reconstructive Microsurgeon at the No. 1 Cancer Center in the Nation

As a reconstructive microsurgeon at the nation’s No. 1 cancer center, Alex Mericli ’05 uses his deep knowledge of plastic surgery to overcome the unexpected and make strides toward eliminating cancer. 

In his current position as a plastic surgeon and associate professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mericli continues to reflect on how beneficial his liberal arts background was since it not only taught him facts but broadly educated him on how to approach problems. 

“I think plastic surgery is the liberal arts of surgery because we’re required to know bits and pieces of techniques; surgical anatomy from all over the body,” says Mericli, who majored in biology and minored in English. “When you’re presented with a problem, you haven’t necessarily been faced with before, you at least know how to go about solving it.”

Alexander Mericli- Alumni Feature

After graduating from Allegheny College with his bachelor’s degree, Mericli attended Jefferson Medical College and trained as a plastic surgeon for six years at the University of Virginia. He later moved into a microsurgery fellowship at the University of Texas, where he continued his work. 

When he is not performing reconstructive surgery, Mericli is busy conducting clinical research on the effectiveness of plastic surgery procedures or helping lead the entire operating room as the medical director of perioperative surgical services for the health system.

“The most rewarding thing about my career is that on a daily basis, I am able to design creative solutions for challenging problems, directly helping patients,” Mericli says.

He also credits his experience at Allegheny College with teaching him to understand science deeper, critically evaluate academic literature, and perform research. 

Mericli adds that his minor in English strengthened his communication skills. Indeed, he has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, chapters in major plastic surgery textbooks, and is an internationally recognized lecturer on reconstruction surgery. 

“The education at Allegheny College can’t be beaten,” Mericli says. “Regardless of what field you end up going into, Allegheny graduates are set up for success and stand out. Current students should be excited and energized by their Allegheny College experience, to know that it will serve them well when it comes time for them to start out on their own careers.”