Resident Research Opportunities

3 Beakers 

The general surgery training program is a 5-year program with an option to take additional years devoted to research. There are opportunities to pursue research projects in a variety of ways including both basic and clinical projects. Several of the faculty in the Department of Surgery have funded research laboratories. Our residents are encouraged to seek positions in their labs as a priority if they desire to perform basic science research. There are extensive patient databases in both surgical oncology and trauma that can be analyzed to produce clinical data. Prospective clinical trials are more difficult to manage, but opportunities exist to be involved with these, although timing is of the essence to be able to present and publish results. A resident may also pursue advanced degrees in basic science, public health, and business. Please see research tabs for more information.

The following guidelines apply to general surgery residents interested in taking 1 or 2 years (3 years in the unusual circumstance) for research and additional training after either their PGY-2 or PGY-3 year.

Is there a certain timeline to declare my intent?

General surgery residents who are interested in taking a 1 or 2 year research or additional clinical training away from their general surgical training must declare the intent by the timelines outlined below. The intent of a research/additional training year must have a clear goal and intent for future education and/or practice.

  • The end of the resident’s PGY-1 year if the resident wishes to go out after their PGY-2 year.
  • The end of the resident’s PGY-2 year if the resident wishes to go out after their PGY-3 year.
Do I need to seek approval?

The declaration and discussion for research or additional training must be confirmed by the following three individuals.

Are there restrictions on my choice of research mentors?

Residents must have an agreed upon and established mentor first within the Department of Surgery and if not within the Department of Surgery then upon an agreed upon mentor outside of the Department of Surgery.

What are the current research/additional training options that are available?
  1. Trauma Critical Care Fellowship
  3. Surgical Quality Research Fellowship
  5. Surgical Oncology/Immuno-Oncology Research
  7. ERCP Advanced Pancreaticobiliary Fellowship
What if there are more residents than research slots?

These opportunities will be made available to the appropriate-year resident as well as to the resident who shows specific knowledge and technical proficiency during their initial PGY-1 to PGY-3 years while at the University of Louisville. In the event that there are more residents for research slots for any given year, then the residents will be selected based on:

  1. Absite Scores from year 1 and 2.
  3. Average Med Hub scores.
  5. Demonstration of research interest during year 1 and first 6 months of 2nd year (i.e., papers, book chapters).
  7. The necessity of the planned chosen fellowship – requires research experience and productivity.
Are there accountability requirements with publications?

Reasonable Productivity and Accountability Metrics for Residents Interested in Research

  • A resident taking 1 year of research is required to produce at least 4-5 peer-review manuscripts in the research focus area and at least 2-3 submitted abstracts to specialty, national, and regional surgical meetings.
  • A resident taking 2 years of research is required to produce at least 8-10 peer review manuscripts in the research focus area as well as strong consideration for additional education such as a master’s to further enhance research productivity.

Susan Galandiuk, MD (Digestive Surgery): She is the Director of the Price Institute of Surgical Research and head of the Digestive Surgery Research Laboratory. Located in the Price Institute in the MDR building, her lab has focused on the genetic predisposition to inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

Brian G. Harbrecht, MD (Trauma and Critical Care): He is the Director of Trauma Surgery. Located in the MDR building, his research has centered on the role of insulin control of NO production in hepatocytes as well as funded clinical investigations in trauma and emergency services.

Robert C. G. Martin, II, MD, PhD (Surgical Oncology) Located in the Price Institute in the MDR building, his research has focused on optimal treatment for all stages of pancreatic cancer and optimal management of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Kelly M. McMasters, MD, PhD (Surgical Oncology): Located in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, our Chair directs basic investigations in melanoma, immunotherapy, and breast cancer.

Jun Yan, MD, PhD (Director, Immunotherapy Research): Located in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building. Research includes breakthrough science involving the immune system.

Surgical residents have the opportunity to pursue advanced basic science degrees (Masters, Ph.D.) and have done so with subsequent successful academic careers. Virtually all have done so through a cooperative program between the Departments of Surgery and Physiology.

Virtually all of the faculty are engaged in clinical research projects, including retrospective studies and prospective clinical trials that follow their particular disciplines. Many of these are highlighted in the clinical funding and other funding sections of the Research section.

Residents may choose to work with several faculty in the course of performing both basic and/or clinical research including the pursuit of advanced degrees. Several residents have chosen to obtain a Master of Public Health or Master of Science degree from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Most residents who take time off for one or two years of dedicated research will be active in both clinical and basic science research with their surgical faculty mentors. The areas available for study with dedicated faculty mentors are quite diverse.