Biomedical research within the Department of Surgery encompasses opportunities in basic science and clinical research. Positions include standard basic science laboratory practicum for two to-three years with a mentor chosen by the resident in an NIH-funded laboratory. Research cores include cardiac and vascular biology, cancer biology, immunology, wound healing and the systemic response to sepsis, neurotology, shock and trauma, and gastrointestinal disease.
The research mission of the General Surgery Residency Program is accomplished within the context of the University of Rochester's peer review-funded basic science and clinical research programs. The University ranks in the top third of medical schools with NIH peer review grant funding.
The University of Rochester offers exciting research opportunities in addition to excellent clinical training. Whether your interests lie in molecular or cell biology, surgical simulation, resident education, cancer outcomes, population health sciences, systems analysis or any other surgical discipline, we will work together to design a research experience with outstanding mentors. Our goal is for our trainees to be prepared to be the leaders in the next generation of academic surgery.
The research opportunities available for residents during training at the University of Rochester are diverse. Many general surgery residents spend between one and three years of dedicated research time during their residency training between their PGY 2 and PGY3 years, but scheduling of this experience is flexible. While research during surgical residency years is optional, the majority of residents take advantage of the opportunity to expand their academic pursuits for career advancement.
Residents can pursue research opportunities in laboratories in the surgical basic science or other clinical science departments at the University of Rochester. It is important to know that residents are not limited to laboratory work. Many choose to engage in clinical research and participate in the University of Rochester’s Surgical Health Outcomes & Research Enterprise (SHORE) program. Additionally some have chosen to obtain additional advanced degrees such as a Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Clinical Investigation.
A particularly unique resource in our department is the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control and Survivorship Programs led by Gary R. Morrow, Ph.D., M.S., with world-class opportunities for scholarly pursuits to investigate cancer related side effects. The National Cancer Institute awarded $24.8 million to fund Dr. Morrow and is team in their efforts to design and manage clinical studies that will be implemented nationally. Wilmot is one of only two academic cancer centers in the U.S. to be chosen by the NCI as a research hub for the NCI Community Oncology Research Program.
Importantly, funding is available for laboratory expenses and salary for residents during their research years. Many surgical sections have funding to support residents performing specialized clinical and basic science research within their division. As part of their research training, all residents will learn grant writing skills and have the opportunity to present their work at local and national meetings. Residents are also eligible to apply for medical school loan repayment programs through the National Institutes of Health, which may yield an additional $35,000 a year for each spent in laboratory research, in addition to regular salary support.
This year marked the Department of Surgery’s Second Annual Research Symposium in which Gilbert R. Upchurch Jr., MD, our keynote speaker, presented a talk entitled "From Mentoree to Mentor: Academic Lessons Learned Along the Way". His lecture was followed by an abstract competition in which residents presented their research to a panel of peers and a research fair highlighting over 40 poster presentations from the Department of Surgery. Residents whose presentations and posters were awarded the highest scores were given awards.
Residents are also free to moonlight during the research years, provided it does not interfere with their research responsibilities.
As Associate Program Director for Research, it is my responsibility to ensure that each resident finds a research opportunity that meets his/her academic and career goals. Towards this end, I meet with each resident early and often during the early years of residency to begin this process and ensure progress.
Peter A. Prieto, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Research for the Residency Program
Paul Burchard, M.D.
Basic science and translational research in pre-clinical models of cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Specific focus on the interaction between these malignancies and the tumor microenvironment to develop novel therapeutic approaches to patient care.
Miranda Chacon, M.D.
Machine learning, statistical modeling, and translational research in the ECLIPSe (Engineering & Clinical Laboratory for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery) Lab, with a specific focus on computational modeling of the small intestine for the study of short bowel syndrome.
Yatee Dave, M.D.
Basic science and translational research, with a focus on exploring the interaction between tumor microenvironment and immune system via preclinical models of cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Benjamin Ford, M.D.
Clinical outcomes research at SHORE (Surgical Health Outcomes & Research Enterprise). Specifically focusing on hemodialysis access outcomes and geographic disparities in access to care and outcomes across the spectrum of vascular surgery care.
Peter Juviler, M.D.
Quality improvement research with the goal of improving patient care quality, safety, and value through interventions at various levels across the hospital system. Currently engaged in projects with the Department of Pediatric Surgery and our Department of Surgery's Value Incubator, an entity developed to investigate and promote value-based care.
Anthony Loria, M.D.
Outcomes research at SHORE (Surgical Health Outcomes & Research Enterprise). Specifically focusing on long term outcomes following intestinal resection and novel interventions to preserve renal function.
Chelsea Marin, M.D.
Basic science and translational research in pre-clinical models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, with a specific emphasis on the interaction between the tumor microenvironment and the immune system to develop new therapeutic options for treatment of these cancers.
Alexa Melucci, M.D.
Basic science, translational, and outcomes research in surgical oncology and cancer immunology. Specifically, focusing on fasting and the impact of immunotherapy in treatment of melanoma.
Neilesh Parikh, M.D.
Immunotherapy and Surgical Oncology Research Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Surgery Branch. Focusing on adoptive cell therapy for the treatment of metastatic epithelial cancer.
Orjola Prela, M.D.
The gene that encodes the transcription factor, p53 (TP53) is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer for which no effective targeted anti-cancer drug exists. Restoring the function of p53 has been shown to be therapeutic in mouse cancer models. I am currently working with a series of compounds called zinc metallochaperones that restore the wild type function of p53 and testing these compounds in cancer mouse models to assess toxicity and therapeutic potential.
Brittany Rocque, M.D.
Basic science and translational research in transplantation and liver transplant immunology using novel computational genomics techniques to provide an in-depth characterization of the immune landscape in organ rejection and to develop a blood-based biomarker assay of rejection.