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Research

During the research year, the fellow will attend a formal weekly teaching program on biostatistics, research methodology, manuscript writing, grant submission, database management, clinical trials and research compliance. 

Duke Surgery has been the largest awardee of NIH funding of any surgical department in the nation. As such, myriad research opportunities are available, including basic science bench work, pre-clinical vivarium research, and health services and outcomes research. The Duke Prostate Center maintains one of the largest prostate database repositories in the country. Additionally, our renal mass database includes outcomes spanning from observation, surgical intervention, chemotherapy and biomarkers. We encourage the fellow to present his/her research at national meetings to an international audience. Fellows have many opportunities to publish manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.

General Principles of the SUO Research Year

The Fellow is encouraged to:

  • Select one or at most two faculty mentors for the research year
  • Apply for grant support/funding of their projects
  • Attend and participate in the weekly Research Education seminars throughout the year
  • Develop a portfolio of publications representing work during the research year.  The Fellow is encouraged to have at least one project with the various urologic oncology faculty, if possible
  • Present their research findings at national and international academic meetings
  • Initiate and bring to fruition a Quality Improvement project. 
  • Develop a surgical training video for the teaching library
  • Mentor residents in the Robotic Simulation Laboratory to enhance robotic skills

General Research Opportunities

  • Translational Sciences: Duke University is a large research organization and has a plethora of investigators studying not only urologic disease processes and organ systems but rather common disease pathways. Many opportunities present when different disciplines begin to collaborate on a shared goal. The Fellow is encouraged to pursue investigations that may not be yet housed within urology but may lead to new developments in the field due to the mutual benefit of group efforts. Collaborative work has been undertaken between urology and medical oncology, radiation oncology, immunotherapy, cell biology and cancer genetics, radiology, biomedical engineering, and animal services, but to name a few.
  • Tissue Bank: Duke also has an extensive serum and tissue bank that can be utilized for discovery.
  • Vivarium studies: Duke University has a fully staffed vivarium that can be utilized for various basic science and translational projects. 
  • Duke-NC State University Consortium of Canine Oncology (C3O) for dog and human bladder cancer research with a focus on shared environmental exposures and genomic alterations.
  • Clinical trials: We have a large infrastructure that supports clinical trials for malignant disease, devices, pharma and laboratory/imaging trials. 
  • Health Equity and Disparities: Duke OHED is an active governing body that participates in patient navigation, clinical trials and funded research. We also have a large registry including tissue and serum bank at the Durham Veterans Hospital utilized for disparity research in the military.
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS): ERAS-related research and protocol development, outcome analysis and improvement are available.
  • Health Services Research: Duke Urology has two faculty members who specialize in this field and are available to serve as mentors to the Fellow
  • Pratt School of Engineering: Offers a Medical Imaging Training Program. Interested Fellows can attend presentations, network, and establish collaborative research projects with faculty/grad students in BME.
  • Duke/NUS collaboration on bladder cancer genetics and environmental exposures. Also collaborative projects on mpMRI and targeted biopsy, cryosurgery, and active surveillance.

Research Laboratories

 

Urologic Oncology Laboratory

We are a clinical and translational research team working on cancers of the genitourinary tract. While our group does research pertaining to several different urological cancers, we are particularly interested in bladder and prostate cancer. Our approach to research is highly disease focused, which means that we use a wide variety of research methodologies to investigate a single cancer.

 

Minimally Invasive Technologies for the Management and Diagnosis of Prostate and Kidney Cancer

The Polascik laboratory focuses on imaging (patient selection, staging, tumor characterization), surgical outcomes, and new or minimally invasive technologies devoted to prostate and kidney cancer therapy. The research group has a special interest in image-targeted biopsy and focal therapy for early prostate cancer, as well as studying outcomes of active surveillance.