University surgeons exist in an intensely multidisciplinary world. In this academic environment, where new techniques, technologies, and scientific perspectives are constantly being developed and evaluated, it is critical that trainees have the opportunity to acquire skills in experimental study design, execution, and evaluation.

The overarching goal of the research fellowship is to provide trainees the tools to engage at the highest levels in academic biomedical research and to develop a solid foundation for an academic career.

Whether this involves bench research, translational research, clinical trials, resident-led clinical outcomes research, study of social sciences, health systems, or education, we intend to provide a platform for robust scientific inquiry.

Hear from research resident Dr. Konstantinos Economopoulos


All general surgery residents will prepare for, and participate in, a two-year basic science research fellowship (unless other arrangements have been made and approved by the program director, appropriate surgery division chief, and chair). 

Clinical Year 1

  • Select research laboratory and mentor
  • Identify research project and submit to research fellowship program director
  • Ongoing collaboration/participation in clinical research projects

Clinical Year 2

  • Further formulate and develop research project with research mentor
  • Ongoing collaboration/participation in clinical research projects
  • Submit Kirchstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) proposal before April deadline
  • This requirement provides an essential academic experience—applying for a grant from the NIH—and gives fellows the opportunity to develop a research plan for internal NIH-funded fellowship (institutional T32) grants, the DCRI Research Fellowship Training Program, or foundation fellowships, such as the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education (TSFRE), Ethicon-SUS (Society of University Surgeons), the American College of Surgeons Clinical Scholars in Residence Program, or the American Cancer Society, amongst others.

Research Years 1 and 2 (PGY-3 and 4)

  • Active research fellowship, no required clinical responsibilities
  • Ongoing collaboration/participation in clinical research projects

Clinical Years 3-5 (PGY-5 to 7)

  • May continue research project in limited capacity along with clinical responsibilities
  • Ongoing collaboration/participation in clinical research projects


  • Fully sponsored by department
  • Every resident writes and submits at least one grant
  • Moonlight and grant funding not required for research fellowship
  • External funding opportunities
    • NIH F32
    • NIH T32 in surg onc (4 positions), immunology (2 positions), cardiology (3 positions)
    • NIH R38 (NHLBI and NIAID) (4+ positions)
    • Society grants (ACS, ASTS, TSF, etc.)

Research Fellowship Contact

For more information about the General Surgery Research Fellowship, contact: 

Jennie Phillips


Within the context of their individual research efforts and the scientific mentorship of research directors, fellows will:

  • Develop and implement a clinical or basic science research project
  • Develop skills to critically evaluate the scientific literature
  • Develop a basic understanding of statistics and epidemiology
  • Understand ethical behavior in performance of human and animal research
  • Submit protocols for approval to IRB/IACUC successfully and in a timely manner
  • Create a year-end research summary demonstrating oral and visual presentation skills
  • Acquire basic skills of writing and submitting manuscripts/abstracts
  • Actively participate in and attend conferences (80 percent conference attendance required)
  • Coordinate learning opportunities for fellow residents
  • Present at local, regional, national, or international scientific meetings

Conference Attendance

Included in the research fellowship is at least one major meeting in the area of investigation each year.

In addition, fellows who successfully submit abstracts and are invited to give platform presentations at meetings within the continental U.S. may apply for their meeting registration, travel, and housing to be funded by the residency program (within the approved guidelines).

Fellows who have successfully obtained external funding for attending conferences may use these funds with the approval of their research mentor and the research fellowship program director.


InnovateMD is an educational program within Duke MEDx designed to provide medical/surgical trainees and faculty with an educational and experience-based opportunity to collaborate with engineering students and faculty in the field of medical device innovation. The program was co-founded in early 2016 by David Ranney, MD, General Surgery Resident, and Ken Gall, PhD, Associate Director of Duke MEDx and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Learn more about InnovateMD.

Duke General Surgery Residency Office Hours: Research

Learn about research during your residency at Duke General Surgery!

Learn more about the Duke Surgery Research Training Fellowship in a presentation by David Harpole, MD, Fellowship Director.