Medical Student Research

Research is an integral part of the Department of Surgery, and reflects a major commitment by the department to advance the field. Current areas of interest include basic research in fields as diverse as the immunobiology of sepsis, the formation of intraperitoneal adhesions and the molecular analysis of neoplasia.  In addition, our Clinical Research Program is comprehensive and supports every aspect of clinical research conduct. This includes NIH, pharmaceutical and device company sponsored clinical trials, quality improvement studies and many investigator initiated clinical research projects.

Getting in to a surgery residency program is very competitive. It is never too early to start building your resume by adding a research component. Faculty members in the Department of Surgery are committed to mentoring the next generation of academic surgeons and we welcome approaches from medical students with a serious interest in surgery and surgical research.

How To Get Involved In A Surgery Research Project

Talk to a Medical Student Liaison:
Medical students interested in pursuing research in Surgery should first talk with the Medical Student Surgery Research Liaisons in order to learn more about the types of research available, the time commitment required and for general guidance.

Medical Student Surgery Research Liaisons:

Take Human Subjects’ Training:
The vast majority of research projects in the department of surgery will involve clinical data or tissues from human subjects (patients). Research on human subjects is tightly regulated for the safety and privacy of the patient and it is important to have a basic understanding of these regulations before you start. It is also a Federal requirement for anyone doing human subjects research. At a minimum, before you can start on a research project you must pass the following courses.

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Training
  • Human Subjects Protection Training

Information and instructions on how to access these training modules can be found here.

Identify Your Area(s) Of Interest:
This may be a particular specialty (Vascular, Thoracic, Acute Care etc.) or a general type of research (basic science, translational projects, clinical studies, quality improvement, outcomes etc.). Discuss your interests with one of the Surgery research liaisons who will be able to then help you identify suitable faculty members or current surgery residents to contact. You can also review the list of faculty member research interests  and projects in order to identify those with overlapping interests.

Contact a Faculty Member:
Contact by email is the best approach. Be sure to include your current position (first year, second year etc.) how much time you are looking to commit to a project and on what schedule, any previous experience that may be relevant and, if appropriate, a specific project that you are interested in. If you do not get a response in a timely manner, please contact either Dr. Tony Godfrey or Dr. Tracey Dechert and they will help you make a connection.

Tony Godfrey, PhD:
Tracey Dechert, MD: