Surgical residents in the UF Department of Surgery have the unique opportunity to take time away from their clinical responsibilities after the completion of their PGY2 year to gain experience and training in the basic sciences. Typically, the residents have a choice to matriculate onto either of two NIH National Research Service Award T32 Postdoctoral Training Grants that are dedicated to training surgeon scientists in the basic sciences.
It is an expectation at the University of Florida Surgical Residency Program that categorical general surgery residents will complete at least one hypothesis-driven research project suitable for peer review during their residency period. Ideally, the findings of this research will be presented at a national conference and will culminate into a manuscript that will be submitted for publication. To foster this goal, the majority of surgical residents in the UF Department of Surgery take the opportunity to take time away from their clinical responsibilities after the completion of their PGY2 year to gain experience and training in the basic sciences. We are proud to train the next generation of surgeon scientists.
There are multiple mentorship and funding opportunities in the department, including work on the NIH National Research Service Award T32 Postdoctoral Training Grants, “Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy in Burns and Trauma,” (T32 GM08431). Funded for over 20 years, the overall goal of this T32 is to provide a focused two-year research experience for two surgical residents-in-training expressing a commitment to a career in trauma, injury, burn or inflammation research. The research program focuses on mastery of molecular biology and gene therapy as it applies to inflammation research and translational biology. Collaborations with other departments include other funded research opportunities such on the PARADIGM T32, which prepares trainees to be leaders in genomic medicine research and implementation, with recent projects by our trainees focusing on aortic aneurysm development and outcomes in pancreatic cancer patients. We work with each trainee to customize their time in the lab in partnership with current research opportunities, which include but are not limited to a fellowship in critical care medicine or pursuing an additional degree such as an MPH or Ph.D.
Dedicated time for research allows residents additional leverage to utilize resources offered by the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) for career development, including grant writing workshops, a mentor academy, and the K college, which is a monthly seminar series that provides support, opportunities and resources for career development in clinical and translational research. In addition, the department has a monthly research conference, a journal club, and dedicated statistical support for projects, all of which complement the research experience. Our residents are encouraged and supported in acquiring their own research funding and NIH Loan Repayment for their research time. Combined with a strong publication record, the research experience surgical residents gain at the University of Florida provides a solid foundation for fellowships, professorships, and funding opportunities at the highest national level.