Research in the Department of Surgery

Research in the Department of Surgery

At the University of Arizona, our clinicians work with laboratory scientists and biomedical engineers to find gaps in medical knowledge and drive innovations into new diagnostic and surgical techniques that will improve patient safety and outcomes.

 

The Department of Surgery’s research program includes bench-to-bedside research encompassing all aspects of surgical care:

  • Trauma and emergency general surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Adult and pediatric transplantation
  • Transplantation immunology
  • Bioengineering of bridge-to-transplant devices
  • Tissue engineering (islet transplantation and composite tissue transplantation)
  • Wound healing
  • Cancer biology

Our core research team includes a multidisciplinary group of researchers — a biostatistician, a medical editor and clinical research experts — who provide research support services to surgical faculty and residents. They add value to the Department of Surgery with their research design, study methodology, primary and secondary data gathering and complex analysis, developmental and copy editing, human subject protection advice, and publishing.

Our motto is to transform medicine and provide the highest standard of care for our patients through innovation and practice of evidence-based medicine.

Our distinguished faculty members have made numerous scientific contributions, won national and international research awards and showcased their work in presentations and peer-reviewed publications. We seek to train the next generation of leaders in surgery by mentoring our medical students, residents, fellows and research fellows.

Our current research includes:

  • Basic science research
  • Translational research
  • Clinical trials in trauma and emergency general surgery, prostate and pancreatic cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, the capture of circulating cancer cells, localized cancer therapy and imaging using nanoparticles, diabetic wound healing and angiogenesis

We also emphasize clinical outcomes research to investigate the impact of new treatments and health care policies on outcomes beyond the individual patient and bring out the best management practices.
 

Bench to Bedside Research

Clinical Research

High-quality clinical trials offer innovative new therapies to our patients, aiming to improve their short- and long-term outcomes. The dedicated clinical research staff has extensive experience in all areas of pharmaceutical and device research, including Phase 1 through Phase 4 drug development, exception from informed consent protocols, investigator-held investigational new drug (IND) studies, biorepository and pharmacokinetic studies and investigational device exemption (IDE) device studies.

Translational Research

Our focus on translational research shifts basic laboratory studies into clinical applications. Our surgeons focus on improving health care in all its dimensions and applying surgical care to various populations.

Clinical trials are a vital part of our research mission, and our surgeons lead several of them. The faculty collaborate with investigators in other programs and in industry as part of a multidisciplinary team working to discover the best treatment for patients. 

Basic Science

Basic science research in the Department of Surgery includes studies of nondrug and drug treatments to preserve and prevent further damage to brain cells after brain injuries, new therapies to help decrease the human toll and the economic burden of injury and measures to accelerate wound healing, especially foot wounds caused by diabetes that can lead to amputation. 

Other advanced basic science research explores newly emerging regenerative medicine and cell therapy. This research focuses on specialized human cells that could treat diabetes and tissue products that could promote joint replacement without the risk of surgery.

Institutes and Centers

Our institutes and centers provide specialized research and opportunities for study in key areas.

Labs, Institutes and Centers

Department of Surgery Research Symposium

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Research symposium intro

The Department of Surgery (DOS) Annual Research Symposium brings together faculty, project scientists, residents, research fellows, post-doctoral scholars, and medical students in DOS who interested in the Department’s research enterprise.

The main goals of this event are 1) prepare future leaders in surgical sciences research; 2) foster systematic and evidence-driven research; 3) incubate junior researchers for applying for research grants; and, 4) improve health outcomes among surgical patients through basic, clinical, and transitional research.

The Symposium consists of keynote lectures, oral sessions, quick shot presentations, and networking.  It enables the sharing of research and accomplishments as well as the review of research being conducted by peers. Following each presentation, faculty and students alike can debate the research topic, ask questions, and provide commentary. 

2023 Research Symposium

Access Published Research

Our prolific researchers publish in a wide range of journals and leading publications, leading studies of their own and collaborating with other institutions. 

Explore publications


Faculty Seed Grant Program

The Department of Surgery’s faculty seed grant program jumpstarts worthwhile projects with short-term, one-time, single-investigator awards of up to $15,000 annually.

Find out more about our seed grants.