UNC Research Newsletter issue 1


Issue One - January 2016



Inaugural Surgery Research Day
and Visiting Professor

Our inaugural surgery research day will take place Thursday, May 5, 2016. Dr. Herbert Chen, MD, an internationally recognized surgeon-scientist and medical educator, and chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief of the University of Alabama hospital system will be our visiting professor! Sneak peeks for the day include a case presentation conference with the residents, didactic and informational sessions on setting up a database, basic statistical support, and “meet the professor” sessions. There will be oral and poster presentations with awards given to the best presentations.

Mandatory attendance by faculty. Clinics and ORs should be blocked after 11:30 am on Thursday, May 5. 

Mandatory attendance and participation with abstract submission is asked of residents. Fellows and medical students are encouraged and welcome. Residents are asked to contact Dr. Yeh at jjyeh@med.unc.edu in the next 30 days if they do not have a project/abstract that they are working on. Previously presented posters and/or abstracts are acceptable. Faculty please help to make sure all residents have a project!

Faculty and Residents, start collecting interesting cases for the Visiting Professor! We are also looking for volunteers to judge posters and presentations.

Second Surgery/Engineering Speed Date Meet Up

In conjunction with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC and NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, we hosted our second speed-date at the Pagano Conference Room at the Cancer Center on November 30, 2015. Sixteen participants met in short, six minute sessions to propose innovative engineering solutions for problems they wanted to solve and came up with three winning ideas by popular vote. Teams PET II and Up in Arms tied for first place and each will receive $15,000 pilot funding to jumpstart their projects, while Team M.U.D. will receive $8000. Thank you to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University Cancer Research Fund for the generous support of cancer related projects. Additional support was provided jointly by UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Surgery with UNC School of Medicine support.

To claim their funding, the teams will need to get the necessary institutional approvals for their projects and provide a description of their research with a timeline and milestones. Face-to-face meetings will be held with the teams at the half-year mark to track progress.


Five teams were awarded funding at the Inaugural Speed Date in June including team members Bruce Cairns, HJ Kim, Ben Calvo, Tim Sadiq, and Jason Long.

Resident Scholarship Initiative

Starting in 2015 all new categorical residents are required to publish one paper but are highly encouraged to publish at least one paper per year. Dr. Yeh has been meeting with new residents at least quarterly to discuss progress or issues that may arise.

Faculty were solicited for their academic interests in the summer of 2015 and a page with mentors and interests was constructed to give residents and students easy access to active research projects in the department. Faculty should contact Dr. Yeh if they would like their interests added.

Dr. Jackie Carr PGY5 put together a list of meetings and general abstract deadlines http://www.med.unc.edu/surgery/education/resident-research-opportunities/abstract-deadlines.



As of September 2015:

  • A biostatistics core support team was created led by Lloyd Edwards, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Tara Rao, a Masters of Biostatistics candidate. They are currently working on two long-term projects with Dr. McLean and Dr. Roughton.
  • Paula Strassle, MPH, an epidemiology PhD candidate, was recruited as our database manager. Paula has already been integral in the submission of eight abstracts and setting up one data registry, and is helping to prepare two manuscript submissions.
  • We now have access to NIS, NSQUIP and SEER (information may be found at http://www.med.unc.edu/surgery/education/resident-research-opportunities/available-databases). To use these databases, request Paula’s help using the form at http://www.med.unc.edu/surgery/database-manager-request-form.

Thank you to Dr. Nicole Lopez (surgical oncology fellow) and Dr. Mark Koruda for helping with this.

Helpful hints:

  • Contact Lloyd and Tara if you have statistical questions and contact them BEFORE you start a project. Even if they don’t have time to do your analysis, they may be able to answer your question(s) and point you in the right direction. They can be reached at http://www.med.unc.edu/surgery/contact-forms.
  • Contact Paula BEFORE you start a project involving data collection or setting up a database, e.g. chart reviews. She will help you organize and think about things so that you will be able to analyze it when you are ready.
  • Paula is also in charge of National Inpatient Sample, NSQUIP, and SEER databases if you would like to use them.


Residents – want to know what projects faculty are working on? Check out the Mentors and Descriptions page http://www.med.unc.edu/surgery/education/resident-research-opportunities/mentors-and-descriptions or contact Dr. Yeh.


Looking forward to a productive New Year,


Jen Jen Yeh, MD
Vice Chair for Research