6 Surgeon Scientists Awarded Seed Grants

November 5, 2018

Six Surgeon Scientists have been awarded funds as part of the Department of Surgery’s new Seed Grant Program. Drs. Dan Azagury (General Surgery), Paige Fox (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery), Jason Lee (Vascular Surgery), Olivia Martinez (Abdominal Transplantation), Marc Melcher (General Surgery), and Claudia Mueller (Pediatric Surgery) were each given between $10,000 and $50,000 to fund their research for the next 12 months.

"The quality of the abstracts submitted was outstanding," said Vice Chair of Basic and Translation Research Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner. "We had 33 submissions and probably 20-25 of them were worthy of funding. We are very disappointed that we could not fund more."

The projects being funded are: 

• Bariatric Surgery vs. Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (Azagury)
• Topical Antibiotic Elution in a Collagen Rich Hydrogel for Healing of Infected Wounds (Fox)
• Use of Remote Renal Ischemic Preconditioning to Reduce Incidence of Acute Kidney Injury During Complex EVAR of Juxtarenal Aortic Aneurysms (J. Lee)
• Defining the B Cell Immune Repertoire in Transplantation (Martinez)
• Using AI to Detect Histopathologic Features Predictive of Transplantable Donor Livers (Melcher)
• The effect of health mindset on perioperative anxiety and outcomes in pediatric surgery (Mueller)

"We are grateful to the inaugural Department of Surgery seed grant funding mechanism,” said Dr. Lee. Vascular Surgery resident Dr. Ken Tran (PGY-1) and Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar Dr. Celine Deslarzes-Dubuis are also working on the project. “We hope this will allow our group to further characterize renal function decline after complex endovascular aneurysm repair and potentially make an impact on improving patient outcomes with a relatively simple preoperative conditioning exercise that could be applied broadly to vascular patients."

The Seed Grant Program was born out of the Research Retreat held in May. Each proposal was reviewed by the Research Oversight Committee and scored based on significance, innovation, approach, and expected outcomes.

"We created the Stanford Surgery Seed Grant Program to correct a common 'chicken and egg' problem, namely that one cannot be competitive for large federal grants without preliminary data, but it is impossible to obtain preliminary data without resources to obtain it," said Gurtner.