Marlene Starr, PhD

Chief, Research Division

Welcome to the Division of Research

Basic Science Research

Principal Investigators of the labs housed within the division include:

  • Jing Li, PhD studies how the molecular signaling pathway regulates carcinoid tumor cell proliferation, metastasis,and hormone peptide secretion.
  • Piotr G. Rychahou, MD, MMS investigates how to elucidate the role of PI3K/Akt pathway components in colorectal carcinoma oncogenesis.
  • Hiroshi Saito, PhD focuses on aging vulnerabilities as they relate to stress, gastrointestinal endocrinology and sepsis.
  • Qingding Wang, MD, PhD studies the world of human intestinal cell differentiation.

The basic science research program is in a well-equipped and staffed cellular and molecular laboratory with powerful collaborations and related core facilities. A full-time Laboratory Director with broad training and experience in cellular and molecular biology and immunology supports faculty investigators, residents and medical and undergraduate students in bench and translational projects. Active collaboration occurs with the Departments of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Pathology, and Public Health. Conferences, seminars and training programs are available through these collaborations and formal coursework is available within the College of Medicine and College of Allied Health. Core facilities adjacent to the General Surgery Research Program include mass spectroscopy, flow cytometry, electron microscopy and bioinformatics.

The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is an enterprise-wide support infrastructure for investigators committed to translational science and career development. Advanced educational opportunities available through the CCTS include certificate programs as well as MS and PhD programs in Clinical and Translational Science. Currently funded projects in the General Surgery Research Program focus on alterations in T-cell signal transduction in trauma, surgery and stress, the effects of transfusion on cellular immunity, surgical nutrition, and the microbiology of hospital-acquired pneumonia. Opportunities for resident research fellowships exist, funding sources are available, and independent investigation by both faculty and residents is encouraged.

Clinical Research

The General Surgery Clinical Research Program is a comprehensive program that supports every aspect of clinical research conduct. The program assists investigators in protocol development and grant submissions for competitive clinical research grants. The program works in conjunction with pharmaceutical and device companies to conduct industry clinical trials. The program supports Regulatory (IRB and other regulatory agencies), Administrative (budget and contracts), and Clinical (patient enrollment, management and data collection) components. The program includes a 24 hours/day, 7 days/week on-call staff to support after-hours activities.

The staff of the General Surgery Clinical Research Program includes a director (PharmD), two critical care trained research nurses, and a staff of five on-call research nurses. In addition, all the General Surgery faculty members participate in the program.

Program areas of focus include Trauma/Critical Care, Surgical Oncology and Vascular specialties. Collectively, the staff have over 20 years of experience in clinical trial management, and have worked very successfully with many pharmaceutical sponsors and device companies.