Research Reinvestment Fund

The Research Reinvestment Fund was established in March 2012 to support the Department of Surgery’s mission of becoming the premier home for surgical research. Funds are distributed according to a set of core principles:

  • Funding will provide game changing support resulting in measurable research product
  • Proposal selection will be driven by expected return on investment
  • Support will be tightly tied to deliverables
  • Support distribution process will be transparent and equitable

To date, nearly $1 Million in funds has been awarded to 18 Department of Surgery investigators. Application instructions can be found on the DOS SurgWiki (login required).

January 2014 — $125,000 Awarded
Alfonso_Rafael2012 Rafael Alfonso, MD, Research Assistant Professor, General Surgery
“Collaborative for Healthcare Research in Behavioral Economics and Decision Sciences”

This award provides support for the consolidation of a multi-disciplinary group called the Collaborative for Healthcare research in behaviOral economIcs and deCision sciEnceS (CERTAIN CHOICES). This project will: 1) formally establish CERTAIN CHOICES with an initial focus on surgical interventions; 2) create and test tools focused on identifying and changing clinicians’ behaviors to improve healthcare delivery, and 3) develop pilot data and research activities to pursue funding opportunities to sustain and grow CERTAIN CHOICES.

giana-davidson Giana Davidson, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, General Surgery >>
“Beyond Hospital Doors: Developing Best Practice Benchmarks for Skilled Nursing Facilities”

This award provides support to improve the health of patients receiving specialized post-acute care following hospitalization. Understanding the post-hospital period is essential for improving healthcare for the increasing proportion of patients requiring skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) following discharge from the hospital. This support will help to build a multi-disciplinary collaborative effort aimed for research and quality improvement initiatives through pilot data collection to create benchmarking standards of care for SNF patients.

sara-javid Sara Javid, MD, Assistant Professor, General Surgery >>
“Breast Cancer Adapted Patient-Reported Outcomes Tool”

This project aims to create an adapted Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) tool to guide breast cancer quality improvement activities, through a collaborative effort among breast cancer patients and surgeons. Through focus groups and online surveys, Dr. Javid will select metrics from validated PROs tools that reflect the quality of life and treatment satisfaction issues most relevant to patients who have recently undergone oncologic breast surgery. The adapted PROs tool will be implemented and evaluated for feasibility across hospitals within the SCOAP hospital network.

Sibulesky_Lena Lena Sibulesky, MD, Assistant Professor, Transplant Surgery >>
“Oxidative Injury to Biliary Epithelial Cells Leading to Biliary Strictures in DCD Liver Allografts”

Dr. Sibulesky’s project will investigate the mechanism of biliary stricture formation (ischemic cholangiopathy/ ischemic type biliary strictures) in donor after cardiac death (DCD) liver allografts. Understanding the molecular mechanism of the stricture formation will allow effective therapies to ameliorate ITBS in liver transplantation. Overcoming the major complication of ITBS will potentially lead to significant expansion in donor livers in an era of increasing organ shortage.

July 2013 — $125,000 Awarded
saman-arbabi Dr. Saman Arbabi, Professor, Trauma and Burn Surgery >>
“Beyond the Hospital Doors: Improving Long-Term Outcomes for Elderly Trauma Patients”

As Baby Boomers reach retirement, geriatric trauma will become a significant and growing public health concern, and there is a dearth of information addressing trauma or surgical patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNF). This funding will help generate preliminary data to better understand the natural progression of recovery in older trauma patients, determine individual patient-level interventions for improving outcomes, and investigate the characteristics leading to outcome variation across SNF’s.

Cuschieri_Joe Dr. Joseph Cuschieri, Professor of Surgery, Trauma Critical Care >>
“Critical Assessment of Oxidant Stress Following Trauma (CAST)”

This funding will be used to investigate the effects and duration of oxidant stress following severe traumatic injury. The project will provide the framework to evaluate unrecognized oxidant stress following injury that appears to be a precursor to the development of multiple organ failure. As a result, potential diagnostics and therapeutic strategies for sustained oxidant stress following severe traumatic injury could be developed.

Hatsukami_Thomas Dr. Thomas Hatsukami, Professor, Vascular Surgery >>
“Single Nucleotide Polymorphism of the CDKN1B Gene and Fibrous Cap Thinning and Rupture in Carotid Plaque”

Atherosclerotic plaques with a thin or ruptured fibrous cap overlying the lipid core are associated with a greater risk for stroke. With support from the Research Reinvestment Fund, Dr. Hatsukami will examine the association between a single nucleotide polymorphism of the CDKN1B gene (also called p27kip1) and the development of fibrous cap thinning and rupture in carotid atherosclerosis. Findings from this study will provide a foundation to prospectively examine p27kip1 genotype and the risk for stroke in a large, multicenter cohort.

Hocking_Anne Dr. Anne Hocking, Research Associate Professor, Trauma and Burn Surgery
“Metabolic Profiling of Acute and Chronic Wounds”

This funding will be used to determine the metabolic signatures of acute and chronic wounds. Detailed analysis of wound metabolites will provide essential information required for an ongoing investigation of the effect of metabolites on mesenchymal stem cell therapy for chronic wounds. In addition, the metabolic profiles are also critical for the development of a new project determining the role of metabolism in regulating molecular and cellular responses to cutaneous injury.

March 2013 — $200,000 Awarded
Evans_Heather Heather Evans, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Trauma, Burn and Critical Care Surgery >>
“mPOWEr: Mobile Post-¬‐Operative Wound Evaluator”

This award provides support for development of an innovative mobile app (mPOWEr) to enable patient-directed post-discharge surveillance of surgical site infections (SSI). mPOWEr will be tested in patients at high risk for SSI to assess usability and the app data will be presented to providers to validate clinical assessment. This pilot data will establish proof of concept to conduct a comparative effectiveness trial measuring patient satisfaction and empowerment, time to diagnosis and treatment of SSI, and healthcare utilization including ER visits and readmissions.

Mock_Charles Charles Mock, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor, Trauma and Burn and Critical Care Surgery >>
“Strategically Address the Availability of Technology for Trauma Care in Developing Countries”

Dr. Mock’s funding will provide support for a cutting edge strategic analysis of the barriers low income countries face in basic trauma care technologies into their healthcare systems. The project will examine issues such as equipment costs, lack of trained personnel, and stock outs of needed supplies. The pilot data he gathers will inform major funders regarding high yield areas for health systems research and future product development opportunities.

gale-tang Gale Tang, MD, Assistant Professor, Vascular Surgery >>
“The Effect of p27Kip1 on Arterial Remodeling in Response to Hindlimb Ischemia”

This funding will be used to develop a better understanding of the molecular control of collateral artery development through the examination of the role that the kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 plays in collateral artery development. The project will lay the foundation for future mechanistic studies into p27Kip1’s role in arterial remodeling as well as allow for testing of possible therapeutic strategies for revascularizing critical ischemic patients.

Varghese_Thomas Tom Varghese, MD, Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery >>
“Strong for Surgery: Development of an Innovative Electronic Health Platform to Improve Pre-Operative Patient Preparation”

Washington State in May 2012 aimed at identifying and improving evidence-based practices for elective surgical patients in the pre-surgical office setting. The Department of Surgery Reinvestment fund will help in the design and development of an integrated web-based, electronic platform for the Strong for Surgery intervention to include the following four components: a personalized checklist, a results delivery mechanism to patients and providers, an automated protocol for pre-operative patient reminders, and a patient reported outcomes survey mechanism.

November 2012 — $272,000 Awarded
james-park Dr. James Park, Associate Professor, General Surgery >>
“Proof-of-Principle Pilot Study Support of the Immunocompetent Rat HCC Model”

Dr. Park’s funding provides support for a proof-of- principle pilot study of the immunocompetent rat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model. This collaborative project will be a forging of resources between multiple departments to overcome major hurdles in current imaging barriers looking at HCC.

Riehle_Kimberly Dr. Kim Riehle, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Surgery >>
“Examining NASH-Related HCC from Three Perspectives: Surveying Mouse Models, Comparing Specific Mouse Tumors to Human Tumors, and Sequencing Human Tumors with a Novel Method”

This funding allows Dr. Riehle to examine non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) from three perspectives: surveying mouse models, comparing specific mouse tumors to human tumors, and sequencing human tumors with a novel method. This project should result in the development of important data about this highly fatal disease.

venu-pillarisetty Dr. Venu Pillarisetty, Assistant Professor, General Surgery >>
“Chimeric Antigen Receptor Targeting of Pancreatic Cancer”

This project will study chimeric antigenic receptor targeting of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Pillarisetty’s study could have a major impact on treatment models for patients with this devastating cancer.

raymond-yeung Dr. Ray Yeung, Professor, General Surgery >>
“Insulin Signaling in Hepatic Steatosis”

Dr. Yeung will develop new genetic models to study hepatic stenosis. The novel hypothesis from this work could be a key step towards targeted therapies to address an epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. By the end of the funding period, Dr. Yeung will be submitting an NIH R01 proposal based on this work.

Garcia_Iris Iris Garcia, Operations Manager Trauma Lab and Clinical Research
“Nikon Fluorescence Imaging System”

Ms. Garcia submitted a proposal to replace and upgrade HMC’s fluorescence imaging system; an important laboratory tool for multiple projects in multiple labs shared by Dr. Sam Arbabi, Professor, Trauma & Burn Surgery; Dr. Joe Cuschieri, Professor, Trauma & Burn Surgery; and Dr. Nicole Gibran, Professor, Trauma & Burn Surgery. This award will be key to future successes in both discoveries and future funding.

Modified March 11, 2016 – MDH