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At the Top

The Department of Surgery ranks seventh in the nation for NIH research funding, according to new National Institutes of Health rankings released this week. Surgery faculty members received $8.8 million in grant funding from the NIH in 2012. The recent ranking marks a milestone for the UW department, which has been steadily climbing in rankings of academic surgery departments. Last year, the department ranked 12th in the nation, with $5.8 million in NIH funding. In 2008, the department ranked 22nd and received $4.4 million in funding. Two $1 million grants to Dixon Kaufman, a new vascular training grant to Craig Kent, new R01s to Carla Pugh, Will Burlingham, and Nathan Welham, and a new R03 to Sam Gubbels and R56 to Greg Kennedy, put us over the top. The ranking doesn’t include all NIH funding, such as federal subcontracts and ICTR KL2 awards, which increase the total amount of NIH funding to almost $11 million. Other federal funding, from the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services is also not included.

Susan Thibeault and Ciara Leydon’s new R01 titled “Epithelial mesenchymal interactions in a novel 3D model of vocal fold injury,” received a percentile rank of 8th (score of 2.0) on their first submission. They learned this week that the grant, “Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in a novel 3D model of vocal fold injury,” was funded with total direct costs for 5 years of $1,892,783.

Carla Pugh, MD, PhD will receive a large grant from the Department of Defense for “Psycho-Motor and Error Enabled Simulations: Modeling Vulnerable Skills in the Pre-Mastery Phase”. We await the award, but anticipate close to $2 million over three years beginning in early 2013.


Caprice Greenberg is the recipient of a three-year grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program Education and Research Committee (PERC) in the amount of $499,958. The grant supports the initiation of the Wisconsin Surgical Coaching Program and includes collaborators in the Athletic Department, School of Education and College of Engineering.

Caprice Greenberg was also notified that her grant application entitled “A video analytic approach to deconstructing surgical skill” will be funded through a pilot grant from UW ICTR in the amount $50,000 for one year. The project utilizes industrial engineering principles to deconstruct surgical tasks and assess technical skill utilizing video recording in the OR.

Anne-Lise Maag’s NIH F32 proposal titled “Automated Performance Assessment System: A New Era in Surgical Skills Assessment” received a perfect score of 10 and was in the 2nd percentile. Carla Pugh will mentor Dr. Maag in her two year research training experience which will be funded at $65,000 per year for two years. Congratulations!

Two graduate students mentored by Susan Thibeault received fundable scores on their NIH submissions. Rebecca Bartlett received a score of 12 on her F31 titled “Identification of biomechanically valid cell therapeutics for vocal fold scar,” and Suzanne King received a score of 13 on her F31 titled “Characterization of the immune response in vocal fold injury and tissue regeneration.” Congratulations!

Honors and Awards

Greg Kennedy has been invited to serve as an Associate Editor for the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum.

Clinical Kudos

A study conducted through the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, directed at UW by Lee Wilke, shows that a less invasive procedure known as sentinel lymph node surgery successfully identified whether cancer remained in lymph nodes in 91 percent of patients with node-positive breast cancer who received chemotherapy before their surgery. In sentinel lymph node surgery, only a few lymph nodes, the ones most likely to contain cancer, are removed. The findings are being presented by the lead author at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System