Physician scientists in (benign) Urology research.
Dr. Hunter Wessells
University of Washington
Numerous factors must come into alignment to ensure the transition from graduate
medical trainee in Urology to successful federally funded researcher. A discipline within
urology that has been most successful in producing physician scientists is urological
oncology. In this talk I will review the elements needed for successful development of the
physician scientist in urology, compare and contrast research pathways for MD’s
investigating benign and malignant urological diseases, and identify features unique to
the NIDDK landscape.
A discussion of elements of importance prior to faculty appointment will review medical
student research opportunities; urology mentors; research during residency; and
fellowships, with particular focus on the duration and type of training. Elements
important after training include choice of disease focus; access to specialized patient
populations, datasets, tissue repositories and the like; mentorship by those who
understand the game; research infrastructure; salary ; fundraising opportunities; and
departmental size, structure, and leadership. Overarching all of these issues is the nature
of the academic environment and institutional support for the junior researcher. The
culture, collaborative mechanisms, research infrastructure, Centers and Institutes, all
influence the ultimate success of the physician scientist. NIDDK based physicians face
significant barriers to success within and outside of their institutions.