The Section of Surgical Sciences

Research Overview


Division of Surgical Research

Surgical Research at Vanderbilt has a long tradition of excellence. Some of the most significant advances in surgery have been conducted in the laboratories of the Section through the investigations and experimental work of Drs. Barney Brooks, Alfred Blalock, and H. William Scott, Jr. This tradition continues today as evidenced by the great number of research programs and the broad scope and depth of the research effort within the Section of Surgical Sciences.

Phil Williams, Director, S.R. Light Lab, VUMCAmple research opportunities are available to individuals seeking careers in academic surgery. Most surgical residents spend a two-year research fellowship in the laboratory working with established surgical faculty investigators. In addition, the Department of Surgery emphasizes its serious commitment to the development of academic surgeons by sponsoring a Ph.D. program in the basic sciences.

The Division of Surgical Research in the Section of Surgical Sciences is the primary research resource for all Section departments. It provides vital facilities and services for conducting the research programs of the investigators. It also plays an integral role in training the research fellows.

The laboratories of the Division consist of 9,000 square feet of space divided among the individual departmental laboratories. S.R. Light Laboratory, the largest of these laboratories, was established at Vanderbilt in 1955 through the generosity of Dr. S. Rudolph Light of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The laboratory serves as the central core facility for the Section research programs. This facility contains a 1500 square foot state-of-the-art large animal operating theater and 700 square feet of pre- and postoperative areas and instrument rooms, analytical and cell biology support core laboratories, an in vivo metabolic laboratory and laboratories for cardiothoracic surgery, urologic surgery, and hepatobiliary surgery and liver transplantation. Recently constructed laboratory resources of the Division provide state-of-the-art facilities for cellular studies, including tissue culture and imaging support. Individual and departmental laboratories are all located in very close proximity to these facilities.

The Division maintains three core laboratory resources that are extensively used by Section investigators:

* The Analytical and Cell Biology Support Core- This resource plays an integral role in two avenues of research. The facility maintains state of the art analytical instrumentation for investigators whose research requires monitoring and/or assessing biochemical parameters. Analytical capabilities include enzymatic/fluorometric analyses, gas chromatographic/mass spectrometry, and high pressure liquid chromatography. Support services for investigators whose research interest requires molecular and cellular biological techniques include maintenance of tissue culture facilities and state-of- the-art instrumentation and support for imaging and morphometric analysis.
* The In Vivo/Metabolic Core provides space instrumentation and personnel support for investigators conducting whole animal experimentation. This resource consists of a study room with instrumentation for the assessment of blood flow and hemodynamic respiratory monitoring including the determination of Respiratory Quotient. Ancillary equipment required in these types of experiments includes centrifuges and pumps
* The S. R. Light Laboratory Survival Surgical Facility is an operating theater and ancillary facilities for the surgical preparation and pre- and postoperative management of experimental animals. This facility is appropriately staffed and equipped for the purpose of assisting investigators whose research protocols involve surgical intervention. This facility is inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and also serves as the institution's survival surgical facility.

Additional support services provided by the Division include administrative support for the preparation and submission of research proposals and the pre- and post-administrative management of grants and contracts. There is also a coordinator for the Analytical and Cell Biology Support Core and a coordinator for the In Vivo/Metabolic Core.

The research efforts of the departments and investigators in the Section of Surgical Sciences are a multidisciplinary collaborative enterprise. The Vanderbilt University and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers have a large number of nationally and internationally recognized investigators in most major areas of biomedical research. This allows tremendous opportunities for collaborations and the useful exchange of ideas of surgical investigators with researchers in other departments. This interdisciplinary collaboration is reflected in the large number of federally funded program and center grants.

The Section of Surgical Sciences through the Division of Surgical Research provides investigators an exciting environment for scholarly research activities of the highest quality. Through these resources, both new and established investigators can expand their research capabilities in pursuit of greater knowledge about surgery.

This page was last updated September 19, 2011 and is maintained by