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AUA Investigator Winter 2015

  AUA Investigator

William F. Gee, MDThe AUA Office of Research Presents the Inaugural Issue of AUA Investigator!

The AUA hosts a variety of communications platforms through which it communicates urology news and other important information to its members and stakeholders. Although many of these communications tools incorporate announcements relevant to urologic research, the need for communications designed primarily for the research community has never been greater. Recognizing a need to bolster its communication efforts to better engage with the research community—whether basic, translational, or clinical scientists—the AUA Office of Research is excited to present the inaugural issue of AUA Investigator!

The purpose of this quarterly publication is to support urologic research through information sharing within the urologic research community. This proactive communication tool is designed to enhance the engagement of urologic researchers with the AUA Research Council, AUA Office of Research and stakeholder organizations, as well as within the urologic research community at large. It especially focuses on fostering early career investigators and collaborative research efforts.

AUA Investigator
is divided into several sections:“The AUA and its Urology Care Foundation together have a history of more than 40 years of supporting, facilitating, and advancing urologic research and investigators,” said Dr. William Gee, AUA President. “We are looking forward to the many ways that AUA Investigator will put a spotlight on the vital importance of basic science research to our specialty. With the guidance of the AUA Research Council and its Chair, Dr. Aria Olumi, we expect great things to come from increasing communications within the research community.”

  • Feature Articles – Articles in this section will highlight general news, whether from the AUA, Urology Care Foundation, or other urologic research organizations, that are relevant to the research community.

  • Urology Researchers Making a Difference – This section will feature urologic researchers at various stages in their careers along with their ongoing research.

  • Research Funding Highlights – This section hosts information on funding opportunities from the AUA and other funding institutions, as well as information on funded projects that represent opportunities for collaboration. It also contains grant writing tips and resources.

  • Research Resources – The section will feature information pertaining to impactful resources available to the urologic research community, whether biorepositories, institutional resource centers, or other support for research materials or collaboration.

  • Research and Patient Advocacy – This section contains updates on AUA research advocacy as well as legislative and non-legislative advocacy efforts made by other advocacy groups.

  • Did You Know? – This will feature a variety of information of interest to the research community.

  • Calendar of Research Events – AUA Investigator will welcome any information from groups interested in engaging urology researchers in their scientific symposia and conferences.

  • Opportunities in Urologic Research – In an effort to better connect urologic research trainees and prospective faculty with the mentors and institutions seeking them, this section will provide information submitted by the research community on employment opportunities to engage in urologic research.

Evaluation of Urology Care Foundation Grant Programs Shows High Impact

The AUA Office of Research is committed to developing the careers of urologic researchers and physician scientists. To this end, in conjunction with the Urology Care Foundation, the AUA has developed an awards portfolio to provide mentored research opportunities to urologic researchers at various stages of their careers. These opportunities are critical for advancing the field of urologic research. The mentored research experience is designed to cultivate an interest in research and provide the opportunity for training that develops the skills and experience needed towards a career as an independent investigator.

Importantly, the Office of Research monitors the achievements of Urology Care Foundation awardees during their award periods as well as in subsequent years, and also assesses how well each of the programs is achieving its overall goals. Data generated by these evaluations are used to design improvements or new directions in award programs. To that end, recent studies of the Research Scholar Award and Summer Medical Student Fellowship programs revealed major successes in each program’s support for urologic research and development of urology researchers and physician-scientists.

The Research Scholar Award Program is the flagship research program of the Urology Care Foundation. It began in 1975 to provide mentored research training awards to early career investigators. To date, the program has invested over $20 million to support over 550 Research Scholars, many of whom are now world-renowned leaders in urologic research. From these awardees, a five-year cohort of scholars who began their awards between 2001 and 2005 was selected, and an electronic questionnaire was used to collect information related to career development and professional outcomes, along with publications, patents, funding and urologic research advances that resulted from the award and related follow-on studies. The questionnaire was received by 89 Scholars and 33 (37%) responded. Based on their responses, the results showed the following:

  • 61% of the Scholars have attained the academic rank of Associate Professor and 12% have become full Professors, with one Scholar now a Urology Department Chair, four Residency Program Directors, and one a Graduate Program Director.

  • The 33 scholars produced a total of 174 publications that resulted from their Research Scholar projects or follow-on studies, with 41% as first author and 14% as senior author.

  • 37% of the scholars have been able to obtain significant follow-on grants from other funding organizations.

  • Each Research Scholar grant produces, on average and within 10 to 15 years of the grant:The Scholar projects in total led to the development of 17 products that are now touching patients in clinical practice or clinical trials, 13 new insights on the mechanisms of urologic disease and four new devices or tools for urology practice or research.

    • 7.25 publications

    • 2.75 additional grants

    • 0.4 patent applications

    • Mentorship of 1.5 faculty members, 3.3 fellows, 2.8 residents, and 1.6 medical or graduate students

The Summer Medical Student Fellowship Program is designed to attract outstanding medical students into urologic research. The goal is to ignite their interests in research early in their medical training by providing an opportunity to take part in a summer fellowship alongside world-class urologic scientists at active and productive research laboratories. With this program in place for six years now (2010-2015), a preliminary assessment of its impact is possible. To this end, a brief questionnaire was used to assess the quality of the program and its success in encouraging the pursuit of a career in urologic research for the five-year cohort of students who completed their summer fellowships between 2010 and 2014 (31). Results from 24 respondents (77%) included the following:

  • 100% rated their mentors or mentoring team with the highest possible rating.

  • 88% indicated that the fellowships increased their intent to pursue the field of urology.

  • 96% indicated that the fellowships increased their intent to pursue further research training.

  • 76% indicated that the fellowships prepared them for rewarding careers in both urology and research.

The initiative to develop a more comprehensive assessment program for these research awards proved to be an invaluable endeavor, not only identifying high value from each program, but also enabling the Office of Research to advance protocols and methodology for effectively connecting with former awardees. Long-term assessments of the Research Scholar Award Program and Summer Medical Student Fellowship Program, as well as other Urology Care Foundation grant programs, will be possible as the Office of Research continues to build upon award and career development data and, most importantly, more effectively support and impact urologic researchers.

Urology Researchers Making a Difference

Christopher Barbieri, MD

Research Scholar Award Accelerates Career – Dr. Christopher E. Barbieri

In many ways, Dr. Barbieri’s current work is a product of continued momentum from his Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Award. Under the mentorship of Dr. Mark A. Rubin, this award allowed his group to study the effects of SPOP mutation in prostate tumorigenesis. SPOP 

is a gene that encodes a protein related to transcriptional repression activities, and mutation of this gene occurs in 10–15% of prostate cancers. In addition, they defined the prevalence and associated molecular characteristics of SPOP mutations in demographically diverse cohorts of prostate cancer, spanning multiple ethnicities, geographic sites, PSA-screened and unscreened populations, and multiple stages of disease. They found that SPOP mutations were present in all cohorts at similar frequencies with distinct associated molecular features, supporting the SPOP-mutant class of prostate cancer as relevant across diverse patient cohorts.Dr. Christopher E. Barbieri’s laboratory focuses on defining, modeling and targeting distinct molecular classes of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer has tremendous clinical variability—some patients have indolent disease that will never threaten their health, while others have aggressive disease that will rapidly progress, metastasize and lead to death. Recent next-generation sequencing studies have exposed striking molecular heterogeneity that may shed light on this clinical variability. Dr. Barbieri’s research is centered on identifying distinct subclasses of prostate cancer that are identifiable by molecular criteria and perhaps responsive to specific management strategies or targeted therapies.

Most importantly, they found that the distinct patterns of DNA alterations in SPOP-mutant prostate cancers point to defects in repairing damaged DNA. This characteristic may have a causative role in the formation of these cancers and potentially makes these tumors susceptible to specific chemotherapies, allowing doctors to choose more effective therapies for patients with SPOP-mutant prostate cancer.

Strong mentorship was a critical component to Dr. Barbieri’s success as a Research Scholar and beyond. It is interesting to note that he was exposed to different styles of mentorship, all of which proved to be very effective. Some mentors carefully concentrated on teaching him how to do excellent basic research, while others helped him develop grant writing and communication skills. These mentors also helped create an invaluable professional network that facilitated access to collaborators and unique resources. Dr. Barbieri writes, “All these aspects are critical to a successful scientific career, and it’s these lessons I’m trying to carry forward as I start to develop my own trainees—I feel obligated to provide as good mentorship as I’ve gotten.”

In no small part due to the resources provided by the Urology Care Foundation, Dr. Barbieri successfully secured a faculty position with his own laboratory at Weill Cornell Medical College. Furthermore, the data generated from his Research Scholar Award project was used to successfully compete for a Career Development Award (K08) from the National Cancer Institute. Important opportunities such as invited editorials and presentations, collaborations, and publications also stemmed from the support of the AUA and Urology Care Foundation.

According to Dr. Barbieri, “Since receiving a Research Scholar Award, my career development accelerated considerably, and I believe my status as a Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar contributed significantly to that growth. By providing me the protected time to focus on my research, financial flexibility and a network of collaborators and mentors, the Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Program has helped me make that [growth] happen.”

Michael Freeman, MD

Distinguished Mentor in Prostate Cancer Research – Dr. Michael Freeman

Why did you become a mentor?Michael Freeman, PhD, has served as a mentor for over 40 postdoctoral fellows and has been the primary mentor for 17 AUA/Urology Care Foundation-related research projects. Among his impressive achievements over the years, he was the recipient of the 2004 Urology Care Foundation Distinguished Mentor Award and the 2010 John K. Lattimer Award from the AUA. Dr. Freeman runs a highly accomplished laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, focused on prostate cancer research and benign diseases, such as interstitial cystitis and benign prostate hyperplasia.

One of my own mentors says that his mentor always used to say, “It’s not your discoveries, or papers you’ve published, or grants you’re awarded that really count; it’s the people you’ve trained and left behind to continue the work.” When I stop and reflect about what I’ve been doing all these years, for over three decades now, I can see that my own work is much like putting a single brick in a wall. But when you train people who then go off to have great careers and train others, it’s like laying the foundation for many walls, or a whole city. It’s also wonderfully satisfying to see trainees become successful in their own right and to see how much better some of them are than I am.

How would you characterize your experience working as a mentor?

Being a mentor takes the focus away from oneself, which is healthy. The competitiveness of an academic career can make you obsess over your own product. But when you are working with a trainee, the focus on yourself melts away and you worry about their accomplishments, timelines and priorities. It creates more of a collective mindset, which is the true setting where science is accomplished. And trainees, especially of the caliber of AUA/UCF fellows, are generally the engines of accomplishment and innovation in the lab.

What are some of the benefits and challenges about being a mentor? Have you identified any strategies to overcome those challenges?

The benefits are the fruits of your laboratory and seeing your team succeed as reflected in papers, new grants and sometimes awards. The challenges arise from a setting where most of what you are attempting to do doesn’t work, but you have to go on anyway. So you have to live in a cloud of contradiction and ambiguity. Young scientists are sometimes frustrated because often the results don’t come out the way they were expected to. I’ve found that the best way to overcome challenges is to work harder and smarter, and don’t give up!

What are the unique aspects of your areas of research that present opportunities or challenges in mentoring new researchers?

One of the issues we are struggling with in my group is the transformation of molecular and cellular science from something that is primarily “bench-based” with not a lot of math (e.g., counting cell numbers or measuring tumor volumes with calipers), to something that is more like physics, where you use more expensive equipment, specialized knowledge and sophisticated mathematical approaches. Everyone is facing this to a certain degree because of the explosion of “omics” data, but in my group we have tried to embrace this transformation, particularly since we want to work on the human being as much as possible. But these data and large data sets you generate yourself have to be analyzed using computational approaches that take a lot of training and expertise. It’s hard because graduate-level training in biology is a bit out of date. Going forward it’s going to have to be more computer science- and math-oriented than before. A lot of the things we are learning so we can do the work we are doing in my lab have to be learned on the fly using non-traditional approaches, like on-line courses.

What advice would you give to individuals preparing to select their mentor or mentoring team?

You don’t always want to go with the lab that publishes papers all the time in the highest-tier journals. That is a criterion, certainly, but it should not be the primary one. I have known a number of people who have worked in glamour labs who have burned out after a short time because of the pressure. You want a mentor who lights you up with possibility, who can make you see things in a new way, and who is optimistic and fun.

The research funding landscape is changing. What do you see as the biggest future challenges and the key to addressing those challenges?

The federal government, in my view and that of many others, has not prioritized scientific research now for over 10 years. At the same time, industry R&D funding has actually declined. One consequence of this is that many bright young people are not pursuing careers in science or academics because they see it, and in some ways rightly so, as a losers’ game. For a young person who has promise but not yet the credentials, it’s going to continue to be difficult unless our national priorities change or unless the conventional business model changes. Many young people are not taking the academic path because of the challenges and lack of stability.

But at the same time, we are at an exceptionally promising time in the history of scientific research. It is simply incredible what we are able to do now and how our academic activities might change patient care for the better. This great potential is what keeps me excited and positive. As mentors, we must try to impart that sense of possibility to our trainees.

It has been an honor to serve as a mentor for AUA programs, and working with these trainees has been one of the great joys of my career. These young people—they’re all so amazing.

Research Funding Highlights

Funding from NIDDK Initiates the Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium

Increases in federal funding for urologic research can be difficult to come by for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the current fiscal climate nationwide. In spite of this and other challenges, urologic researchers partner with federal funders to help identify major research needs in urology and find ways to meet them. One such major need is to develop knowledge that will inform and achieve the prevention of lower urinary tract symptoms in women, into which the NIDDK and other funders have just invested an initial $4 million/year for five years to begin the Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium.

Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are associated with a broad range of diagnoses including bladder infections, urinary incontinence, voiding dysfunction, overactive bladder and interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. These symptoms of compromised bladder health are common, costly and consequential. Moreover, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, sexual activity and vaginal childbirth have been associated with increased risk of LUTS, and the prevalence of LUTS in the U.S. is expected to increase substantially over the next several decades as the population ages and the prevalence of risk factors increases. To date, the majority of research efforts have focused on management and treatment of severe symptoms, so exploring the potential role of prevention efforts to reduce the impact of LUTS on women has the potential to benefit a high proportion of women.
“Lower urinary tract symptoms may play a significant but under-acknowledged role in women’s health through their negative impact on physical and social activities,” said Tamara G. Bavendam, MD, Director of Women’s Urologic Health at NIDDK. "The PLUS Research Consortium expands NIH's urology research beyond treatment of women with established lower urinary tract symptoms to focus on improving women’s overall health through symptom prevention."

In May 2014, the NIDDK sponsored the workshop "Path to Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) in Women: Bladder Health" and brought together medical, nursing, physical therapy, patient education, behavior change, epidemiology, public health and prevention experts to take the first steps along this path by defining bladder health, the research needed to identify and understand healthy bladder behaviors and risk factors for LUTS in women, and how to overcome challenges of implementing a research program in prevention of LUTS in women.
Just a few months after this workshop, NIDDK issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to establish a multi-center, multi-disciplinary consortium to be known as the Prevention of Lower Urinary tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium.  Applications were received in November 2014 and the awardees, shown below, were selected in May 2015.

PLUS Research Consortium Project Leaders


Project Leader/Principal Investigator

Role in PLUS

Loyola University Chicago


Elizabeth Mueller, MD
Associate Professor, Departments of Urology and Obstetrics/Gynecology 
Other PIs: Linda Brubaker, MD

Clinical Center

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Kathryn Burgio, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Research Director of the UAB Genitourinary Disorders Center

Clinical Center

University of California San Diego

Emily Lukacz, MD
Professor of Clinical Reproductive Medicine

Clinical Center

University of Michigan

Janis Miller, PhD, RN
Research Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Clinical Center

University of Minnesota

John Connett, PhD
Other PIs: Bernard Harlow PhD

Scientific and Data Coordinating Center

University of Pennsylvania

Diane Newman, DNP, CRPN
Urology Nurse Practitioner
Associate Professor of Surgery
Other PI(s): Lily Arya, MD, MS

Clinical Center

Washington University

Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD, MHS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Other PIs: Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH

Clinical Center

Yale University

Leslie Rickey, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Urology and of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Clinical Center

The primary objectives of this consortium are:

  1. To broadly identify and evaluate the relative importance of the risk and protective factors for LUTS, and

  2. To plan for future primary and secondary prevention intervention research as the evidence is established. 

    A broad range of research study designs will be employed such as surveys, qualitative research, observational studies, analyses of established large databases, case-control studies, and small clinical studies. 

    Importantly, it is anticipated that the Consortium will solicit, fund and implement ancillary studies proposed by either non-consortium or consortium investigators on research topics related to the PLUS Consortium goals.

    "Fully realizing prevention of lower urinary tract symptoms in women will require solving a complex puzzle," said Robert A. Star, MD, Director of the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases at NIDDK. "The PLUS Research Consortium will provide foundational pieces of evidence, but we need additional investigators to work independently and in collaboration with the Consortium to identify all the pieces and assemble the puzzle."

The goals and objectives of the PLUS Research Consortium will be complementary to two other NIDDK supported multi-center collaborative networks studying the lower urinary tract, the Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network (LURN) and the Multidisciplinary Approach to the study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network.

The PLUS Consortium’s 46 investigators have already held their first in-person meeting. The urologic research community looks forward to the potential for new knowledge and collaboration that this consortium represents. The AUA Office of Research congratulates the investigators and the NIDDK and its partners in beginning this important new work towards improving urologic health.

Grant Writing Tips: "NIDDK's Top 10 Tips for Grant Seekers" and the "Feed Forward" Approach

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has a variety of resources that should be consulted before beginning a grant application. We have included their Top 10 Tips for Grant Seekers below.

Tip #1
In order to apply to the NIH for funding, you must have an appointment at an institution (student, postdoc, instructor, professor, etc.) – NIH awards go to the ‘applicant organization,’ not individuals.

Tip #2
See if your research falls within the NIDDK mission by viewing the Research Programs.

Tip #3
Find the appropriate grant mechanism to support your research.

Tip #4
View the NIDDK’s Current Funding Opportunities.

Tip #5
Contact the program director identified in the funding opportunity. If you’re still not sure who to contact, review the Research Programs and Contacts.

Tip #6
Learn more about peer review. The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) offers an introductory video and a search engine to help find a study section.

Tip #7
Register. In order to apply for a grant, both you and your organization need to register with and eRA Commons. Here is a quick guide on how to register:

  • Create your eRA Commons account at least one month before the receipt date.

Tip #8
Identify, contact, and engage appropriate colleagues who will play a role in the proposed study (e.g., co-investigators, collaborators, mentors). Request letters of reference and support well in advance.

Tip #9 
Start writing early and get feedback from your mentors and colleagues. Follow the application instructions carefully, including the page limits. Put your CV into the NIH biosketch format using the Biographical Sketch Format Page word document or PDF.

Tip #10 
Submit the completed application to your grants office according to your institution’s timeline. Once submitted, CHECK the application online to make sure everything looks correct. The NIH does not allow additional material to be submitted after the receipt date.

Feed Forward
When applying for a research grant, the NIH suggests asking for “feed forward” instead of feedback on the grant proposal. The feed forward approach was coined by Dr. Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco.

Rather than asking for feedback once you have finished writing the grant proposal, the feed forward approach recommends discussing your ideas with a small committee of senior colleagues or mentors before beginning the writing process. Next, put together a single-page document with the specific aims of the project for the committee to discuss with you. This collaborative process will help identify any areas for improvement early on in the application process, and you’ll be more likely to receive quality advice on a single-page document rather than a lengthy grant proposal. By the time you’re ready to complete the application your grant proposal would have already received critical consideration and will likely have been improved from the start.

Urology Care Foundation Expands Research Award Programs

The AUA Office of Research, working with the Urology Care Foundation, offers a portfolio of mentored research training awards intended to recruit outstanding young investigators into urology research and foster their career success. The recruitment pipeline follows the continuum of the research career—from medical students to residents to post-doctoral fellows and scientists to surgeon-scientists. Many of these award programs have seen a recent increase in available funding and options for duration of training for the 2016 competitions.

Summer Medical Student Fellowships
This program is designed to attract outstanding medical students to urologic research by engaging them in summer research fellowships alongside world-class urologic scientists. Awardees will now receive $4,000 stipends, up from $3,000, to support them during a ten-week mentored research experience.

Residency Research Awards
Designed to provide motivated and exceptional urology residents with mentored training to prepare them for careers that include urologic research, Residency Research Awards provide up to $40,000 per year to conduct either six months or one year of research under the direction of an accomplished mentor. Sponsoring institutions provide matching funds and ensure that the awardee receives adequate research support. The six month option is an addition to the 2016 award competition that will accommodate residents in programs with shorter periods dedicated to research.

Research Scholar Awards
Research Scholar Awards provide $40,000 per year for one- and two-year mentored training for clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. Sponsoring institutions provide matching funds and ensure that the scholar receives adequate research support. The 2016 competition was expanded to include early career investigators who were in the first five years of beginning a faculty position. To date, the program has invested over $20 million to support over 550 Research Scholars, many of whom have remained in committed research career tracks and now serve as leaders in urologic research and clinical practice. This program now boasts a record of 27 endowments to fund urologic researchers.

Rising Stars in Urology Research Awards
Rising Stars Awards provide a total of up to $200,000 for up to five years of supplemental salary support to urologists who have successfully competed for career development awards from NIH or other major funding organizations. The award is intended to ensure that the salary compensation for these motivated individuals who have committed to careers in urologic research remains competitive with that of their clinical urology peers. This award encourages recipients to contribute to urology as both surgical specialists and as scientists investigating causes, prevention, treatment and cures that will improve patients’ lives.

Learn more about AUA and Urology Care Foundation funding opportunities.

Research and Patient Advocacy

AUA Advocacy Efforts Expand and Protect Federal Funding for Urologic Research

  Capitol BuildingThe AUA is a leader in helping to identify gaps in knowledge and communicating urologic research needs to key constituents at the federal level. In some successful cases, these initiatives translate into the availability of federal funding for urologic researchers. Most recently, the AUA worked to expand federal funding for bladder cancer research for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRPs), and helped block a Senate amendment that would have eliminated funding in urologic research areas such as prostate cancer, kidney cancer and interstitial cystitis.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the AUA’s Research Council, Office of Research and Government Relations & Advocacy Department, bladder cancer was officially added to the list of eligible diseases to compete for federal funding in the DoD Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program. Once enacted, bladder cancer researchers will be able to apply for grants under the CDMRPs for the first time in its 23-year history. This is especially noteworthy for researchers considering that the amount of federal funding currently invested in bladder cancer research is disproportionately low. The Office of Research and its council members were instrumental in identifying the many reasons why a greater investment in bladder cancer research was needed and crafted a detailed request letter to congress. The Government Relations & Advocacy Department was then able to build support by taking that information and sharing it with various lawmakers and the appropriate committee staff.

The AUA also works with many coalition partners to protect existing urologic research funding. During the Senate’s consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) filed an amendment that would have prohibited funding for medical research at the DoD, unless the research met certain narrowly defined criteria with military relevance. As such, the amendment would have effectively terminated long-time CDMRPs like the Army’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. This program is critical for urologic research: it has been funded since 1997 with an annual appropriation currently at $80 million and has invested over $1.2 billion in funding prostate cancer researchers.

Due to a rapid and aggressive response from the Defense Health Research Consortium, of which the AUA is currently an Executive Committee member, a letter of support for these DoD programs was signed by 64 organizations and sent to Capitol Hill. The AUA and other organizations directly communicated with Hill staff on the many accomplishments of the CDMRPs. Patient groups mobilized a groundswell of grassroots in opposition to McCain’s amendment as well. The results were overwhelming. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) formally presented the arguments and the organizations making up the consortium on the Senate floor. In the end, Senator McCain chose not to bring his amendment up for a vote because it was clear that it would not pass due to the widespread opposition by advocacy groups, including the AUA.

Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) Making Strides to Advance Urologic Research 

  Society For Women's Health

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR®) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming women’s health through science, advocacy, and education. SWHR was the first major proponent of increasing focus on biological differences in disease, and was responsible in large part for the requirement to include women in medical research and clinical trials. Founded in 1990 by a group of physicians, medical researchers, and health advocates, SWHR has been successfully advocating for research on women’s health for over 25 years.

In 2002, SWHR began bringing together and supporting networks of researchers focused on specific concerns in women’s health. This initiative began with the SWHR Interdisciplinary Network on Sex, Gender, Drugs and the Brain, which focused on sex differences in nervous system function. In total, SWHR has now supported eight research networks focused on women’s health, which include topics such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and metabolic health.

The most recent of these initiatives is the SWHR Interdisciplinary Network on Urological Health in Women, which will work to define inter-and multi-disciplinary research priorities to examine conditions related to the urological system and its impact on women’s health. In establishing this network, SWHR referenced information provided by the AUA’s National Urology Research Agenda to develop discussion points for the first meeting of the SWHR’s Network on Urologic Health in Women, and SWHR continues to partner with the AUA Office of Research and the AUA Research Advocacy Committee to strengthen advocacy for urologic research.

Dr. Toby Chai, vice-chair of the AUA Research Advocacy Committee, serves as a member of the SWHR Interdisciplinary Network on Urological Health in Women. The AUA and SWHR are both members of the Friends of NIDDK legislative advocacy coalition. SWHR is also participating in a Urology Care Foundation initiative—in partnership with Astellas and 21 patient advocacy organizations vested in advancing bladder health—to win federal and state level proclamations that designate November as Bladder Health Month. This effort can in turn be leveraged to advance advocacy for bladder health research.

Research advocacy organizations are only as impactful as the partnerships they build with stakeholder organizations and patient communities. These partnerships are imperative in guiding and supporting the future of urologic research.

Follow Society for Women's Health Research


Research Resources

Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network (PCBN)

 PCBN LogoThe Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network (PCBN), supported through federal funding, is a public bioresource that provides tissues and other biospecimens to all prostate cancer investigators. This biorepository maintains high quality, well-annotated specimens obtained in a systematic and reproducible fashion using optimized and standardized protocols. The PCBN derives its specimen resources from extensive, well-characterized patient populations. Over 20 studies have been published using biospecimens obtained from the PCBN. The PCBN is a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Washington School of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine and the Department of Defense. Any questions can be addressed to

Mayo Clinic O'Brien Urology Research Center

  Mayo Clinic Logo

The goal of the Mayo Clinic O'Brien Urology Research Center, supported by the NIDDK, is to bring specialized resources and interdisciplinary collaborations among seasoned and new investigators to bear on the characterization, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of urinary stone formation. Center investigators are interested in exploring collaborations with other sites interested in urinary stones.  Large cohorts of urinary stone patients that have been imaged by dual-energy CT, endoscopically mapped and phenotyped, and historical and prospective cohorts of first time stone formers with matched controls, have each been established. Ancillary studies are also encouraged to take advantage of the Center's CT imaging expertise as well as novel Drosophila model of in vivo calcium oxalate crystallization. Please contact Dr. John Lieske for more information.

  ResearchAUA Offers Statistical Consulting Services to Researchers

As part of an ongoing mission to support urologic research, the AUA has launched a new initiative to provide an array of data and statistical consulting services. Regardless of the size or scope of your project, the AUA's team of highly skilled data experts can help plan your project, develop your study hypothesis, and collect and evaluate your datasets to determine the best approach for analysis.  See More

Did You Know?

  Research RO1 from the NIDDK   Research RO1 from the NIDDK

Calendar of Research Events


2 – 4

Society of Urologic Oncology Annual Meeting

Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel – Washington, DC

3 – 4

International Congress for Underactive Bladder

Grand Hyatt Denver - Denver, Colorado


7 – 9

Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Moscone West Building - San Francisco, CA

7 – 10

AACR The Function of Tumor Microenvironment in Cancer Progression

Hard Rock Hotel - San Diego, California

23 – 27

The Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction Annual Meeting

The Roosevelt New Orleans - New Orleans, LA

Feb 28 –
Mar 2

AACR Precision Medicine Series: Cancer Cell Cycle – Tumor Progression and Therapeutic Response

Hyatt Regency Orlando - Orlando, FL

17 – 20

AUA Southeastern Section Annual Meeting

Omni Nashville Hotel - Nashville, TN

Mar 31 –
Apr 3

American Medical Student Association Annual Convention & Exposition

Hyatt Recgency Crystal City - Arlington, VA

16 – 20

AACR Annual Meeting

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - New Orleans, LA

Opportunities in Urologic Research

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute

BC/BE Urologist for a Surgeon-scientist Position

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute is seeking a BC/BE Urologist for a surgeon-scientist position, who will also be recommended for a faculty appointment at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York, according to the level of professional qualifications. The chosen applicant will have

  1. a special interest in urologic oncology in general and minimally invasive surgery specifically;

  2. completed fellowship training in urologic oncology and/or minimally invasive surgery;

  3. a desire to participate as an active clinician in a multidisciplinary program; and

  4. a specific area of academic interest. Opportunities for research and academic activities are outstanding, with protected time for academic endeavors provided.

Curriculum vitae should be sent to:
James L. Mohler, M.D.
Associate Director for Translational Research
Chair, Department of Urology
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263

The University of Arizona Division of Urology
Faculty Investigator

The University of Arizona division of Urology is seeking a faculty investigator, MD, focused on urologic oncology at the Assistant or Associate Professor level, to participate in collaboration between Urology and the Arizona Cancer Center.  Focus on oncology, precision medicine, nanotechnology or imaging preferred.  Investigator must have interest in working in an academic environment and commitment to serving as member of a team.

Curriculum vitae should be sent to:
Dr. Leigh Neumayer, Chair of Surgery

Post in Our Next Issue

We encourage the submission of employment opportunities in urologic research—trainees and faculty only—to be posted in our next issue, which will be released in March 2016. Submission is no guarantee of publication. Please contact the AUA Office of Research with any questions.


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