Success Begets Success with Foundation Supported Research

By: Harris M. Nagler, MD, FACS | Posted on: 29 Jan 2021

FROM THE Urology Care Foundation

Research is at the heart of the Urology Care Foundation's mission because we know it leads to improvements in the care and lives of us all. Our Foundation works tirelessly to support the research that may relieve symptoms, cure disease or even prevent diseases from occurring in the first place. I am honored to highlight some of those research accomplishments.

Research Scholar Award Program: 45 Years and Going Strong

Established in 1975, our flagship funding opportunity–The Research Scholar Award program–identifies future research leaders and ensures they receive the necessary opportunities, training and support to develop a successful research career. What started as a pledge to fund 2 researchers annually has advanced into one of the most important research funding sources in urology.

We have provided more than $27 million to help roughly 600 early-career investigators. Uncertain times notwithstanding, I am proud to announce that our support for this specialty's young researchers remains stronger than ever in 2021.

Building Future Leaders in Urology Research

Many of our Research Scholar Award recipients have developed into leaders in urological research and clinical practice. These individuals are continuing to shape the field of urology to improve patient care.

Looking back at an outcomes analysis conducted in 2017 for the previous 25 years of funded investigators, we know our program has brought widespread success to our field and the patients we serve. Some important highlights to note include the findings that:

  • 83% of awardees continue to conduct urological research
  • more than half reported having held at least 1 academic leadership position
  • 52% of respondents had achieved tenure at the time of the analysis, and
  • 34% reported holding an endowed position.

The impact of our Research Scholar Award was also reflected in subsequent research productivity. For example, former awardees reported an average of 28.4 publications and 2.9 grants that were directly or indirectly related to their Foundation supported research.

I would like to highlight the success of one of our research scholars, Dr. Dirk Lange. Dr. Lange was a 2013 Research Scholar working with mentors S. Larry Goldenberg, MD; Benjamin H. Chew, MD; and Ralph Buttyan, PhD, all of whom were at the University of British Columbia along with Dr. Lange during his fellowship.

Dr. Lange is now developing biofilm technology to fight infection as the Director of Basic Science Research at the Stone Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, where he has developed a research program to improve the lives of patients suffering from kidney stone disease. Specifically, Dr. Lange's team focuses on identifying mechanisms that drive ureteral stent associated complications.

Supporting early-career scientists like Dr. Lange demonstrates the Foundation's commitment to and the rewards of promoting the development of translational research programs. According to Dr. Lange, the Foundation's support was instrumental in helping to develop his career as a urology researcher by providing him with high-caliber mentorship and connections that allowed him to take his research to the next level.

Congratulations, Dr. Lange, and congratulations to the Research Scholar Award program as a whole for its continued success!

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