Department of Urology


At the Urological Surgeon Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh, residents spend 6 months in the lab during PGY-4 year. We maintain a robust research program that encompasses both basic and clinical studies. This program now includes the O'Brien Urology Research Center, an NIDDK-funded lab aimed at developing novel preventative and theraputic treatment approaches for benign prostatic hyperplasia. The Health Services Research lab (PI Bruce L Jacobs, MD, MPH) is another new research opportuntiy for residents and fellows. Finally, many residents rotation throught the well-established and highly-productive neurourology lab, performing intricate experiments aimed at better understanding urinary tract physiology. Please see below for more information on our dedicated research time:


1. PGY4 year is an ideal research time for several reasons:

    a) You know a lot of urology and can ask meaningful questions
    b) You have surgical skills very useful in some of our laboratories 
    c) PGY-4 year is a good place to take a step back and plan your course for the future
    d) Your research can help set you up for future success


2. Although 12 dedicated non-clinical months might be desired by some residents, others would find it too much. 6 months is an optimal balance for residents with divergent interests. Residents make the most of the overall research experience at UPMC for the following reasons:

    a) Encouragement to begin scholarly activity starts from day 1 of the PGY-1 year
    b) Many residents have already written a paper or two before their lab time
    c) The program provides funding for travel to up to 2 national meetings per year for residents who get abstracts accepted
    d) Our labs are set up for a 6-month experience
    e) To make the 6 months maximally valuable, residents normally set up projects and do all needed training in the 6 months before their protected lab time


3. Our residents’ academic productivity despite the ‘only’ 6 months of research rivals or exceeds that of any program with a full year of research. In the last 2 years the average graduating resident had to their credit:

    a) 18 peer-reviewed papers published
    b) 18.5 conference abstracts or presentations 
    c) 1.5 book chapters


4. Since residents spend 6 months less in the lab, they can spend 6 more months in the OR learning advanced urological surgery from the high volume of complex patients we see.