12 Apr 2016

Where to in Surgery after the PhD?

What happens after doing a PhD – does it impact on your career as a surgeon? 

Research confirms a commitment to asking the right questions.

Charles Pilgrim is a consultant hepatobillary surgeon at the Alfred who completed his PhD in 2012.  His thesis reports on translational research investigating chemotherapy induced hepatic injury in patients treated with colorectal liver metastases.
Initially a retrospective analysis of 233 samples correlating clinical and histological features of hepatic injuries was carried out. Next, genetic features were assessed using a candidate gene approach to further develop a predictive model for injury. Finally a pilot study was designed and run assessing patients undergoing chemotherapy with HIDA scans and microarray mRNA expression analysis of tissues collected pre and post-treatment.

Following successful completion of his PhD he spent a year in Milwaukee doing a Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic fellowship.  He joined the Alfred and Frankston Upper GI units in 2013 and is now a consultant surgeon with an adjunct position in the Central Clinical School's Department of Surgery.

Current research projects include helping establish a pancreatic cancer registry, pancreatic cancer pathways and management and HPB trauma.

Charles says that completing a PhD enabled greater insight and appreciation of the rigours of clinical and bench top research and confirmed his commitment towards pursuing surgical questions and providing quality data to advance surgical practice and improve patient outcomes.

Future plans include linking clinical and outcome data from surgical practice with histological and genetic data of resected specimens through integration of clinical registries with tissue biobanks and the development and implementation of benchmarks and quality measures relating in the first instance to pancreatic surgery, with subsequent expansion into biliary and hepatic surgery.pression analysis of tissues collected pre and post-treatment.

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