For the 27th consecutive year, Duke Anesthesiology gathered to share the results of their research pursuits and celebrate scientific excellence at its annual Academic Evening, held on May 14 at the Millennium Hotel Durham. A record number of 92 poster abstracts were presented this year by the department’s junior-level investigators and faculty, ranging from basic science, clinical trials, case reports, and QI projects.
“As the showcase for our department’s scholarly efforts, it’s exciting to see how Academic Evening continues to grow year to year,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gadsden, co-program director. “This year we had more submissions than ever before, but more important than the number, was the range and diversity of the science presented. And, our guest judge, an international leader in anesthesiology research and patient safety, did an outstanding job of engaging with the trainees and junior faculty throughout the evening.”
This year’s guest judge was Dr. Beverley Orser, chair of the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto and director of research at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre. “Always be ready to pivot or completely turn around if the science demands it,” said Orser to a crowd of about 150 faculty, trainees, students and staff at the event. She applauded the department for its rich diversity among teams – incorporating statisticians and epidemiologists to achieve the best scientific outcome, noting that “we all work better in diverse environments.” Orser also shared some words of wisdom to the trainees: 1) focus on your data – it will be what drives your programs forward, 2) be careful about your assumptions and biases – they can take you down a dead-end pathway, 3) don’t dither, just do the work, but know that good scientific outcome is about good planning, and 4) attention to detail and rigor is essential for execution – it’s all about the last 10 percent of effort. Based on her own experiences, she went on to encourage young investigators to invest in graduate training in order to reap an accelerated research career in the long term.
Academic Evening aims to advance anesthesia, critical care and pain management. One of the anticipated highlights of the annual event is the presentation of the Bill White Resident Research Award. White was involved in the design, data control and examination, and statistical analysis of biomedical studies in both observational and clinical trials within Duke Anesthesiology for more than 20 years. Dr. Stephen Ellison, CA-3 resident, received first place in this category for his project, titled “Novel Circulating Metabolic Markers Improve Discrimination of Metabolic Health Independent of Weight.”
“It is a great honor to have been selected for this award,” said Ellison. “I am truly humbled and grateful to have been recognized for the work that has gone into this project over the past few years, which certainly would not have been possible without the support of my research mentor, Dr. Svati Shah, as well as the enduring dedication of Duke Anesthesiology’s ACES Program to training the next generation of physician-scientists.”
At the end of the evening, Orser shared a quote from Charles Pierce, a chemist philosopher: “There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be.” In closing, she told the audience, “In your efforts to collect your data and find your truth, I encourage you to be relentless, train hard, work with the best mentors you have, and most importantly, have fun.”
“It’s fascinating and humbling to see all of the varied types of clinical and bench research being carried out under the banner of Duke Anesthesiology,” adds Gadsden. “We are an incredibly strong and productive department and it’s obvious that we truly live up to our motto of ‘what we do changes the world.’”
Congratulations to each of the award winners listed below.
2019 Academic Evening Winners