Allen C. Gao, M.D., Ph.D.
Message from the
Director of Research
Department of Urology
The Department of Urology is committed to increasing knowledge of urological diseases and through this, improving patient care. The department is actively involved in basic science, translational and clinical research programs. A 2009 analysis of National Institutes of Health funding for schools of medicine found that the UC Davis urology department was ranked third in the nation, with nearly $4 million in research grants in 2008. The Department researchers were featured in an article in the UC Davis Cancer Center website: UC Davis urologists national leaders in cancer research commitment.
Our largest research program is in urologic oncology, which focuses on prostate and bladder cancer. A number of investigators in the department focus on research in these diseases; specifically, mechanisms signaling the androgen receptor to activate prostate cancer growth and progression following castration. Another important focus of research in the Department is in pediatric urology, where our faculty and staff our studying adult and embyronic stem cells and manipulating cell growth for tissue engineering.
- The urological oncology clinical trials are coordinated through the Cancer Center's Clinical Trials Support Unit and cover all aspects of urological cancer. A number of the laparoscopic procedures are being conducted in a clinical trial fashion so researchers can assess utility in urological disease.
- Endourology clinical studies are looking at ways to prevent stone formation and understanding the pressure changes that occur during percutaneous stone removal.
- The department has a long history of clinical research dealing with a number of aspects of female incontinence. The latest study is looking at the ability of TVT as compared to slings in curing female incontinence.
- In pediatric urology, we are evaluating quality of life issues, outcome data and minimally-invasive surgery.
- In male factor infertility, our goal is to provide a holistic, couple-centered approach to the treatment of sexual problems.
Residents’ Research Program
All residents are provided 6 months during their PGY5 year to pursue research interests. Residents may choose their own Research Mentor and/or devise their own research project or choose to join an existing project. The objectives of the research rotation are to expose residents to scientific research and to teach them how to critically evaluate published scientific literature. Historically, residents have been very productive and have produced 4-10 manuscripts resulting from their research time. This exposure and experience contributes to the high percentage of graduating residents securing prized fellowship positions after graduation.