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Ophthalmology Residency Research

Basic Science to Clinical Research


Many research opportunities are available covering a wide range of areas from basic science, to preclinical, to clinical research. All residents are encouraged to pursue research projects as part of their training over their three years at Moran. Trainees with an interest in research will find enthusiastic support from the faculty, including help in identifying research mentors. Many residents collaborate with bench scientists and clinicians on small research projects and/or case reports as an adjunct to their clinical rotations which can then be used to meet resident research requirements.

The purpose of the program is to develop an appreciation for clinical and basic bench research as well as expose the residents to various types of research over their three years. They will be asked to propose and test a hypothesis and conduct research of their choice under the guidance of staff as well as develop a manuscript based off of that research. They will have protected research time, be mentored throughout, provided with basic research lectures, and encouraged to develop and test their own ideas and hypotheses.


Academic Career in Research


Residents specifically interested in an academic career in research focused on basic, translational, and/or clinical research will find many opportunities for career development at University of Utah Health in the Department of Ophthalmology. Abundant opportunities for clinical studies and development projects exist in all anatomic, clinical, and experimental areas of the department. In addition to classic clinical and bench research, opportunities exist to partner with faculty on quality improvement and outcomes research.

Such projects can be focused not only on achieving and measuring improvements in patient outcomes, but on improving operational and administrative efficiencies. Residents are welcome to develop collaborations with faculty in any department at the University of Utah. Ophthalmology residents have developed collaborations with researchers in departments as diverse as molecular biology and genetics, internal medicine, engineering, epidemiology, outcomes research, hematology-oncology, neurology, pediatric neurology, pediatric infectious disease, and dermatology.


Research Program Objectives


Didactics will include eight lectures over two years covering the necessary elements geared towards clinical research, one to two journal clubs will be focused on a clinical research topic meeting the ACGME criteria.

Objectives of the lectures and or journal clubs will include:

  • Educating the residents on the different types of clinical research.
  • Providing an overview on the value of different types of clinical research.
  • Educating the residents on how clinical trial designs help develop new clinical therapies, i.e. drug and device development.
  • Educating the residents on how to better critique and evaluate clinical case reports and published papers on research.
  • Providing an overview on meta-analysis and the value/ goals of systematic reviews.
  • Lecturing on an overview of epidemiology and the utility of biostatistics – how to incorporate into clinical research.
  • Providing an overview on outcomes research and quality improvement measures – how these have come into play in clinical research especially as it applies to reimbursement.
  • Educating the residents on IRB: what it is, why it is necessary, and how to apply for one.


Research Opportunities


Lunch meetings are held each year with the residency research director to discuss specific research opportunities available in the department. Residents are urged to submit their research for presentation at national meetings and prepare projects for publication in peer reviewed medical journals. Residents are given travel support to present abstracts at national meetings.

Supplies for research are usually provided by resident's research mentor. Residents often apply for additional research funds for more extensive projects through the department chair as well as through various seed grants funding opportunities through the University of Utah.

Education Program Resources

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Contact Us

University of Utah School of Medicine

Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

John A. Moran Eye Center
Academic Office
65 Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Phone: 801-585-3719
Fax: 801-581-5806

Rachel G. Simpson, MD, Vice Chair of Education
Phone: 801-581-2352

Sravanthi Vegunta, MD, Associate Program Director
Phone: 801-581-2352

Meghan Johnson, Programs Manager, Academics
Phone: 801-213-4044

Chandler Thompson, Executive Assistant
Phone: 801-581-3023

Barbara Korous, Director, Operations