The Section of Urology is a traditional academic training program, sustaining the legacy of Dr. Charles Huggins, our former Section Chief who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1966 for the discovery of hormonal therapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. We have an extensive research program, integrating basic laboratory, translational, and clinical investigation in cancer, urolithiasis, reconstruction, and minimally-invasive technologies.



Our residency program is structured with the philosophy that all residents should receive experience in hypothesis-based research. Consequently, the PGY-4 year is devoted entirely to investigation, and the residents spend the year in a mentored research environment. The primary objective of the PGY-4 year is to have residents identify a fundamental question in urology and to initiate, design, and complete a research project to answer that question.


During the latter half of the PGY-3 year, residents are expected to choose a research mentor from within the Section. Residents may choose to work in one of the following areas:

  • Basic and translational cancer research (Dr. Vander Griend)
  • Minimally-invasive laboratory research (Dr. Shalhav)
  • Nephrolithiasis laboratory research (Dr. Gerber)
  • Bladder physiology research (Dr. Bales)


All of these investigators have established strong collaborations and relationships with other basic and clinical investigators throughout The University of Chicago, which enables the PGY-4 residents to interact with other scientists in both formal and informal research settings.


Regardless of whomever the PGY-4 residents work, their mentors will guide them through the development of a hypothesis and the design of an experimental protocol to test that hypothesis.


The residents focus on a topic that is applicable to urology and that can be feasibly undertaken and completed in a one-year period. Once the project is underway, the residents are required to design, implement, and critically assess their experiments on a daily basis. They meet with their faculty mentor as often as necessary and no less than once weekly. Experimental results are reported and critiqued during weekly laboratory meetings and seminars, at which time the residents receive feedback and advice from other scientists and clinicians involved in our research program. These meetings address the analysis of results, the identification of any problems, and the development of strategies to rectify these problems. The residents are required to maintain accurate and precise experimental records which are routinely reviewed by their faculty research advisor.


In general, the PGY-4 residents are expected to conduct scientific research in the same manner as basic science graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; this enables them to develop a genuine understanding of scientific methodology and the execution of independent research.



Residents at all levels of training are encouraged to pursue clinical research projects and write chapters and review articles. With the assistance and guidance of our faculty, residents are taught to design and implement hypothesis-driven clinical studies and to then critically assess and report the results.



Adjacent to the Section of Urology offices are the Gleacher Urologic Research Laboratories. These recently renovated state-of-the-art facilities comprise 2500ft of space and are home to Dr. Vander Griend’s cancer biology research. The Gleacher laboratories are fully equipped for molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and cellular biology research and include facilities for tissue culture, animal research, and immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization facilities. Core resources including flow cytometry, antibody production, and sequencing are readily accessible and available through The University of Chicago Cancer Center.


Minimally-invasive and nephrolithiasis research is performed in the University of Chicago Animal Research facilities, which have been recently renovated and offer housing, operating rooms, and clinical laboratory and pathologic services. Clinical and translational research projects are carried out, in part, in the Clinical Research Center and Urology Out-patient Clinic. Correlative studies utilize the Gleacher Urologic Research Laboratories.


Residents are able to collaborate with investigators from other departments throughout the University of Chicago and are encouraged to do so, providing it is in a mentored setting with the goal of providing exposure to quality hypothesis-driven research related to a urologic topic.