Buffalo General surgical resident learns beyond surgery during postdoctoral fellowship

Resident’s DCD kidney research to be published in Clinical Transplantation

Reinier Narvaez will be returning to Buffalo General Medical Center as a third-year surgical resident this July following a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University at Buffalo. But Narvaez’ fellowship taught him more than just top-of-the-line surgical skills. Narvaez will return to Buffalo General with a master’s degree in public health, new
career aspirations and as a published researcher.

During his fellowship, Narvaez researched the effects of premortem heparin on kidney donations after cardiac death. After analyzing discard rates, graft survival and patient survival and delayed graft function, he found that the administration of premortem heparin does not affect
the success of kidney transplants.

Narvaez’ research is among the first of its kind examining heparin’s effects on DCD kidney transplants and will help maximize organ utilization.

His paper, “Outcomes of DCD kidneys recovered for transplantation with versus without premortem heparin administration,” co-written by Katia Noyes, Jing Nie and Liise Kayler, was published in Clinical Transplantation on June 4.

Narvaez said the research took roughly one year and was “pretty tedious.” But his hard work paid off, and his research will remarkably help kidney transplant recipients to come.

Narvaez said his postdoctoral fellowship was “very rewarding” and helped him realize his career goal to become a surgical scientist.

“As a surgical resident, trying to learn how to conduct industry research and write a paper from start to finish is highly valuable,” Narvaez said. “For me, it taught me a skill that I will be using as an academic surgeon in the future.”

Although the fellowship extended Narvaez’ time as a surgical resident, the additional skill set he gained will open new avenues for his career. Getting his master’s in public health has especially given him new perspectives on the effects of his work.

And the research doesn’t stop here for Narvaez, as he is already working on his next project.

“I’m actually writing another paper, but this time, it’s for the liver. So the work that we’re doing [now] also has different implications based on different organ systems,” Narvaez said. “As a transplant surgeon, I’m affecting patients’ lives one patient at a time. [But] with the research, I’m gathering knowledge and gathering information to contribute to the transplant community as a whole.”

JACKLYN WALTERS – Health Journalist