Northern Clinical School - Research in the Discipline of Surgery

Research Leader: Dr Jonathon Parkinson

Research is undertaken across a broad range of surgical specialties at Royal North Shore Hospital. Collectively, the surgeons of RNSH have formed the Surgical Education, Research and Training (SERT) Institute to formalise collaboration, to pool resources and to promote surgical academia on the RNSH campus. The key objectives of the SERT Institute are to:

  • Promote the Surgical Education, Research and Training Activities on the RNSH campus.
  • Strengthen the capacity of all RNSH surgical departments to undertake clinical and laboratory research, and accredited teaching activities.
  • Provide an environment that allows surgeons to practice high quality, evidenced-based medicine.
  • Create new academic career opportunities for surgeons.
  • Provide a dedicated physical space at RNSH for surgeons to collaborate and interact.

Each of the surgical departments have provided an Academic Lead and through these leads the individual surgical departments are provided with resources to facilitate their individual research.

Further information about SERT is available at

Royal North Shore Hospital has the luxury of being co-located with the Kolling Institute of Medical Research. The Kolling Institute was established in 1920 making it the oldest medical research institute in NSW. There is a strong focus on collaborative, translational research within the Kolling, and surgeons of various specialties contribute to a number of the groups within the Kolling Institute including the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, the Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Laboratory, the Cancer Genetics Laboratory and others.

Other research groups on the RNSH campus that focus on surgical research are as follows.

The Institute of Bone & Joint Research (

  • This group was established in 1999 to provide an Institute devoted to advancing our understanding of the disorders and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, their diagnosis and treatments.
  • The Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatic Surgery at RNSH provide a strong contribution to this Institute

The Data Analysis & Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit (

  • This unit was established in 2016 with the primary objective of providing professional data support in order to deliver high quality surgical audit and to stimulate surgical outcomes research across the RNSH campus.
  • As well as employing a full time manager, the DASO Unit provides support and education for as many as 10 data managers across various surgical units within RNSH.

The Cancer Surgery Research Foundation (CanSur -

  • This not-for profit charity was established in 1999 with a focus on furthering research into cancer, with a particular focus on pancreatic cancer.
  • CanSur funding has resulted in many research projects and funding of PhD students

RNSH Hand and Peripheral Nerve Surgery Research (

  • The Department of Hand Surgery and Peripheral Nerve Surgery is involved in numerous research projects within Royal North Shore Hospital and North Shore Private Hospital. Research projects are run in collaboration with The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Royal North Shore Hospital's Department of Orthopaedics, Tetraplegia unit, multi-disciplinary Spasticity Clinic, and the Department of Physiotherapy; The Kolling Institute's Maxwell Murray Biomechanics Research Laboratory and Sutton Laboratories; International hospitals and universities (e.g. ERASMUS Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Loma Linda University, California, USA); Pharmaceutical companies and external groups with a hand surgery interest.
  • Research conducted within the Department of Hand and Peripheral Nerve Surgery includes surgical outcome reviews, surgical technique developments (animal models), multi-centre international trials and publishing of case reports.

RNSH Vascular Surgery Research

  • The Department of Vascular Surgery at Royal North Shore have an active research presence, conducting predominantly clinical projects.
  • There are a number of current projects involving a wide variety of areas of vascular surgery including endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, vascular access site closure, stenting for peripheral arterial disease, wound closure after renal transplant and others

For further information about Northern Clinical School please contact Dr Jonathon Parkinson.