STAR Center

The BWH Surgical ICU Translational Research (STAR) Center is a collaborative research center focusing on translational, clinical, and outcomes research in the Surgical ICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The main focus of the STAR Center is to build lasting, collaborative projects based on key issues in critical care. The STAR Center mirrors the multidisciplinary clinical paradigm of the SICU, and facilitates clinical research projects from providers from the departments of surgery, anesthesia, emergency medicine, and medicine.

The vision of the group is to become an international leader in critical care research, personalized critical care medicine, and complement the clinical practice of the BWH ICUs through innovation and collaboration. The STAR group enables investigators to develop high quality, investigator initiated clinical trials & research, and perform industry sponsored trials by linking into local resources such as the CSPH (Center for Surgery and Public Health), BRI (Brigham Research Institute), the BWH CCI (Center for Clinical Investigation), the Harvard Catalyst Program, and nationally with the USCIIT Group (US Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group).

Areas of Interest, Faculty and Fellows’ Involvement in Research

The STAR Center is heavily involved in clinical and translational research in the following areas: Nosocomial infection, multi organ failure/sepsis, delirium, trauma research, research on protein and miRNA biomarkers of peri-operative organ injury and prevention as well as recovery of organ function following injury, outcomes based research, palliative and end of life care, quality improvement, education, and communication & family meetings.

Research in our ICUs is organized around the BWH Surgical ICU Translational Research Center (STAR) headed by Gyorgy Frendl, MD, PhD, FCCM. A research project manager (Ian Shempp), a biostatistician and several research assistants support the research activities in the STAR Center for patient recruitment, with custom databases, data collection, analysis and for administrative and regulatory issues.

The STAR Center is a multi-disciplinary group affiliated with clinical research groups the hospital including members from the Renal and Infectious Disease divisions, trauma, thoracic and cardiac surgery, as well as basic science researchers focusing on various issues that affect critically ill patients including sepsis, inflammatory mediators, pulmonary physiology, and ischemia-reperfusion injury.

While we also participate in large industry-sponsored multi-center randomized clinical trials; they are a small portion of the center’s activity. However, these studies provide our fellows and staff with insight and education on the design and methodology of large clinical trials. We are founding members of the United States Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group (USCIITG) and active participants in multiple NIH-funded trials through that group. Our research abstracts (presented by our fellows or junior faculty) have received four awards in the past 3 years (at ATS and SCCM).

The STAR Center offers a one-year full time critical care research fellowship to perform mentored, high level clinical research protocol.

STAR clinical and translational research is being conducted in the following overall areas:

  • Biomarker discovery
  • Quality of care improvement strategies
  • Analysis of critical care outcomes
  • Prospective studies for testing predictive scoring systems, outcome variables, as well as intervention strategies
  • Testing and implementing novel educational strategies for training and competency
  • Critical care issues of global health

Current clinical research is focused on the following disease groups/areas:

  • Early indicators and biomarkers of trauma, sepsis, and surgical intervention related organ damage
  • The effect of standard policies on care improvement in multidisciplinary, open critical care units
  • Use of non-invasive medical devices to improve patient care
  • Trauma related outcomes
  • Delirium in critically ill patients
  • Nosocomial (bacterial and fungal) infections

Staff and fellows participate in bi-weekly journal clubs as well as at the monthly research meetings where proposed, active, and completed projects are presented and discussed. Fellows and staff are provided with an in-house biostatistics curriculum and guidance for database management. The fellows’ research is mentored by our Harvard faculty.

Please visit our website for further details on our research activities and for opportunities to work or collaborate with us: BWH Surgical ICU Translational Research (STAR) Center