In addition to his surgical commitments, Mr Smith has a strong interest in surgical research, especially minimally invasive and non-operative (Watch and Wait) treatment for rectal cancer. In particular he has studied how rectal cancer responds to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy at the molecular, clinical and pathological level.

Currently Mr Smith has 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is frequently invited to speak at both national and international meetings. As well as working closely with The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Merseyside, he also has ongoing research interests with St Mark’s Hospital in London, The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, The Habr-Gama Institute, Brazil and several other international centres of excellence for colorectal cancer care.

Mr Smith finds Watch and Wait a very interesting area to study because it is becoming apparent that some patients with rectal cancer may never need surgery at all, something that may be particularly appropriate for elderly or comorbid patients for whom surgery is high risk.

Whilst pursuing ongoing studies in minimally invasive and Watch and Wait management of rectal cancer, Mr Smith is working closely with Professor Sun Myint in The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool who has extensive experience in organ preservation for rectal cancer. Between them, not only do they provide specialist treatment and management for these patients but they also have an ongoing and highly active research program to further knowledge in this area.

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Research awards

2013 - Ohio Valley Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

This award was given for a research presentation about techniques to identify patients with rectal cancer that are suitable for watch and wait management.

2011 - 34th Millin Lecture Award

The opportunity to present the annual Millin Lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the College.

2009 - 28th Bennett Lecture

This award was granted for a talk entitled ‘Rectal conserving surgery in the era of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy’.

2008 - St Luke’s Young Investigator Medal and Award

This award was granted for the best presentation of original oncological research.

2007 - Irish Journal of Medical Science ‘Doctor of the Year’ Awards

This award was granted for the best published piece of surgical research in Ireland July 2006 – June 2007

Competitively Awarded Fellowships

2012-2013 - Foundation for Surgical Fellowships – Cleveland Clinic Fellow

This competitively awarded grant provided financial support for Mr Smith’s Fellowship in the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. This award was granted on the understanding that its recipient focused on advanced surgical techniques and applied the principles of advanced minimally invasive surgery in patient care.

2011 - RCSI/Ethicon Travelling Fellowship

This highly competitive RCSI fellowship was to part fund a Colorectal Fellowship year in St Mary’s Hospital, London with Professor Ara Darzi.

2011 - RCSI/ Astra-Zeneca Travelling Fellowship

This highly competitive travel bursary was awarded to Mr Smith to allow him to visit centres of excellence that practiced local resection of rectal cancers after chemoradiation.

2009 - Covidien Laparoscopic Travelling Fellowship

This award fully funded Mr Smith’s visit to the Cleveland Clinic for the 6th Annual Cadaveric Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery Course and his attendance at the 1st Annual Update on Treatment Decisions for Gastrointestinal Diseases.

2005 - Irish Cancer Society Oncology Scholars Travel Award

This competitive financial award was provided to fund Mr Smiths travel and expenses to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Orlando, Florida 2005 where he made a research presentation.

2003 - 2005 - HRB Fellow Award

This was a national competitively won grant awarded 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 which provided a salary and research equipment allowances throughout the 2 years that Mr Smith spent studying for his MD thesis.