Research


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 to try to improve outcomes for patients. Over the years he has won several national and international awards for his work and currently he has 33 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Details of all of Mr Smith’s awards and publications are listed below. Mr Smith is also frequently invited to speak at both national and international meetings.

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 The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool that has extensive experience in managing rectal cancer without radical surgery or a stoma bag. 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. Their work has recently won several major awards. The first of these was an international award for the best podium presentation at The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Meeting in Seattle. More recently Mr Smith was part of the Papillon for Rectal Cancer team that won Cancer Care Team of the Year 2018 at the prestigious BMJ Awards in London.

Mr Smith also has an interest in alternatives to major surgery for early stage rectal cancers. In recognition of this interest, Mr Smith was awarded the 2017 European Society of Coloproctology Travelling Fellowship to Japan to visit centres of excellence and to learn more about the specialist techniques developed there. Mr Smith was the sole recipient of this award which was open to applications from across Europe. Details of this trip, the institutions visited and lessons learned can be found in the links to his official travel report posted by the European Society of Coloproctology.

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Research awards


2018 - BMJ Cancer Care Team of the Year Award

This award, given to The Papillon for Rectal Cancer Group that Mr Smith is in, won cancer care team of the year award at the prestigious BMJ Awards in London. This award recognises teams that have measurably improved care in cancer through innovation and commitment.

2017 - ASCRS Podium Award – Tripartite Meeting

This award was given by the Piedmont Society of Colorectal Surgery for a presentation that Mr Smith gave on the topic of organ preservation for rectal cancer.

2016 - Clinical Excellence Award

This was awarded to Mr Smith by the NHS for excellence in his clinical and academic achievements.

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


2017 - European Society of Coloproctology Japanese Travelling Fellowship

This competitive award was given to the best applicant from across Europe. It was awarded to me to pursue my interest in endoscopic management of early rectal cancer, develop my interest in transanal TME and to see management techniques for extended lymphadenectomy.

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.