Our Research

Driving innovative research on pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, birth injury, and fecal incontinence.

Our group has led the transformation of Urogynecology from an empirical to a scientific approach.

John O. DeLancey, Program Co-Director

Our Approach

Our multidisciplinary group of basic scientists, clinicians, and researchers rely on a variety of methodological approaches, including:

  • Using computer modeling to study injuries to the pelvic floor that occur during childbirth
  • Using advanced magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvic floor to study the details of pelvic floor injury in women with incontinence and prolapse
  • Developing innovative technologies for improving the assessment of pelvic floor muscle strength and urethral function
  • Using the detailed information from the studies to improve the selection of patients for proper treatment

Our Research

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The goal of this study is to develop a computer simulation platform that allows the effects of surgical procedures to be assessed so that operative planning can be done specifically to each woman’s unique structural failure sites.  
Principal Investigator: Luyun Chen
This University of Michigan and Peking University Joint Institute study will determine the pelvic floor anatomical differences between Chinese and Caucasian women and enhance our understanding of the differences in both anatomy and mechanisms of prolapse between these two groups.
Principal Investigator: Luyun Chen
Current urodynamic testing uses 1950s technology and has not benefited from significant progress in sensor technology. This project seeks to develop new assessments that will provide physiologically relevant and accurate measures of urethral structure and function.
Principal Investigator: John DeLancey
The purpose of this multi-site study is to develop tools and approaches to better understand the causes and clinical course of common lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and how they affect women and men.
Principal Investigator: John DeLancey
This study will quantify the age‐related levator ani muscle and cardinal ligament length change per decade in living women and create an age‐specific pelvic floor biomechanical model to investigate aging’s contribution to the development of pelvic organ prolapse development.
Principal Investigator: Luyun Chen

Awards and Recognition

Our residents, fellows, faculty, and staff have been honored for their many accomplishments with awards for conference presentations, publications, and personal achievements in pelvic floor research. Click below to see some examples of awards our team has received in recent years.

Recent Awards

  • Certificate of Merit Award, Radiological Society of North America 2021 Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting: Bojicic K, Maturen K, DeLancey JO.  Pelvic Organ Prolapse, What Fell Vs What Broke: Shifting Attention From Organ Descent To Identifying Failed Support Structures.
  • Most Innovative Abstract, International Urogynecological Association 2021 Annual Meeting: Horner WM, Swenson CW, DeLancey JO, Chen L. Novel measurement technique for quantifying Iliococcygeal muscle shape change: Feasibility and Methods Development.
  • David H. Nichols, MD Award for Best Vaginal Surgery Presentation, Society of Gynecologic Surgeons 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting: Schmidt P, Fairchild P, Fenner DE, DeLancey JO, Rooney D. Assessing vaginal surgery skills: Setting a proficiency cutoff score for the fundamentals of vaginal surgery simulator. Oral Presentation.
  • Raymond A. Lee Lectureship, American Urogynecologic Society 2020 PFD Week: Dee Fenner - “Advancing Women and Underrepresented Minorities in OBGYN”
  • 1st Prize Paper - Fellow/Resident, Society of Gynecologic Surgeons 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting: Schmidt P, Kamdar N, Swenson CW, Uppal S, Morgan DM. Development of a Preoperative Prediction Tool for Postoperative Complications After Hysterectomy. Oral Presentation.
  • Best Research Article Award, Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health: Swenson CW, Low LK, Kowalk KM, Fenner DE. Randomized Trial of 3 Techniques of Perineal Skin Closure During Second-Degree Perineal Laceration Repair. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2019 Sep;64(5):567-577.
  • Best Clinical/Non-Surgical Abstract, Society of Gynecologic Surgeons 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting: Chen L, DeLancey JO, Swenson CW. MR-Based Perineal Membrane Quantification in Nulliparous and Parous Women With and Without Prolapse: Technique Development and Preliminary Findings. Oral Presentation.
  • 2019 Impact Award, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Society of Gynecologic Surgeons Most Cited Article: Swenson CW, Kamdar NS, Harris JA, Uppal S, Campbell DA Jr, Morgan DM. Comparison of robotic and other minimally invasive routes of hysterectomy for benign indications. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Nov;215(5):650.e1-650.e8.
  • Best Clinical, International Continence Society 2018 Annual Meeting: Shing Y, Liu XF, Low LK, Ashton-Miller JA, Miller JM. The Relationship between MRI-documented Pubovisceral Muscle Tear and Urethral Closure Pressure in Primiparous Women with Known Risk for Pubovisceral Muscle Tear during Their Vaginal Delivery. Podium Presentation.
  • 2018 American Urogynecologic Society Jack Robertson Lifetime Achievement Award: John O. DeLancey
  • 2018 American Urogynecologic Society Robin Haff Research Award: Julie Tumbarello
  • 2018 FPMRS Top Cited Manuscript Award, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: Swenson CW, Kelley AS, Fenner DE, Berger M. Outpatient Narcotic Use After Minimally Invasive Urogynecologic Surgery. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2016 Sep-Oct;22(5):377-81.
  • Best in Category Prize, International Continence Society 2017 Annual Meeting: Brocker KA, Mokry T, Alt CD, Sohn C, DeLancey JO, Chen L. 3D-Reconstruction of MR-Visible Vaginal Mesh-Implants for Anterior Compartment Repair. Podium Presentation.
  • Best of Rehabilitation – Conservative Management Award, International Continence Society 2017 Annual Meeting: Newman D, Diokno A, Low LK, Goode P, Burgio K, Griebling T, Maddens M, Sampselle C, Subak L, Raghunathan T, McIntyre D. A Multi-site Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of Group-Administered Behavioral Treatment in Reducing Urinary Incontinence in Older Adult Women. Podium Presentation.
  • Eugen Rehfisch Prize for Best Basic/Experimental Research: Forum Urodynamicum 2017: Brocker KA, Chen L, Alt CD, Sohn C, DeLancey JO. 3D-reconstruction of Fe3O4-mesh-implants: inner pelvic mesh measurement techniques. Abstract.
  • 2017 Association of Professors in Obstetrics and Gynecology Lifetime Achievement Award: Dee Fenner
  • 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award: John DeLancey

Contact Us

For further information about any of our current studies, please contact [email protected].