Neonatal & Pediatric Conditions

Our research works to improving the lives of our youngest patients.

Our Neonatal & Pediatric Conditions Research

A wide range of neonatal and pediatric conditions research initiatives in the Department of Surgery reflect the breadth of faculty expertise and the practice of pediatric medicine itself. The work of our investigators spans neonates to young adults as well as disease processes, from the common to the extremely rare. In all of our work, our goal is to improve the care we provide our youngest patients. 

Basic science and translational research efforts include, for example, uncovering the pathways by which high-risk neuroblastoma — a common form of pediatric cancer — develops and resists treatment so that we may identify new and more effective therapeutic targets. Other efforts include development of an artificial placenta for managing extreme prematurity and an implantable artificial lung device for use outside the hospital setting. Work on the gut microbiome is yielding important insights into the best ways to care for and deliver nutrition to patients with intestinal failure and short gut syndrome.

Visit our Faculty & Lab Directory for a list of all the centers, programs, labs, and independent investigators in the Department of Surgery.

Themes & Impact

We are proud of the basic science and clinical advances brought about by our faculty. Our basic science work has led to new devices that are already being used in the clinic or will be ready for clinical use within the next five years.

  • The Michigan ENdoluminal lengthening Device (MEND) was invented to cure short bowel syndrome, enabling patients to eat and drink normally, thereby greatly improving their quality of life and reducing hospital readmissions.
  • The fellowship training our faculty provide has led many pediatric surgeons to pursue research, ensuring a future of sustained advances and discovery.


Our clinical outcomes research efforts include non-operative management of pediatric appendicitis and treatment of complex congenital anomalies such as esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. Many of our clinical outcomes investigations are conducted in collaboration with the Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium, founded by several faculty in collaboration with 11 regional academic pediatric surgery centers and launched in 2013. 

Our health services research focuses on cost-effectiveness, patient preferences and policy. Projects span investigating the cost-effectiveness of various interventions, such as MRI and CT scan, to how pediatric patients and their parents make decisions about non-emergent surgery. At the policy level, faculty are addressing the issue of, among others, opioids, and developing best practices for physicians and patients alike.


Training is embedded in our research, with opportunities for residents and fellows to conduct clinical and outcomes research. Surgeon development is integral to our mission, particularly around many of the rare procedures performed at U-M. In addition, our Academic Research in Children’s Surgery (ARCS) Program offers an immersive experience for premedical students and prospective professionals to learn about the work of physician-scientists and how it leads to improved patient care.

Partnerships & Collaborations

A collaborative spirit permeates and compels our pediatric surgery research. We maintain strong ties and actively participate with many organizations, including the Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research CenterMidwest Pediatric Surgery ConsortiumMichigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (M-OPEN), Program for Equity in Adolescent & Child Health, Pediatric Surgery Oncology Research Consortium and Global Pediatric Surgery.

We also work closely with parents' groups, such as Avery's Angels (gastroschisis), ImproveCareNow (inflammatory bowel disease) and the NEC Society (necrotizing enterocolitis), which our faculty also helped establish. These invaluable partnerships help us improve care as well as identify additional areas of investigation and carry out long-term research to further impact treatment, and prevention, of life-altering diseases. With pediatric centers around the world, we work to address health issues globally, such as our work on patient preferences related to point of care ultrasound for hernia diagnosis.