Research Strengths

With nearly 2 dozen labs, Department of Surgery researchers cover a lot of ground — from finding treatments to vexing diseases like pancreatic and lung cancer, to improving the organ transplantation process, to optimizing the way healthcare is delivered, to better understanding injuries.

Explore some of the department’s strengths in basic science, clinical, and outcomes research.


Department research into cancer and tumor biology begins at the level of basic science, using novel methods to understand the proteins and signaling pathways of cancers, and extends into early clinical trials for target drugs.

Close up of cells

We’re developing new medicines from plant sources, and improving the way drugs target cancers through the use of nanoparticle drug-delivery platforms. Our work in drug discovery represents collaborations with researchers in cancer, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pathology, and others.

Healthcare provider

Department of Surgery faculty play key roles in statewide quality collaboratives and in the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. Research focuses on understanding the impacts of state and national healthcare policy, and on studying long-term patient outcomes following surgery.

Human body diagram
Baby's feet

Disorders of the metabolic system pose one of the greatest threats to human health in part because we have few effective treatments. Researchers in the Department of Surgery aim to change that by studying the molecular mechanisms of dysfunctional metabolism in order to develop new interventions for diabetes and obesity.

Healthcare provider

Department of Surgery faculty members are investigating faculty and trainee career development and working locally and nationally to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in academic surgery. Our research seeks to advance the science of surgical excellence.

Textbook and stethescope
Surgical tool being transferred between two people in the operating room

By teaching and modeling entrepreneurship, Department of Surgery faculty advance the development and commercialization of new treatments, new medical devices, and new ideas for the delivery of care.

Close up of cells

Our multidisciplinary transplantation research program studies new methods and technologies for replacing or augmenting failing organs, and investigates the behavior of the immune system in order to extend our understanding of what’s possible.

Trauma and Critical Care

From studying crash test data to developing novel treatments for severe burns, our trauma and critical care researchers bring a multidisciplinary perspective to their work, with the goal of improving trauma survivors’ quality of life and reducing the societal burden of severe injuries.

Surgical tool being transferred between two people in the operating room

With more than a dozen dedicated faculty, our vascular research program is one of the largest of its kind and covers a broad scope of interests — including venous thrombosis, vascular inflammation, thrombus resolution, traumatic injury, nephropathy, abdominal aneurysms, and image-based modeling of hemodynamics.

Visit the Department of Surgery Research website to find out more about the research being conducted throughout the department.