Research Strengths

Explore the research interests and current projects of our investigators in General Surgery.

Areas of Research


We seek to understand the mechanisms that trigger various types of cancers. We’re developing new treatment approaches — including the development of a new implantable device designed to catch circulating cells before they become tumors, and a novel use of cryoablation as an alternative to surgery for patients with early-stage breast cancer. Additionally, we’re investigating the link between the genetic regulation of stem cells and the role this may play in adrenal cancers — a vital first step toward finding better treatments.

Close up of cells

New medicines change our perception of what’s possible. We’re working to create vaccines aimed against cancer stem cells, killing cells within the tumor that give rise to new cells, and we’re creating new drugs from natural products, including the Physalis longifolia plant, which has been shown to be highly effective against melanoma, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, colon cancer, glioblastoma, and others.

Healthcare provider

We have one of the strongest portfolios of health services and outcomes research in the country. Our faculty serve as leaders and members of multiple statewide quality improvement organizations and other consortia designed to improve patient care, reduce costs, and socialize better methods of care delivery to help more patients in more hospitals. Through the U-M Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy (CHOP), we also offer 5 training programs for aspiring health policy and health services researchers.


From clinical outcomes of bariatric surgery to basic research into the role of immunity and inflammation in regulating metabolic dysfunction, we seek new insights into the most effective treatments for obesity and metabolic disease.

Textbook and stethescope

Investigators within the Department of Surgery are working on some of the biggest issues in surgical education with the ultimate goal to ensure that newly graduated surgeons are competent. Our work includes theoretical and basic research, application of new techniques, dissemination of our innovations, and regular interactions with national policy makers to ensure that the most refined data and methods influence decisions.

Trauma and Critical Care

Trauma, burn, and critical care researchers in General Surgery tackle a broad portfolio of problems. Working to prevent childhood burns through prevention education; using crash data to inform the design of more representative crash-test dummies; and to develop new treatments for severely injured and critically ill patients, including those with traumatic brain injury, acute lung injury and sepsis in a way that improves long-term quality of life for patients.

Trauma, Burn, and Surgical Critical Care Clinical Trials


Available Clinical Trials

  • ABRUPT - The Acute Burn ResUscitation Multicenter Prospective Trial
  • ACCUTE – Early therapy for necrotizing fasciitis
  • CLOVERS – Early volume versus early vasopressors in septic shock
  • CODA – Surgery versus antibiotic management in appendicitis
  • IRC-005 – Convalescent plasma in severe influenza
  • ROSE – Early neuromuscular blockade and outcomes in acute lung injury
  • Sepsis immunotherapy – Targeting immune function in septic shock
  • SiVent – Sigh ventilation in preventing ARDS
  • VIOLET – Vitamin D in reducing mortality in critical illness
  • VPA – Testing of valproic acid in patients with hemorrhagic shock


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