Research Strengths

Areas of Research

Physician with stethoscope

We’re pursuing multiple studies in this area, including clinical research on congenital diaphragmatic hernia and quality improvement work on tracheoesophageal fistula.

Surgical tool being transferred between two people in the operating room

Entrepreneurship is a special strength of the Department of Surgery. In Pediatric Surgery, we offer an Innovation Fellowship and an extensive network of support for medical advances and commercialization, including through the Michigan Pediatric Device Consortium and through the U-M Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Initiative. Recent successes include: the FlexDex minimally invasive surgical device; and the Buddy Button, a low-profile G-tube that’s more comfortable for patients.


Through our expertise in both pediatric surgical care and intensive care, we’re uniquely positioned to understand patients’ needs in both realms. Current projects include: an FDA-funded study on the amount of fat included in IV nutrition with the goal of preventing liver damage later; as well as investigation of neonatal GI problems, abdominal wall defects, NEC, appendicitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Healthcare provider

We partner with patients and families to change how care is provided. Through the NEC Society, we collaborated with families to incorporate the social aspects of health care that impact how patients will fare. Through the Child Health Evaluation & Research Center (CHEAR), we’re working on areas such as: projecting long-term clinical and economic outcomes; using mobile technologies for chronic disease management; and developing a national platform for sharing unscheduled pediatric care benchmarks.

Operating room lights

Expanding minimally invasive surgical techniques to even the most complex conditions improves recovery times and reduces pain for patients. That’s why we emphasize innovations in this important area, including developing hybrid techniques using interventional radiology to perform image-guided procedures that are more accurate and more successful.

Programs & Investigators


We’re working to understand the pathways that lead to the development of childhood cancers, including research into possible new targets for neuroblastoma, which is responsible for up to 10 percent of all pediatric cancers.

Trauma and Critical Care

As one of the only Level 1 trauma centers in the state, we draw on our clinical experience to design interventions for trauma and injury. We set standards and educate other regional institutions on best practices, and our research focuses preventing recurrent trauma, including through substance abuse counseling for teens and a grant-funded “don’t text and drive” campaign. Our researchers use analytic morphomics to evaluate how injury impacts patients of different ages and body types to create safer car restraints. The impact of ECLS technology is also being explored in multiple faculty research initiatives, such as artificial placenta and fetal surgical interventions.

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