Research Strengths

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

Close up of a baby's feet

Congenital Anomalies

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


FlexDex minimally invasive surgical device


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.


Medical worker holding a stethoscope

Gastrointestinal Research

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.


Medical worker with clipboard

Health Services Research

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


Overhead light in an operating room

Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery

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


Graphic showing a cancer cell

Pediatric Cancer & Tumor Biology

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.


Heartbeat monitor graphic

Trauma & Critical Care

As one of the only Level 1 trauma centers in the state, we draw on extensive clinical experience to design effective interventions for trauma and injury. At the regional level, we work to set standards and educate other institutions on best practices for trauma care, and our research focuses on how to prevent recurrent trauma, including through substance abuse counseling for adolescents and a grant-funded “don’t text and drive” campaign. In the lab, our researchers use the new science of analytic morphomics to evaluate how injury impacts patients of different ages and body types in order to design safer car restraints.