The Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati has a long and distinguished history of surgical research that is recognized nationally and internationally. Premier surgeon-scientists and postdoctoral researchers are drawn to the UC Department of Surgery to pursue innovative and exciting research in state-of-the-art laboratories, with a focus on applying the discoveries made in the laboratory directly to the bedside for the advancement of patient care. Clinical trials not available elsewhere are also offered for a variety of surgical diseases, giving hope to patients with critical illness who were once considered untreatable.
The research mission is to generate new knowledge of the scientific basis of surgically-related disease and to provide outstanding scientific training for the surgeons and surgical scientists of the future. The primary objectives are:
- To be on the cutting edge of surgical research
- To help develop new applications to clinical care
- To provide outstanding research training for surgical residents and surgical scientists.
The Department of Surgery occupies 15,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research laboratories in the Surgical Research Unit, the Cardiovascular Center, the UC Metabolic Diseases Institute, and the Medical Sciences Building. Additional research space is utilized at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Shriners Burns Hospital Cincinnati.
The strategic plan for research centers on the development of disease- and discipline-based specialty programs. We have implemented research focus groups organized around surgeons and scientists with common interests. These programs yield high-quality research and, importantly, serve as a breeding ground for both young surgeons with a sophisticated background in modern science as well as basic investigators with an enhanced appreciation for surgical disease.
One of the primary research strengths of the Division of Research is in the field of injury biology. Our multidisciplinary team investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which insults such as trauma and infection can lead to multiple organ failure and death. This group is comprised of both basic scientists and surgeon-scientists, thereby providing a comprehensive approach to scientific problems that have clinical significance. These investigators have multiple federally-funded research projects, including molecular mechanisms of hemorrhagic shock and the impact of novel resuscitation strategies, alterations in immune function during sepsis and burn injury, and transcriptional regulation of local and systemic inflammation.
Institute for Military Medicine
Leveraging our unique expertise in injury biology, members of the Division of Research and their clinical colleagues in the Division of Trauma and Critical Care, as well as members of other University of Cincinnati departments, have partnered with various branches of the United States military to form the Institute for Military Medicine. The mission of the Institute is to discover the scientific basis of severe injury and then utilize this knowledge in the care of combat casualties. Current research projects are centered on determining how combat related traumatic injury can lead to changes at the cellular and molecular levels that contribute to increased rates of infection in multiple organ failure and death. These projects are funded by the Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Office of Naval Research, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
An important part of the research mission of the Department of Surgery is the training of surgical residents and medical students from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, as well as visiting students and fellows from other national and international universities. Many of our surgical residents pursue a mentored 2-3 year research elective in the laboratory of one of our investigators or surgeon-scientists. These research fellowships are supported by a T32 training grant from the National Institutes of Health as well as by individual grants from the NIH, Shriners Burns Hospital for Children, and various prestigious surgical organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, the Shock Society, Surgical Infection Society, and others. Surgical research conducted by surgical residents and other research fellows is highlighted by many platform and poster presentations at annual national meetings of the American College of Surgeons, the Association for Academic Surgery, the Society of University Surgeons, the Society for Surgical Oncology, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, the American Heart Association, American Association for Cancer Research and the American Gastroenterology Association, among others, as well as numerous prestigious basic science conferences such as the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.
Research within the Department and related disciplines is showcased at the weekly Surgical Research conferences as well as at Surgical Grand Rounds.
Full-Time Research Faculty:
George F. Babcock, PhD
Ambikaipakan Balasubramaniam, PhD
Steven T. Boyce, PhD
Charles C. Caldwell, PhD
Erich Gulbins, MD, PhD
Alex B. Lentsch, PhD