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Areas of Research

The Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care values collaboration within and across disciplines. Prioritizing work that has the potential to transform surgical care delivery, the department conducts population-oriented research including health services research, patient-centered outcomes, population health and health economics.

Acute Care Surgery

The Trauma Research Program — led by Carlos Brown, M.D., and Ben Coopwood, M.D., and Jayson Aydelotte, M.D. — maintains an active roster of IRB-approved multidisciplinary research projects and publishes 10 to 12 peer-reviewed manuscripts per year to meet the vigorous research requirements for an American College of Surgeons verified Level 1 trauma center. Studies include multi-center clinical trials, large retrospective reviews and database and registry research.

Research on surgical resident education, surgical skills development and community outreach for trauma prevention is led by Tatiana Cardenas, M.D., M.S.

Research on pharmacologic therapy such as thrombolysis in acute pulmonary embolism, anticoagulation reversal in life-threatening hemorrhage, circulatory shock, pharmacotherapy in the trauma ICU and the impact of medications on thromboelastography is led by Mitchell Daley, PharmD.

Hospital system quality and process improvement research is led by Marc Trust, M.D.

Research on vascular surgery is led by Pedro Teixeira, M.D., and Lucas Ferrer Cardona, M.D. Areas of inquiry include limb salvage, specifically foot vein arterialization for the no-option patient with arterial disease of the lower extremities.

Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine

Research focused on congenital heart disease is led by Erin Gottlieb, M.D., and includes risk mitigation for patients with congenital heart disease undergoing noncardiac procedures, perioperative neuromonitoring and neuroprotection for congenital heart surgery, diagnosis and treatment of postbypass coagulopathy, and communication and collaboration in the care of patients with congenital heart disease.

Critical illness research led by Marissa Mery, M.D., MBA, focuses on long-term sequelae of critical illness inclusive of cognitive dysfunction, financial stress and unemployment. Research ultimately aims to improve patient experience in the setting of critical illness, such as identifying and ameliorating communication barriers among ventilated, speechless patients.

Health services and outcomes research — including comparative effectiveness research and healthcare disparities, with an emphasis on population-level implementation studies — is led by Thomas Vetter, M.D., MPH.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease’s Health Transformation Design team, led by Carlos Mery, M.D., MPH, is redesigning care for patients with congenital heart disease with the hypothesis that outcomes and overall well-being of patients may be optimized by a multidisciplinary management paradigm that is inclusive of, and responsive to, family values and input.

Emergency Medicine

The stroke research team, led by Truman Milling, M.D., conducts original research, including clinical trials in the areas of intracranial hemorrhage, major hemorrhage management, thrombolysis in ischemic stroke and anticoagulation reversal and resumption.

Areas of research in health services systems research, led by Lawrence Brown, Ph.D., include enhancing the evidence base for out-of-hospital emergency care, ensuring the sustainability of health services systems and strengthening the links between emergency services and public health.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

The GERD research program, led by F.P. “Tripp” Buckley, M.D., focuses on outcomes research including using patient-reported outcomes to help inform best practices when selecting types of surgical intervention for GERD. Other areas of focus are how hypervigilance and anxiety play a role in quality of life surrounding different treatments and outcomes of different types of mesh repairs of hiatal hernias.

Research on innovative technologies for surgery is led by John Uecker, M.D., chief of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Orthopaedic Surgery

The orthopaedic faculty — led by David Ring, M.D., Ph.D., and Prakash Jayakumar, M.D., Ph.D. — seek to understand which outcomes are important to patients and how to maximize those outcomes. Areas of focus include the development and application of patient-reported outcome measurements and patient-experience measures and how these are affected by mental and social health. Faculty focused on upper extremity patience-centered outcomes research include Lee Reichel, M.D, and Gregg Vagner, M.D.

The value-based health care research efforts — led by Kevin Bozic, M.D., MBA, and Karl Koenig, M.D., M.S. — include clinical, health services and economic research focused on delivering better outcomes to patients at lower costs. Areas of inquiry include evaluation of the impact of value-based care delivery and payment models, including bundled payments, on costs and clinical outcomes. Additional faculty focused on value, including cost-effectiveness research, include Austin Hill, M.D., MPH, and Randall Schultz, M.D., M.S.

Spine surgery research is led by Eeric Truumees, M.D., and Matthew Geck, M.D., and focuses on interdisciplinary spine care programs, patient safety and outcomes analysis using patient-reported outcomes.

Diversity and disparities research in orthopaedics, led by Anthony Johnson, M.D., and Catherine Sargent, M.D., focuses on disparities in health outcomes, disparities in musculoskeletal conditions and disparities in orthopaedic graduate medical education with a focus on recruitment and diversity.

Research on return to function after musculoskeletal injuries is led by Anthony Johnson, M.D., with an emphasis on military, tactical athletes and athletes with disabilities. Orthopaedic trauma research is led by Austin Hill, M.D., MPH, and David Laverty, M.D.

Pediatric Surgery

The Dell Children’s Trauma and Injury Research Center, led by Karla Lawson, Ph.D., MPH, focuses on pediatric trauma clinical care; child abuse recognition, treatment and prevention; behavioral determinants of injury including risky alcohol consumption; interventions for injury prevention; and developmental and psychological outcomes of pediatric trauma.

Led by Jessica Naiditch, M.D., Dell Children’s Medical Center is an active participant in ATOMAC, a multi-institutional research consortium of Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Centers across the country that collaborate on pediatric trauma research projects, including work on solid organ injury, blunt cerebrovascular injury and traumatic brain injury. Pediatric trauma researchers, such as division chief Nilda Garcia, M.D., contribute to pediatric trauma guidelines and development of standards of care.

Surgical Oncology

Surgical education research, led by Kimberly Brown, M.D., aims to improve the alignment of undergraduate medical education curricula with the desired attributes of future physician leaders.

Surgical health services research, led by Alex Haynes, M.D., MPH, includes development, testing and scaled implementation of teamwork-based interventions to improve surgical care delivery.

Faculty, led by Declan Fleming, M.D., collaborate with investigators in departments across The University of Texas at Austin, including nutritional sciences and kinesiology and health education, to develop a sports-science influenced prehabilitation program to optimize presurgical functional capacity to improve surgical outcomes.

Surgical Subspecialties

Clinical research in several areas of hand surgery — including optimal/novel management of amputations, nerve injuries and finger fractures — is led by Steven Henry, M.D. Innovation in hand surgery research is led by Brent Egeland, M.D.

The research program in functional outcomes of urethroplasty — a surgery to correct scar tissue in the urethra — is led by Charles Osterberg, M.D. Areas of inquiry include patient satisfaction, determinants of quality of life following urethroplasty and drivers of scar tissue recurrence. Research methods include analysis of a large, prospective database.

Research around new techniques to improve nasal surgery and rhinoplasty for complex diagnoses and methods to improve aesthetic results and overall outcomes in breast reconstruction is led by Adam Weinfeld, M.D.

Research on improving the value of health care delivery, focusing on quality improvement and patient safety, is led by division chief Stuart Wolf, M.D.

Aims of this research program, led by Aaron Laviana, M.D., MBA, include seeking to better understand the true patient experience and family burden related to major urologic surgery, forecasting patient-specific tumor growth and predicting optimal chemotherapy regimens.

Transplant Surgery

Transplant research, led by Richard Freeman, M.D., focuses on organ allocation and policy development, donation after cardiac death, team-building in the workplace, motivational process improvement and practical applications of complexity science to change management.