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Research

Research


The Pediatric Surgery Basic Science Research Laboratory focuses on three major areas of study. Dr. Besner’s laboratory studies heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and its ability to protect the intestines from various forms of injury. These research projects continue to be funded by the National Institutes of Health and include:

  • Studies of the effects of HB-EGF on stem cells
  • Stem cell transplantation in protection of the intestines from injury
  • Production of tissue engineered intestine
  • Determination of the mechanisms and signaling pathways used by HB-EGF in intestinal cytoprotection
  • Studies of the effects of HB-EGF in several established animal models of intestinal injury

The second area of investigation focuses on the production of tissue engineered vascular grafts. Dr. Breuer’s laboratory includes:

  • Investigating the cellular mechanisms underlying vascular neotissue formation
  • Exploring the biomechanical principles controlling vascular tissue formation
  • Rational design of strategies to inhibit the development of tissue engineered vascular graft stenosis
  • Development of tissue engineered heart valves

The third area of interest is the role played by Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) in scarring and fibrosis. These studies are led by Dr. Brigstock and focus on the understanding fibrogenic pathways in the liver after injury. This NIH-funded work includes the following projects:

  • Role of CTGF in stimulating collagen production in hepatic stellate cells
  • Evaluation of CTGF as a marker of chronic liver disease
  • Regulation of CTGF expression in hepatic stellate cells by microRNAs (miRs)
  • Intercellular transfer of CTGF mRNA or regulatory miRs by nanosized exosomes
  • Characterization of the miR payload in circulating exosomes to establish a molecular signature to allow non-invasive evaluation of the severity of liver fibrosis
  • Targeting of fibrogenic pathways using therapeutic exosomal strategies

The Pediatric Surgery Clinical Research Program focuses on outcomes and clinical translational research. The Deans-Minneci laboratory has developed a comprehensive surgical outcomes research program which employs a wide range of methodologies in order to determine optimal interventions for the management of surgical diseases and the minimization of post-operative complications. Initial areas of focus include:

  • Non-operative management of appendicitis
  • Patient activation and shared decision-making in surgery
  • Comparative effectiveness studies of surgical interventions for congenital anomalies
  • Management and interventions for non-accidental trauma
  • Quality improvement projects for pediatric surgical procedures