The mission of the Department of Surgery's research program is to conduct important research in surgical disease to improve treatment and quality of life for affected patients, and to train future leaders in academic surgery. We are dedicated to creating an environment where surgical investigators discover new knowledge, develop innovations, and translate research advances into improvements in patient care. 

credit: Scott Holmes
Cancer Research

The Department of Surgery’s world-class physician-scientists are revolutionizing prevention, detection and treatment for several cancers. Key areas of research focus are: genetics and genomics, translational technology, immunotherapy and vaccines, microbiology, and clinical trials, with an emphasis on lung, pancreatic, liver, thyroid, colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.

credit: Circulation Research
Cardiovascular Research

The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery is a world leader in cardiac and vascular innovation built on the legacy of Dr. DeBakey, our department’s inaugural chair who is widely considered the “father” of cardiovascular surgery.  Together with our partner, the Texas Heart Institute, the Department of Surgery’s cardiovascular research program is at the forefront of developing translational and clinical therapies for cardiovascular disease until a cure is discovered.

credit: Scott Holmes
Surgical Outcomes, Health Services, and Quality and Safety Research

Faculty in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery play a key role in wide variety of quality improvement initiatives and surgical outcomes studies in the United States and across the globe. Our investigators’ research projects are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), VA Office of Research & Development, the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), foundations and industry

credit: Ken Hoge
Transplantation Research

The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery’s reputation as a pioneer in the world of transplant surgery is built on the legacy of groundbreaking discoveries by legendary surgical innovators. Since the 1960s, when Dr. Michael E. DeBakey (1908-2008) obtained the first federal grant to develop an artificial heart, Baylor College of Medicine has remained an international leader in the quest to discover new treatments for advanced diseases of the heart and lung. Today, innovation remains the hallmark of our research programs in solid organ transplantation, mechanical assist devices, surgical procedures, immunosuppressive medications and transplant outcomes.

Research Programs

DOS research funding (320x240)
Three-year funding trend, Department of Surgery.

We are dedicated to creating an environment where surgical investigators discover new knowledge, develop innovations, and translate research advances into improvements in patient care. Our efforts to accomplish these goals coalesce into three distinct programs:

Division of Surgical Research, led by Dr. Changyi (Johnny) Chen, brings together our basic science researchers and Ph.D.s in a unit that encourages collaboration and interaction with clinicians and physician scientists.

Surgical Research Core, led by Dr. Barbara W. Trautner, is a team of nearly twenty professionals, including grants managers, clinical research coordinators, database managers, a biostatistician, a medical illustrator, and a medical editor and writer, who provide easily accessible, centralized expertise in clinical research

Resident Research Training sabbaticals, which offer to four of our eight general surgery residents two-year focused research sabbaticals during their general surgery residency training. Learn about research opportunities for residents in our General Surgery Residency.

Surrounding these core programs are a matrix of faculty seed grants, DSR-sponsored weekly research symposia and grant review sessions, newly created resident research requirements that are coupled with research training sessions led by vice chair for research Dr. Scott LeMaire, and our departmental innovation incubator led by Dr. William Cohn, all designed to foster and support the research mission. A growing number of campus-wide databases offers the promise of clinical research evaluating patient care.