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General and GI Surgery Research

The research of faculty of the Emory Division of General and GI Surgery includes quality improvement investigations, maintaining outcomes databases to support clinical outcomes research, refining and developing minimally invasive techniques, investigating methods of combating inflammatory bowel disease, and working to improve treatment of Type 1 diabetes.


Investigators

Dr. Scott Davis

S. Scott Davis, MD

Dr. Davis engages in clinical research and outcomes-based investigations, with a focus on minimally invasive, endoscopic, and endoluminal techniques and device development. Principle areas include foregut surgery, bariatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, hernia surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, and quality outcomes research. He is currently the Emory PI of a prospective, multi-center trial of the use of a long-term, bio-absorbable mesh in technically challenging laparoscopic ventral or incisional hernia repair.

Dr. Edward Lin

Edward Lin, DO, MBA

Dr. Lin, chief of the Division of General and GI Surgery, has been involved in collaborations that laid the groundwork for single incision laparoscopic colectomies, appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and weight-loss surgeries. Dr. Lin and Dr. Juan Sarmiento (see below) have developed innovative methods for minimally-invasive approaches to liver surgery and laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas. His basic science research concentrates on the mechanism of diabetes resolution following bariatric surgery.

Dr. Susan Safley

Susan Safley, PhD

Dr. Safley's research concentrates on improving methods for transplanting islets as a therapy for Type 1 diabetes, particularly by developing durable, animal-derived donor islets with encapsulation to help prevent triggering the body’s immune response. This work is often conducted with prominent Emory diabetes investigator Dr. Collin Weber (see below) in the Emory Diabetes and Parathyroid Disease Lab, and has been funded by such organizations as the NIH and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Dr. Juan Sarmiento

Juan Sarmiento, MD

Dr. Sarmiento is conducting clinical research related to several aspects of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, including the coagulation consequences of major liver resection, the endocrine implications of partial pancreatic resection in nondiabetic patients, and simplified clinical pathways for complex pancreatic resections like the Whipple procedure.

With Dr. Edward Lin, Dr. Sarmiento has developed unique techniques for laparoscopic-assisted formal liver resections, such as the performance of laparoscopic hepatectomy through incisions that are much smaller than those of a standard open procedure. He has also developed innovative methods of doing laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas.

Dr. Virginia Shaffer

Virginia Shaffer, MD

Dr. Shaffer has extensive experience treating colorectal cancer, anal cancer, and other gastrointestinal diseases. One of her primary research objectives is to develop better therapies for treating pouchitis, an inflammation of the pouch that is created during surgery for ulcerative colitis for storing and eliminating solid waste. She is currently investigating her hypothesis that fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) could offer consistent relief from the condition.

Dr. John Sweeney

John Sweeney, MD

Dr. Sweeney is the chair of the Emory Department of Surgery. He has a strong interest in health services research, and has conducted collaborative quality studies with Dr. James C. Cox, director of the Experimental Economics Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, that have focused on improving hospital length of stay and increasing physicians' effectiveness in identifying when to discharge a patient.

Dr. Collin Weber

Collin Weber, MD

Dr. Weber has made seminal contributions to the field of diabetes research, including being among the first diabetes investigators to examine both cross-species islet transplantation and the protective encapsulation of transplanted islets. He directs the Emory Diabetes and Parathyroid Disease Lab, has been funded by such organizations as the NIH and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is dedicated to making islet transplantation a viable cure for patients with Type 1 diabetes and to increasing the supply of donor islets. Following work conducted by Dr. Weber, his colleague Dr. Susan Safley, and other clinical and basic science researchers, Emory transplant surgeons performed the first islet cell transplant to treat Type 1 diabetes in Georgia in 2003.

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