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General and GI Surgery Research

general surgery research lab fellow, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

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.

Emory Department of Surgery Chair Dr. John Sweeney 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.

Due to investigative ground-work done by Division of General and GI Surgery chief and Emory Endosurgery Unit member Dr. Edward Lin and his colleagues, Emory general surgeons now perform single incision laparoscopic colectomies, appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and weight-loss surgeries. Dr. Lin and fellow Endosurgery Unit member Dr. Juan Sarmiento also developed innovative methods for minimally-invasive approaches to liver surgery and laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas.

Dr. Virginia 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. Collin Weber, director of Emory's Elizabeth Brooke Gottlich Diabetes Research and Islet Transplant Laboratory, and Dr. Susan Safley have been working together to improve methods for transplanting islets as a therapy for Type 1 Diabetes for almost two decades. Dr. Weber is one of the first diabetes investigators to create durable capsules for encasing donor islets so that the body's immune response would be prevented when the islets were transplanted. Following work conducted by Drs. Weber, 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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