Researchers in the Section of General Surgery are conducting research in a number of areas, much of which is funded with NIH grants. Ongoing reserach includes pathophysiology of surgical infections, molecular biology of familial polyposis syndrome and solid gastrointestinal and endocrine tumors, breast cancer treatment, as well as evaluation of inflammatory bowel disease.
Pathophysiology of Surgical Infections
Dr. John Alverdy, professor of surgery, directs a research program that studies the pathophysiology of surgical infections. This program seeks to understand the mechansism by which infection and sepsis arise among critically ill patients.
Despite newer and more powerful antibiotics, the incidence and severity of sepsis continues to rise, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 Americans annually. An aging population, the development of invasive medical and surgical procedures, and the ability to rescue and sustain the lives of the most critically ill and injured patients has created an unprecedented population of patients at risk for infection and sepsis.
The working hypothesis of the Alverdy lab is that during bouts of severe physiologic stress, disruption of the normal balance of the intestinal microflora coupled with an erosion of the protective barrier of the intestinal tract defense system, creates a situation in which the normal resident flora is replaced by highly lethal pathogens.