Every significant advance in surgery began with someone who asked “Why?” and then acted on it. That same curiosity and drive for excellence is what fuels our robust, diverse research enterprise, which seeks to improve human health by finding answers to critically important questions and identifying solutions to challenging problems.
In addition to our full-time research faculty and dozens of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, the majority of our clinical faculty conduct research, as do all of our trainees as an essential component of their education. Our FIRST (Facilitating Innovative Research and Surgical Trials) Program provides a robust research infrastructure to support these efforts.
All of our 14 divisions have at least one active research program, and most have many initiatives underway. We also have five interdisciplinary research centers. In addition, we are home to the Harvard Medical School Center for Glycoscience, which serves as the epicenter of translational research for investigators around the world.
While our research spans many areas, our major research thrusts include:
- inflammation and immunity
- vascular biology
- nutrition and metabolism
- wound healing and regenerative therapy
- cancer biology
The types of research in which we are engaged span the entire spectrum from bench to bedside. For example, we conduct laboratory-based investigations that define the molecular basis of disease; develop novel surgical approaches, tools, and devices; and evaluate the effectiveness of competing interventions.
We carry out studies of large communities that shed light on disparities in the delivery of surgical care or access to the latest surgical technologies, treatments, or replacement organs for our most vulnerable citizens. We also conduct research to determine the best ways to train surgeons to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Through our Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research, we are designing new molecular and biologic agents to treat patients with cancer, Crohn’s disease, atherosclerosis, and many other prevalent conditions.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to making progress. To accelerate innovation and discovery, we developed and have implemented a number of innovative programs that foster productive and promising collaborations among investigators throughout the Harvard community.
To learn more about the research underway in the Department of Surgery, read our latest Surgery Research Report.