Multidisciplinary Surgery Research


researchers at work in surgery

Every significant advance in surgery began with someone who was curious and inquisitive, asked a question, imagined an alternative reality, generated ideas, and turned their ideas into reality to solve a problem.

That same curiosity and drive for excellence is what fuels our robust, diverse research enterprise, which seeks to improve human health and well-being by identifying solutions to challenging problems within and outside of the operating room.

Research Leadership

Richard D. Cummings, PhD, an international leader in the field of glycobiology, is the department’s Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research. A Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Cummings is also Director of the NIH-funded National Center for Functional Glycomics, and the Harvard Medical School Center for Glycoscience, both based in the department. In addition, he serves as Chair of the department’s Research Council and as Associate Director of its Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research. He is Chair of the Consortium for Functional Glycomics, a worldwide group of more than 500 principal investigators. Dr. Cummings, funded by the NIH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has major research programs in cancer biology, inflammation and immunity, and nutrition and metabolism. You can learn more about Dr. Cummings’ research here.

James R Rodrigue, PhD, an international expert on the behavioral aspects of organ transplantation, is the department’s Vice Chair of Clinical Research. A Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Rodrigue is also Director of the FIRST (Facilitating Innovative Research and Clinical Trials) Program and a member of the BIDMC Transplant Institute. He also directs the department’s Clinical Scholarship Program. Dr. Rodrigue, funded by the NIH, the HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration), and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has major research programs in healthcare disparities, including economic and racial barriers to heathcare, and patient centered clinical outcomes. You can learn more about Dr. Rodrigue’s research here.

Interdisciplinary Research Centers

All of our divisions have active research program. We are also home to the Harvard Medical School Center for Glycoscience, which serves as the epicenter of translational research for investigators around the world.

Major Areas of Research

  • Cancer biology
  • Inflammation and immunity
  • Nutrition and metabolism
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Vascular biology
Our research spans from bench to bedside. We conduct laboratory-based investigations that define the molecular basis of disease; develop novel surgical approaches, tools, and devices; and evaluate the effectiveness of clinical interventions on large populations of patients. We carry out studies that shed light on disparities in the delivery of surgical care or access to treatment for our most vulnerable citizens.

Interdisciplinary collaboration, partnership, and teamwork are essential to solving complex problems. To accelerate innovation and discovery, we have implemented innovative programs that foster collaboration throughout Boston, in both academia and in the life sciences and medical technology industries.

Our mission is to develop more effective approaches for the promotion of health, the prevention of illness, and the treatment of disease. Our obligation is to foster an ecosystem where modern medical miracles - small and large - continue to happen.

To learn more about the research underway in the Department of Surgery, read our latest Surgery Research Report.

For more information, please contact : 

Department of Surgery
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Lowry Medical Office Building
110 Francis St.
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-9581