Bringing new best practices to our patients

Clinical research enables our medical professionals to understand mechanisms that lead to new solutions. Once those solutions are developed, clinical trials ensure they are safe and ready for use among those who need them.

Highlights in clinical research


Improving surgical care through health services research

Health services research is the study of health behavior and disease dissemination and prevention from a biologic and behavioral perspective. It’s also the study of population health, which measures health outcomes of groups of individuals connected by sociodemographic status, geography or entity. Surgical health services researchers study the biopsychosocial underpinnings of surgical disease, measure surgical outcomes and test innovative approaches for improving surgical care.

As director of The Center for Surgical Health Assessment, Research and Policy, Dr. Heena Santry's research utilizes qualitative methods, survey research, epidemiology and geographic information systems.

Learn more about Dr. Heena Santry


Finding targeted drugs to turn off suppressor cells

Despite the promising results of immune-based therapies in treating cancer, almost 70 percent of patients with advanced cancers do not respond to a new class of immune-stimulating drugs. Dr. Carson’s research group feels that this lack of response could be due to a type of immune cell that the cancer uses to block tumor shrinkage. These suppressor cells can be turned off or even eliminated with targeted drugs. Dr. Carson and his group are now conducting clinical studies in patients with cancer using a combination of drugs: one drug to stimulate the cancer fighters of the immune system and another to block the suppressor cells. These studies are first piloted as test tube experiments and then later taken into the clinic to help patients.

Learn more about Dr. William Carson


Creating systems and environments to ensure the highest level patient care

A Learning Healthcare System (LHS) can be described as an organizational approach to healthcare delivery with efforts to improve both the effectiveness and the quality of outcomes and efficiency. For an LHS to be effective, research must be integral to the operations so that a continuous cycle of implementation, study and improvement is embraced.

The Institute for the Design of Environments Aligned for Patient Safety (IDEA4PS) was created to leverage the LHS concept and provide the highest level of care to our patients locally as well as nationally. Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, MBA, serves as the principal investigator. 

Learn more about Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce


Evolving surgical techniques to boost long-term outcomes

Colorectal and pelvic problems, both congenital and acquired, affect thousands of children. Surgical interventions for these conditions are very successful, but patients need long-term treatment to obtain the best functional result. Understanding the impact of innovative treatments for these patients in the long-term is challenging and requires detailed data collection work and analysis.

Dr. Marc Levitt's research with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction is addressing these issues by assessing long-term outcomes and continuously working to improve surgical techniques and results.

Learn more about Dr. Marc Levitt


Building a better prosthesis for individuals with limb loss

Cameron Rink, PhD, and other Department of Surgery research faculty are building a next-generation lower-limb prosthesis with collaborators from Ohio WillowWood and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The new prosthetic device is capable of detecting movement of the limb inside the prosthesis to adjust the fit and maximize performance in real-time.

This technological advancement is anticipated to not only improve function, but prevent skin breakdown problems that plague individuals with lower limb loss. Research efforts are currently funded by the Department of Defense.

Learn more about Dr. Cameron Rink

Dr. Poulose presenting

Working to restore abdominal core health in surgery patients

Maintaining abdominal core health is important to nearly every activity we perform in our daily lives. Yet abdominal core strength and integrity can be compromised by life-saving operations needed for trauma, transplantation, cancer or other diseases requiring abdominal surgery. Dr. Benjamin Poulose’s research efforts focus on restoring abdominal core health in patients by identifying the best treatments for hernia and related pain and weakness of the abdominal core.

Learn more about Dr. Benjamin Poulose


Using infrared to better see parathyroids

Parathyroids are tiny organs located next to the thyroid glands. These organs are vital for calcium hemostasis, which manages calcium levels in the body. Dr. John Phay’s laboratory discovered that parathyroids naturally “glow” in the near-infrared spectrum, allowing them to be more easily seen during surgery. This facilitates their preservation during surgery for thyroid cancer, for example. And if the parathyroids are diseased, they’re easily seen for removal.

Learn more about Dr. John Phay

operating room

Reducing significant swelling following tumor removal

A cluster of lymph nodes from the intestines is helping restore the quality of life to patients who experience cancer surgery and develop swelling known as lymphedema in the arms or legs. Dr. Daniel Eiferman and Dr. Roman Skoracki of the OSU Lymphedema Center of Excellence, pioneered a new surgery to reduce life-style inhibiting swelling that can occur after tumor removal. Rather than taking lymph nodes from a “good” arm or leg and transplanting them to the affected area — the standard surgical procedure for lymphedema that increases the patient’s risk for developing the disorder in the previously unaffected limb — they learned they could take lymph nodes that drain the small intestine without negatively impacting the intestine.

Learn more about Dr. Daniel Eiferman