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General and Thoracic Surgery
General and Thoracic Surgery

Research activities

Dr. Chiu   |  Dr. Azzie  |  Dr. Fecteau  |  Dr. Langer  | Dr. Gerstle  | Dr. Wales


The Division of General and Thoracic Surgery's research activities range from clinical studies to basic science projects. All members are involved in these activities and many carry ongoing external grant support. The research interests for each staff member are listed in this section.

Dr. Georges Azzie

Dr. Azzie's research interests include advanced laparoscopic techniques and health care in developing nations. See further information on Dr. Azzie's publication listings.

Dr. Priscilla Chiu

Maintaining the function and competence of the immune system over the lifetime of the organism requires the ongoing output and expansion of immune cells. Lymphocytes are an important component of the adaptive immune response. This maintenance of this critical population is balanced by the constant production of new lymphocytes and expansion of memory cells with the lymphocyte death that occurs following immune activation. The factors and environmental constraints that regulate this balance are not well-defined, especially in the context of immune depletion as seen in chemotherapy or congenital immune deficiency syndromes. Furthermore, molecular and genetic contributors to malignant transformation of lymphocytes during these stages of development result in lymphocytic leukemia - one of the most common cancers in children.The work of this lab is to investigate and define the role of environmental and molecular controls that regulate lymphocyte development, expansion and the impact of these factors on immune competence and lymphocytic leukemia development. 

See further information on Dr. Chiu's publications listings

Dr. Annie Fecteau

Dr. Fecteau's clinical research is focused on outcomes of liver transplant patient & ethics. She has peer-reviewed funded grants looking at the quality of life in paediatric liver transplant and risk of taking in living related liver donors. Dr. Fecteau is also the the principal investigator and co-principal investigator for multicenter studies in liver transplantation (SPLIT), acute liver failure and pectus excavatum trial.  

See further information on Dr. Fecteau's publication listings

Dr. Jacob Langer

Outcomes Research in Community Paediatric Surgery - 

Dr. Langer, in collaboration with Dr. Teresa To from the Child Health Evaluative Services Program in the SickKids Research Institute, has been investigating the effects of sub-specialty training and case volumes on outcomes for common paediatric surgical procedures. This research has been done using a number of resources, including the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

The purpose of this research is to determine whether paediatric general surgeons have different outcomes than general surgeons when operating on common conditions in children, and whether general surgeons who take care of higher volumes of cases have better outcomes than those caring for lower volumes.

The results of this research will be used to help develop improved systems for treating these common problems, including specific training programs for general surgeons with an interest in taking care of routine problems in children, mentoring systems, or new systems for rationalizing the care of children in community hospitals.

See further information on Dr. Langer's publication listings

Dr. J. Ted Gerstle

Dr. Gerstle's research efforts are focused upon the field of solid tumours. He is an active investigator in the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and is a surgical investigator who is developing a study assessing adrenocortical carcinoma in children, ARAR0332: Treatment of Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma with Surgery plus Regional Lymph Node Dissection and Multi-Agent Chemotherapy. He is also developing protocols to treat Rhabdoid tumour, as a member of the COG's Renal Tumour Committee.

Presently, he is actively seeking grant support to address basic science questions that examine the management issues around metastatic osteogenic sarcoma to the lungs.

See further information on Dr. Gerstle's publication listings

Dr. Paul Wales

Dr. Wales' research focus is in the area of short bowel syndrome and intestinal failure.  Dr. Wales is the Director of the Group for Improvement of Intestinal Function and Treatment (GIFT), a multidisciplinary intestinal rehabilitation team.  GIFT's mandate is to improve the clinical care of patients with intestinal failure and create new knowledge through clinical and translational research.  

Dr. Wales holds a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Edinburgh.  He is an Associate Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences in the SickKids Research Institute.  He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine and is also appointed to the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto in both, Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and the Institute of Medical Science.  

Dr. Wales' clinical research program employs a variety of epidemiological methodology to evaluate outcome for children with intestinal failure.  Dr. Wales also has a translational research program utilizing a neonatal piglet model of short bowel syndrome.  The model focuses on finding factors associated with improved intestinal adaptation and prevention of intestinal failure associated liver disease.

See further information on the publication listings of Dr. Wales

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