Faculty Research Interests

Our faculty has the expertise, resources, facilities, and environment to conduct research in both the basic and clinical sciences of trauma  and surgical critical care, sepsis, surgical and endocrine oncology, wound healing, and abdominal wall reconstruction. Research is multidisciplinary and includes investigators with specialties in surgery, medicine, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, and molecular biology.

All of our faculty are engaged in research. A partial list of research interests in the Department of Surgery follows. 

Tony Godfrey, PhD
Dr. Godfrey’s research is focused on cancer genetics and molecular pathology. Research projects use state-of-the-art genetic and genomic approaches to address clinical needs in the areas of cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. One focus of Dr. Godfrey’s research is Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma; a tumor with rapidly increasing incidence in the United States and other western countries. The Godfrey lab works closely with translational research teams comprised of surgeons, pathologists, and oncologists in to develop new molecular approaches to cancer detection, staging, and treatment. See a listing of Dr. Godfrey’s publications on ResearcherID.

Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW
Lisa is the Director of the Community Violence Response Team (CVRT) at Boston Medical Center in the Sections of Acute Care and Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). Her research interests include violence-related injury and epidemiology, older adult falls and motor vehicle crash prevention as well as impaired driving, child passenger safety and infant mortality related to sleeping habits. Through her research and publications in multiple peer-reviewed journals and numerous regional and national presentations, she has expanded BUSM’s reputation as a leader in trauma-informed care for victims and families who experience interpersonal violence. Lisa also holds the position of Director of Programs and Education for the Injury Prevention Center and is a member of the New England Injury and Violence Prevention Research Collaborative (NEIVPRC).

Peter Burke, MD, FACS
As the Chief of Trauma Services at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Burke’s clinical interests involve developing a better understanding of the overall injury response with a special interest in the nutritional needs of trauma and critically ill patients. The effects of metabolic and nutritional support on the inflammatory response and their interactions with other ongoing therapies in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) population remains an area of active and ongoing study.

Tracey Dechert, MD, FACS
Dr. Dechert is an attending surgeon in the Section of Acute Care and Trauma Surgery, Chief of Surgical Critical Care and Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and Associate Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Dechert’s research interests include trauma in women, injury prevention, and research in surgical education. She is also actively involved in resident education and wellness. Additionally, Dr. Dechert is also interested in quality improvement in the critical care setting and has played an active role in improving the outcomes of critically injured patients.

F. Thurston Drake, MD, MPH
As an attending surgeon in the Section of Surgical Endocrinology. Dr. Drake’s research interests include improving treatment and outcomes for appendicitis and other common surgical diseases, system-wide approaches to improve management of incidental radiographic findings, innovations in surgical education, improving access to surgical care, and assessing the potential impact of language barriers on surgical outcomes. Dr. Drake was the lead author on an influential study published in JAMA Surgery in 2020 that investigated epidemiologic patterns in the incidence of appendicitis. The first population-based study of adult appendicitis since the early 1990s, it found that acute appendicitis incidence is geographically distinct and associated with lower socioeconomic status, further highlighting the importance of social determinants of health in surgical care.

Alik Farber, MD
As Division Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Surgery of Boston University School of Medicine Dr. Farber leads a multidisciplinary clinical research unit based in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. The mission of the Boston Medical Center Vascular Research Consortium is to improve the care of patients with vascular disease through innovative research. Recent research endeavors stemming from the Consortium included projects involving aortic aneurysms, venous disease, carotid disease, and vascular trauma. Dr. Farber’s specific research interests include peripheral arterial disease and dialysis access. He is a principal investigator for the BEST-CLI (Best Endovascular versus Best Surgical Therapy in Patients with Critical Limb Ischemia) trial, an international, randomized multicenter controlled trial comparing clinical efficacy, functional outcomes, and cost effectiveness of surgical leg bypass with the less invasive alternative of endovascular therapy for patients with critical limb ischemia.

Jeffrey Kalish, MD, FACS
Dr. Kalish is an attending surgeon in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Associate Professor of Surgery and Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Kalish’s clinical focus and research interests include complex amputation and limb salvage surgery, totally percutaneous endovascular aortic aneurysm repair, diabetic foot management and lower extremity revascularization, and dialysis access. Dr. Kalish created a Multidisciplinary Amputation Program at Boston Medical Center based on the lessons he learned from his extensive involvement with the Boston Marathon bombing survivors and his Society for Vascular Surgery Traveling Fellowship project. The fellowship involved visiting military centers that specialize in the treatment and rehabilitation of amputees with the goal of translating military best practices to the civilian medical establishment.

Virginia R. Litle, MD, FACS
As an attending surgeon in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Virginia Litle is involved in the daily clinical care of patients with Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), gastroesophageal disease, esophageal cancer and lung cancer. As Director of the Barrett’s Esophagus Program, Dr. Litle is actively building the Barrett’s Esophagus Outcomes databank, through which patients undergoing ablation of Barrett’s esophagus and anti-reflux procedures are followed for response to treatment. She works with Dr. Tony Godfrey implementing a less invasive approach for surveying patients with Barrett’s esophagus involving a sponge for collecting precancerous cells and genetic material to improve the management of patients at risk for this deadly esophageal cancer.

Luise Pernar, MD
Dr. Pernar  is an attending surgeon in the Section of Minimally Invasive and Weight Loss Surgery and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine. Her primary research interest is in surgical education. Using quantitative as well as qualitative research practices, she is investigating skill development, intra-operative teaching, technical  skill assessment, and mechanisms underlying resident attrition. In addition, Dr. Pernar is involved in clinical research projects relevant to the surgical care of patients with morbid obesity. Projects include the impact of morbid obesity on outcomes after ventral hernia repair, weight regain after weight loss surgery, and prevention of thromboembolic events following weight loss surgery.

Podiatry Surgery
The primary goal of research in the Division of Podiatry Surgery is to prevent major amputation in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Faculty in the division receive many grants to conduct industry-sponsored trials, and faculty and residents conduct investigator-initiated research projects. Learn more.

Teviah Sachs, MD, MPH
As an attending surgeon in the Sections of Surgical Endocrinology and Surgical Oncology at Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Sachs’ research consists of assessing outcomes of patients with upper gastrointestinal and soft tissue malignancies. Dr. Sachs, Associate Surgical Education Program Director, is also interested in looking at surgical education and its transformation from past to present, as well as how best to improve the education of future students and residents. He also has an interest in public health, and disparities in healthcare and health quality.

Sabrina Sanchez, MD, MPH
As an attending surgeon in the Sections of Acute Care and Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Sanchez is interested in geriatric surgery, palliative and end-of-life care in the ICU, and surgical education and resident well-being. Specifically, she is interested in improving the care and outcomes of geriatric trauma and acute care surgical patients and enhancing the appropriate use of palliative care in trauma and surgical critical care settings.

Jeffrey J. Siracuse, MD, RPVI, FACS
Dr. Siracuse is an attending surgeon in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Associate Professor of Surgery and Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Siracuse’s research consists of looking at comparative effectiveness, quality improvement, and perioperative optimization in the field of vascular surgery. He also has an interest in the financial aspects of health care. Dr. Siracuse has received research funding through a National Institutes of Health sub-award, a professional society grant, and industry. Dr. Siracuse has  more than 90 publications, and since starting at BUSM/BMC, he has mentored students and trainees on more than 25 first-author publications.

Kei Suzuki, MD
As an attending surgeon in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Boston Medical Center, Dr. Suzuki’s clinical focus is thoracic malignancies including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and mediastinal mass. In addition, he is interested in the robot-assisted thoracic surgery. His research interest is in the prognostication of stage I lung adenocarcinoma, with a specific focus on the tumor immune microenvironment.

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