General and GI Surgery Research

The research of faculty of the Emory Division of General and GI Surgery includes quality improvement investigations, maintaining outcomes databases to support clinical outcomes research, refining and developing minimally invasive techniques, investigating methods of combating inflammatory bowel disease, and working to improve treatment of Type 1 diabetes.


Dr. Scott Davis

S. Scott Davis, MD

Dr. Davis engages in clinical research and outcomes-based investigations, with a focus on minimally invasive, endoscopic, and endoluminal techniques and device development. Principle areas include foregut surgery, bariatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, hernia surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, and quality outcomes research. He is currently the Emory PI of a prospective, multi-center trial of the use of a long-term, bio-absorbable mesh in technically challenging laparoscopic ventral or incisional hernia repair.

Dr. Edward Lin

Edward Lin, DO, MBA

Dr. Lin, chief of the Division of General and GI Surgery, has been involved in collaborations that laid the groundwork for single incision laparoscopic colectomies, appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and weight-loss surgeries. Dr. Lin and Dr. Juan Sarmiento (see below) have developed innovative methods for minimally-invasive approaches to liver surgery and laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas. His basic science research concentrates on the mechanism of diabetes resolution following bariatric surgery.

Dr. Juan Sarmiento

Juan Sarmiento, MD

Dr. Sarmiento is conducting clinical research related to several aspects of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, including the coagulation consequences of major liver resection, the endocrine implications of partial pancreatic resection in nondiabetic patients, and simplified clinical pathways for complex pancreatic resections like the Whipple procedure.

With Dr. Edward Lin, Dr. Sarmiento has developed unique techniques for laparoscopic-assisted formal liver resections, such as the performance of laparoscopic hepatectomy through incisions that are much smaller than those of a standard open procedure. He has also developed innovative methods of doing laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas.

Dr. Virginia Shaffer

Virginia Shaffer, MD

Dr. Shaffer's health services and quality improvement research has included her successful effort to improve communication between home health nurses and Emory clinical personnel to lower the 30-day readmission rate for ileostomy patients, and her work to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) for patients after colorectal resection by identifying risk factors for SSIs.

She is also interested in refining treatment for inflammatory bowel disease patients, and has been evaluating the efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in offering relief from pouchitis, an inflammation of the pouch created during surgery for ulcerative colitis that stores and eliminates solid waste. FMT is the delivery of healthy bacteria via placement of donor stool in the recipient's digestive tract.

Dr. Joe Sharma

Joe Sharma, MD

Dr. Sharma's general surgery research is evaluating the biologic function of the folate receptor on parathyroid tumors and using folate-bound nuclear ligands for localization, investigating the role and influence of parathyroidectomy in the management of cardiovascular disease, and working to develop prospective protocol-based thyroid cancer management guidelines and biomarkers for thyroid cancer prognosis.

In the area of quality and safety, Dr. Sharma has launched various process improvement projects throughout the Department of Surgery using data he compiled as the founder of the Wound Infection Group (WIG) combined with information he and Dr. John Sweeney gleaned from analyzing NSQIP reports. He is also wiorking with Dr. Sweeney to further develop quality strategies that align with Emory Healthcare initiatives and those of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Dr. John Sweeney

John Sweeney, MD

Dr. Sweeney is the chair of the Emory Department of Surgery. He has a strong interest in health services research, and has conducted collaborative quality studies with Dr. James C. Cox, director of the Experimental Economics Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, that have focused on improving hospital length of stay and increasing physicians' effectiveness in identifying when to discharge a patient.

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