Research Highlights

Cutting-edge research

There’s plenty of exciting research happening at Dalhousie University. And much of that research is happening right here in our department.

  • Our Division of Cardiac Surgery has strong partnerships with basic scientists who are looking at improving cardiac care outcomes by engaging all members of patients' families with service-changing, informed consent guidelines.
  • Our Division of Plastic Surgery is focusing on microsurgery, hand and reconstructive surgery, skin grafts and anatomical studies to secure the best surgical outcomes.

Want to know more about our research? Check out our news and events.

Informed consent: Cardiac surgery researchers help patients choose the right path

Depending on their overall health, the decision to undergo valve replacement or coronary artery bypass surgery may not be an obvious one for people over the age of 70.

"Some patients in their late 80s fare extremely well after cardiac surgery. Others—who may be younger but more frail—end up with a prolonged stay in hospital and may need to be discharged to a nursing home rather than their own home," says Dr. Greg Hirsch, head of the Division of Cardiac Surgery in Dalhousie Medical School’s Department of Surgery. "For many, this would not be an acceptable outcome. Patients really need to understand the potential risks and benefits of surgery."

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Closing the outcome gap in pancreatic cancer: research sheds light on path to better care
Hurton and Molinari 2

Hepatobiliary surgeon Dr. Michele Molinari and fourth-year general surgery resident Dr. Scott Hurton are shedding light on how outcomes might be improved for people afflicted with pancreatic cancer—an aggressive cancer with persistent poor survival rates. With Dr. Geoff Porter, Dr. Robin Urquhart, Margaret Jorgensen and Cynthia Kendall of the Cancer Outcomes Research Program, they’re the first researchers to examine quality of care provided to pancreatic cancer patients in Nova Scotia.

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Surgical team brings nerve repair surgery to babies in Maritimes

With the urgent cry – “It’s a shoulder!” – the birthing unit team at Moncton City Hospital sprang into action. “I didn’t know what was happening at first, but then I realized the baby’s shoulder was stuck,” recalls Becky Gallant of her daughter Emma’s birth in November 2012. “She got out okay, but they knew right away she was injured, because her left arm wouldn’t move.”

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HPV and oral cancer

Tracing how virus triggers cancer, search for new treatment strategies

As an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dr. Robert Hart sees a major shift in the burden of throat and mouth cancers—from older patients with smoking and alcohol-related cancers, to younger patients with cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the same virus that causes cervical cancer.

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