The Department of Surgery has research interests in a number of areas. Various conditions are treated by surgery and surgical techniques and applications are being refined all the time. Many advances in surgery are underpinned by high quality research. Additionally, the underlying causes of these conditions are investigated in the research undertaken by the Department of Surgery.

There are research opportunities for Honours, Master of Surgery, MD and PhD students: see our available research projects.

Research areas:

Bariatric Surgery RegistryObesity
Breast, Endocrine and General SurgeryOrthopaedic surgery
Burns - Skin Bioengineering Plastic surgery
Cardiothoracic Spine
Colorectal and General Surgery Trauma
General surgeryUrology
HepatobiliaryUpper Gastrointestinal and General Surgery

Bariatric Surgery Registry

The primary aim of the Bariatric Surgery Registry is to measure outcomes for patients undergoing bariatric surgery across public and private hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.  Find out more.

Burns - Skin Bioengineering

For further information contact: Dr Shiva Akbarzadeh

See Skin Tissue Culture research projects

Cardiac Surgical Research Unit, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

For further information contact Prof Anthony Dart, Director Cardiovascular Medicine, The Alfred Email: Ph: +61 3 9076 6525

Research Areas Include:

  • Metabolic physical and mental preparation for major surgery
  • Antioxidant Therapy for the Treatment of iron overload Cardiomyopathy in ?-Thalassaemia sufferers
  • The evaluation of hearts obtained after cardiac arrest for use as heart transplant donors
  • Mechanical and biological properties of absorbable polylactide plates for use in operative fixation of fractured ribs
  • Cardiac mitochondrial metabolism in health & disease states
  • Epidemiology-based projects
  • Thoracic/pulmonary surgery related projects

Neurosurgery Research

For further information contact Mr Martin Hunn, Director of Neurosurgery The Alfred Email: Ph: +61 3 9026 5704

Research Areas Include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Injury
  • Clinical Studies in the Alfred Hospital
  • Traumatic spine and spinal cord injury
  • Intensive monitoring, including brain oxygen and micro dialysis
  • Surgery for brain injury
  • Laboratory studies in the National Trauma Research Institute
  • Traumatic brain injury models in rodents
  • Inflammation post-trauma
  • Neural precursor cells
  • Cytokine response
  • Effect of hypoxia
  • Neurosurgical Ethics including organ donation issues


The overall goal of the Obesity and Metabolic Medicine group is to reduce the impact of obesity on health and wellbeing. Our work focuses on understanding the neuroendocrine regulation of appetite and eating behaviours, the clinical application of treatments for obesity, and improving access to care. Find out more.

Orthopaedic Surgery Research

For further information contact Miss Susan Liew

Research Areas Include:

  • Femoral fracture fixation in multi-trauma patients
  • Posterior pelvic fixation
  • Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC) device in orthopaedic patients
  • Use of retrievable inferior vena cava filters in orthopaedic patients
  • Non-Operative treatment of type II dens fractures
  • Use of Gamma nail for the fixation of proximal femur fractures in the elderly
  • International collaborative multi-centre randomised trials


Our research team’s main objective is to improve patient care and outcomes in the Urology department at the Alfred hospital as well as in the wider community. Find out more

Department of General Surgery

For further information contact Professor Jonathan Serpell

Research Areas Include:

Breast, Endocrine and General Surgery:

  • Involved in various areas of clinical research including: endocrine surgery, thyroid surgery, parathyroid surgery, adrenal surgery, parotid surgery and soft tissue tumour surgery.

Current Research Projects include:

  • Anatomical studies on the recurrent laryngeal nerve (Prof. Jonathan Serpell),
  • The Australian experience of isolated limb infusion for palliation intransit metastasis for melanoma. (Dr Paul Paddle, Prof Jonathan Serpell).
  • The impact of synoptic thyroid cytology reporting. (Dr Cyril Tsan, Prof. Jonathan Serpell).

Colorectal & General Surgery Unit

Involved in a diverse range of research projects which reflect the diverse interests of the members of this unit. Research areas include: colorectal cancer, management of faecal incontinence, anal intraepithelial neoplasia, transanal endoscopic microsurgery, laproscopiccolorectal surgery and endorectal ultrasound.

Current Research Projects include:

  • A study of patients with anal intraepithelial neoplasia (Dr. Robert Winn)
  • Pathology reporting for colorectal cancer (Mr. Stephen Bell)
  • The use of an electromagnetic chair for faecal incontinence ( Mr. Chip Farmer)
  • The use of dye staining to improve the lymph node yield in bowel resection specimens to increase the accuracy of pathology reporting. (Mr. Stephen Bell)

Upper Gastrointestinal & General Surgery Unit

The Upper Gastrointestinal Unit has established several databases for the collection of clinical information regarding major hepatectomies, pancreatic surgery, oesophagectomy, gastrectomy and bariatric practices.

Research Projects Include:

  • Laparoscopic hepatectomy ( Mr. Charles Pilgrim, Mr. Val Usatoff, Mr. Peter Evans)
  • Traumatic Rupture of the diaphragm (Dr. Kishani Goonewardne, Mr. Paul Burton, Mr. Peter Evans)
  • A randomized controlled trial of the effect of the lap-box trainer on laproscopic skills acquision Use of retrievable inferior vena cava filters in orthopaedic patients
  • Non-Operative treatment of type II dens fractures
  • Use of Gamma nail for the fixation of proximal femur fractures in the elderly
  • International collaborative multi-centre randomised trials