St. David's Office of Research

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Surgery

St. David’s HealthCare physicians help advance the latest in surgical robotics, minimally invasive surgical procedures, and other surgical technologies.

Robotics

Biomedical Device Technology

Biomedical device technology research focuses on the design and implementation of innovative surgical devices that improve upon the technology used in surgeries.St. David’s Neuroscience & Spine Institute and laboratory of Andrew Dunn, Ph.D., at The University of Texas at Austin, along with other university researchers, together conduct collaborative research. The device permits non-invasive, real-time imaging of blood flow and offers may advantages to currently used invasive cortical mapping for real-time intraoperative monitoring of speech, motor and/or sensory areas of the brain.

Intraoperative Optical Imaging of Brain Function

This research, an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Andrew Dunn at The University of Texas at Austin, is studying a novel high-speed-laser technology that is currently being trialed at St. David’s Medical Center for intraoperative optical imaging of brain function. This technology permits non-invasive, real-time imaging of blood flow and offers many advantages to currently used invasive cortical mapping for real-time intraoperative monitoring of speech, motor and/or sensory areas of the brain.

Neuroimaging Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease

We are investigating magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) derived imaging biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease at the prodromal mild cognitive impairment stage with Dr. Mia Markey at The University of Texas at Austin. Early detection would enable proactive management of Alzheimer’s disease patients and significantly improve their survival and quality of life. Early detection and intervention would also significantly reduce the healthcare costs associated with the clinical management of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease causes brain tissue loss (cerebral atrophy) in the patient’s brain, which can be measured on MRI volumes with good accuracy using image analysis. As part of this research, we are developing novel MR analysis tools for 3D quantification of cerebral atrophy in all brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s disease. We also develop statistical models to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of cerebral atrophy in brain and use them for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage.

Combined Optical Imaging and Electrophysiology in the Human Brain

In collaboration with Dr. Andrew Dunn (The University of Texas, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering), University Medical Center at Brackenridge, and St. David’s Medical Center, we are adapting the Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging (LSCI) technique to intraoperative electrophysiology to obtain simultaneous hemodynamic and neurodynamic data from living human cortical tissue. This project aims to elucidate the neuro-hemodynamic coupling at a microscopic spatial scale and at a millisecond temporal resolution.

STRIVE

Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) are a significant concern worldwide. SSIs caused by S. aureus account for about 20 percent of all SSIs in the United States. S. aureus is a challenging pathogen, with many factors that enable host immune evasion and resistance to antibiotics. The purpose of STRIVE is to determine if an investigational S. aureus vaccine can prevent SSIs in patients who undergo elective spinal fusion surgery. The STRIVE study is also evaluating the safety of the vaccine in patients. St. David’s Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, and St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center are proud to be a part of this groundbreaking study, which could lead to safer surgeries around the world.

Please contact the Office of Research if you have interest in collaboration: Info@stdavidsresearch.com