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Urology Research

The Division of Urology is involved in both basic science and clinical research. Examples of research studies, funded internally and by grant monies, include research on robotic urological surgery, prenatal hydronephrosis, outcomes of hypospadias repair, vesicoureteral reflux, spina bifida, bladder tissue engineering and pathologic bladder degeneration.

Currently, our team has more than 70 active clinical research studies, including five multi-center and multi-disciplinary projects, and laboratory research into the use of nanomolecules to treat children with inflammatory bowel diseases and NIH-funded research into bladder tissue regeneration. 

Robotic Urologic Research

Our research in robotic urological surgery focuses on analysis of outcomes. Factors such as length of hospital stay, pain control, surgical outcomes and family satisfaction are monitored for comparative analysis and improvement of care.

Neurogenic Bladder

Elizabeth Yerkes, MD, and Earl Cheng, MD, partner with Robin Bowman, MD, to co-investigate neurogenic bladder in spina bifida. Our unique collaborative approach to this study integrates knowledge and input from both Urology and Neurosurgery for a multidisciplinary approach to research.

Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

The team recently completed participation in an NIH/NIDDK funded national clinical trial examining the effects of antibiotic prophylaxis on UTIs in children with VUR (RIVUR study). The results of this multi-center study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and provide important insight into the benefits of antibiotic prophylaxis for patients with VUR.

The team is currently investigating how diagnostic testing using urinary catheters impacts UTIs. Led by Emilie Johnson, MD, MPH, this multidisciplinary study seeks to identify risk factors for infection that may be related to various methods of urologic diagnostic testing. Going forward, they hope that the findings will improve care for patients at Lurie Children’s and in hospitals across the nation.

Hypospadias Research

Mark Faasse, MD, Dennis Liu, MD, and Earl Cheng, MD, are leading a multi-institutional randomized trial of prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics vs. placebo after hypospadias repair (PROPHY Study). This study will address an important area of controversy in pediatric urology. Recent research suggests that preventive antibiotics do not reduce the already low risk of infection or other problems after hypospadias repair. Older studies, however, found antibiotics to be beneficial. The PROPHY Study aims to provide a more definite answer to this question by recruiting 600 participants over 3-4 years. Learn more.

Basic Science Research

Bladder tissue engineering research is handled by the laboratory of Arun Sharma, PhD, at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Research Center. Earl Cheng, MD, partners with Dr. Sharma in research to develop a tissue engineered replacement for bladder tissue that restores regular urinary function while avoiding the issues associated with bowel augmentation. Two major focuses of this research are scaffolding for cells and source of stem cells in bladder engineering.

Bladder dysfunction from obstruction or denervation is the cause of kidney failure in many pediatric patients. Edward Gong, MD, leads research to determine mechanisms behind pathologic bladder degeneration. His goal is to develop therapeutic agents that can prevent loss of bladder function and promote regeneration of healthy bladder tissue in children affected by posterior urethral valves or neurogenic bladder.

Learn More

Studies are coordinated by a division research coordinator and include monthly division research meetings. Our fellowship program stresses research as an important component of training and fellows engage in clinical research projects. Faculty is involved in mentoring residents and fellows in their research areas of interest.

For further information regarding our research program, contact: Theresa Meyer, RN, MS, CPN (Research coordinator) at 312.227.6734.