Investigator Profile: Jonathan Sham, MD, MBEE

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Dr. Jonathan Sham

Jonathan Sham, MD, MBEE

Assistant Professor, Division of General Surgery

Pancreas surgery gives patients the best chance for a potential cure, but the procedure doesn't come without risks. The most significant complication after pancreatic surgery is a postoperative pancreatic fistula, which occurs in up to 50% of cases. Many surgical and pharmacologic interventions have been trialed to reduce the rate of pancreatic fistulas, unfortunately, none have proven effective. Our lab is working on a different approach, using advanced biotechnology to mitigate and prevent pancreas leaks. Our lab is creating novel, biocompatible, biodegradable, drug-eluting polymers to seal pancreatic leakage and decrease pancreatic fluid secretion to improve patient outcomes. While this important work has just begun, these efforts are showing great promise and we hope to rapidly bring our technology from bench to bedside.

Dr. Jonathan Sham research investigator rat pancreas image

Anatomy of a rat pancreas used in our animal studies to simulate pancreatic surgery. (Photo from Tanaka, et al. J Gastroentorl. 2013)

Dr. Jonathan Sham research investigator drug eluting microspheres

Scanning electron microscopy of drug-eluting microspheres. These allows for local, controlled release of medications that otherwise might cause systemic toxicity.