Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric General Surgery

Pediatric Faculty

Mike Chen, M.D.
Surgeon-in-Chief |Division Director |Professor

Scott Anderson, M.D.
Associate Professor

Elizabeth Beierle, M.D.

Colin Martin, M.D.
Associate Professor

Vincent Mortellaro, M.D.
Assistant Professor

Chinwendu Onwubiko, M.D.
Assistant Professor

David Rogers, M.D.

Robert Russell, M.D.
Associate Professor

Eric Sparks, M.D.
Assistant Professor

Featured Research

Dr. Elizabeth Beierle continues her research efforts focused on novel treatment strategies for pediatric solid tumors and utilizing patient-derived xenograft models of pediatric solid tumors to study these innovative therapies. This year, her lab group has published important research describing certain specific tumorigenesis factors in hepatoblastoma. She continues to publish unique work with neuroblastoma tumor derived xenografts, focusing on pathways that support the cancer stem cell population.

Dr. Mike Chen continues his leadership as the local PI for the NIH prospective observational study: Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (Teen-LABS) in its 10th year.

Dr. Colin Martin has established a laboratory and clinical effort as surgical director of the Children’s of Alabama/UAB Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CCAIR), focused on improving outcomes in pediatric patients with necrotizing enterocolitis and short bowel syndrome. With a multidisciplinary effort, CCAIR has five active research protocols. His basic science focus continues to be defining the role of innate immunity in intestinal diseases of prematurity. Specifically, they are interested in how maternal psychological stress and the environment during pregnancy and shortly after birth shapes developing neonatal immune function.

Dr. David Rogers continues to focus his research efforts on both surgical education and on organizational and team level wellness.

Dr. Rob Russell continues his investigation of coagulopathy following trauma. He continues translational research evaluating animal models of traumatic brain injury in relation to specific coagulation factors—von Willebrand factor and ADAMTS-13. The specific focus of this research is on the interplay between coagulopathy, severity of brain injury and secondary organ injury. In addition, he is the principal investigator on a NIH-funded national consensus


Dr. Elizabeth Beierle has received grant funding from Children’s of Alabama.

Dr. Mike Chen continues as the Institutional PI for the NIH prospective observational study: Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (Teen-LABS).

Dr. Colin Martin has received an NIH R21 (2021–2023) grant evaluating the therapeutic potential of pasteurized human donor milk exosomes.

Dr. Rob Russell has received an NIH R13 grant (2020–2022) for a national consensus conference titled “Pediatric Traumatic Hemorrhagic Shock Consensus Conference and Research Priorities” and is co-investigator for an NIH R01 grant awarded to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) titled “Evaluation of Trauma Center-Based, Technology Enhanced Stepped Care Intervention for Adolescent Traumatic Injury Survivors.”

2021 Publications

Effectiveness of a central line associated blood stream infection protocol in children with intestinal failure. John S. Graham, Michelle Shroyer, Scott A. Anderson, Cecelia Hutto, Kathy Monroe, Linda Wilkinson, David P. Galloway and Colin A. Martin. American Journal of Surgery. 2021 March.

Stress and the Gut-Brain Axis: Implications for Cancer, Inflammation and Sepsis. Mohamad M. Moughnyeh, Kyle M. Brawner, Bethany A. Kennedy, Venkata A. Yeramilli, Neha Udayakumar, Jessica A. Graham, and Colin A. Martin. Journal of Surgical Research. 2021 October.

Reassessing career pathways of surgical leaders: An examination of surgical leaders’ early accomplishments. Elana Meer, Byron D Hughes, Colin A. Martin, Arturo J Rios-Diaz, Viren Patel, Carla M Pugh, Cherisse Berry, Steven C Stain, L D Britt, Sharon L Stein, Paris D Butler. American Journal of Surgery. 2021 April.

Initial Laparotomy Versus Peritoneal Drainage in Extremely Low Birthweight Infants with Surgical Necrotizing Enterocolitis or Isolated Intestinal Perforation: A Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial. Martin L. Blakely, Jon E Tyson,…Colin A. Martin,…Satyanarayana Lakshminrusimha, Rosemary D Higgins. Annals of Surgery, Oct 1 2021.

Woods AS, Purohit R, Mitchel LC, Collier JR, Collier AK, Lathara M, Vaske O, Geiger H, Wrzeszczynski KI, Jonabputra V, Srinivasa G, Rudzinski ER, Whelan K, Beierle EA, Spunt SL, Keller C, Wadha A. Metastatic pediatric sclerosing epitheliod fibrosarcoma. Cold Spring Harb Molec Case Stud, August 6, 2021.

Quinn CH, Beierle EA, Williams AP, Bownes LV, Markert HR, Aye JM, Stewart JE, Mroczek Musulman E, Crossman DK, Yoon KJ, Beierle EA. Downregulation of PDGFRβ signaling overcomes cirizotinib resistance in TYRO3 and ALK mutated neuroendocrine-like tumor. Tran Oncol, 14: 101099, 2021.

Quinn CH, Beierle AM, Beierle EA. Artificial tumor microenvironments in neuroblastoma. Cancers (Basel). 13:1629, 2021.

Bownes LV, Williams AP, Marayati R, Quinn CH, Hutchins SC, Stewart JE, Vu T, Easlick JL, Mroczek Musulman E, Crossman DK, Anderson JC, Wiley CD, Datta PK, Beierle EA. Serine-threonine kinase receptor-associated protein (STRAP) knockout decreases the malignant phenotype in neuroblastoma cell lines. Cancer (Basel). 13: 3201, 2021.

Barnett C, Beierle EA, Ahn TD, Gunn E, Keen K, Kelly D, Whelan K, Vaid Y. Bloom where you are planted: hemangioma or malignancy? Pediatric Blood Cancer, in press, 2021.

Esparaz JR, Anderson SA, Chen MK, Beierle EA. Who manages burn injuries in children? A program director survey evaluating burn training during pediatric surgery fellowship. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. S0022-3468, 2021.

Young KA, Lee SM, Adams MD, Buonpane CL, Hayek SA, Shabahang MM, Rogers DA. Have the Characteristics for Success as a Surgeon Changed? A Century of Perspective through the American College of Surgeons. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2021; 232:203-209.

Esparaz JR, Russell RT, Beierle EA, Martin CA, Anderson SA, Rogers DA, Mortellaro VE, Chen MK. Trending diversity: Reviewing four-decades of graduating fellows and the current leadership in pediatric surgery. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2021; 56:1294-8.

Vickers SM, Agarwal A, Patel N, Benveniste EN, Bulgarella D, Fouad MN, Hoesley C., Jones K., Kimberly RP, Rogers DA, Larson JA. Returning to Growth: One Academic Medical Center's Successful Five-Step Approach to Change Management. Academic Medicine. 2021; 96:1401-07.

Meese KA, Colón-López A, Singh JA, Burkholder GA, Rogers DA. Healthcare Is a Team Sport: Stress, Resilience, and Correlates of Well-Being Among Health System Employees in a Crisis. Journal of Healthcare Management. 2021; 66:304-22.

Esparaz JR, Carter SR, Mathis MS, Anderson SA, Radulescu A, Russell RT, Chen MK. The diminishing experience in pediatric surgery for general surgery residents in the United States. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. July 2021; 56(7):1219-1221. PMID: 33838901.

Esparaz JR, Mathis MS, Russell RT. The Fellowship Effect: Does surgical subspecialty training affect pediatric surgery case volume? Journal of Surgical Education January 19, 2021; S1931-7204(21)00004-0. PMID: 33483280.

Neff LP, Beckwith MA, Russell RT, Cannon JW, Spinella PC. Massive Transfusion in Pediatric Patients. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine: Topics in Pediatric Transfusion Medicine, March 2021; 41(1): 35-49. PMID: 33494884.

Onwubiko C, Askenazi D, Ingram D, Griffin R, Russell RT, Mortellaro VE. Small tunneled central venous catheters as an alternative to standard hemodialysis catheter in neonatal patients. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, March 2021; S0022-3468(21)00281-5. PMID: 33931256.

Esparaz JR, Martin CA, Beierle EB, Anderson SA, Rogers DA, Mortellaro VE, Chen MK, Russell RT. Perforated Appendicitis during a Pandemic: The Downstream Effect of COVID-19 in Children. Journal of Surgical Research, July 2021; 268: 263-266. PMID: 34392179.

Kapoor A, Nandakumar P, Auer DR, Sosa MX, Ross H, Bollinger J, Yan J, Berrios C, The Hirschsprung Disease Research Collaborative (Russell RT), Chakravarti A. Multiple, independent, common variants at RET, SEMA3, NRG1, gut enhancers specify Hirschsprung disease risk in European ancestry subjects. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, December 2021; 56(12): 2286-2294. PMID: 34006365.

Awards, Leadership & Recognition

Dr. Elizabeth Beierle has been appointed to the Executive Council for the Section on Surgery of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the Clinical Pediatric Surgery Program Subcommittee for the American Surgical Association and is the Chair for the International Relations Committee for the American College of Surgeons. She also continues to participate on various committees serving the American Pediatric Surgical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Mike Chen is the Liaison to the Payor Advocacy Advisory Committee and the Committee on Child Health Financing at the American Academy of Pediatrics. He serves as the Chair of the Pediatrics Committee of the Health Services Foundation and on the Board of the Health Services Foundation. Dr. Chen also serves on the Board of Trustees at Children’s of Alabama.

Dr. Colin Martin was named president-elect of the medical staff at Children’s of Alabama (2021–2023). He will also serve as Chair of Publications Committee for American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Surgery (2021–2023) and gained membership into the Lilliputian Surgical Society.

Dr. David Rogers will transition out of the role of the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development to concentrate on his role of Chief Wellness Officer of the UAB Medicine Office of Wellness.

Dr. Rob Russell serves on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Pediatric Surgery and Journal of Surgical Research. He was awarded the 2021 American Pediatric Surgical Association/American College of Surgeons Health Policy Scholarship. He will serve in his final year as Treasurer of the Pediatric Trauma Society.