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Theodore S. Cooper Surgical Research Institute

The Theodore S. Cooper Surgical Research Institute is an approximately 12,000 square-foot facility dedicated to teaching and providing an environment to facilitate basic science research in surgery.

Rather than assigned laboratory space, the Surgical Research Institute is comprised of numerous core facilities that foster collaboration and maximize cooperation among faculty, staff and surgical residents, as well as medical and graduate students. Collaborations exist between the institute and several of SLU’s basic science departments.

Features of the Theodore S. Cooper Surgical Institute

Small Animal Operating Room

The institute provides a small animal operating room which is capable of providing support for up to three surgical cases at a time. Additional equipment, such as blood gas and electrolyte analyzers, respirators and pressure monitors, facilitate these surgical studies.

Large Animal Operating Room

The institute contains a large animal operating room which allows for the simultaneous coordination of up to four large animal surgical cases at a time. We work in close cooperation with SLU’s Department of Comparative Medicine to provide anesthesia, technical support and postoperative monitoring of all cases. The facility is used extensively to provide Advanced Trauma and Life Support training. Additionally, all general surgery house staff at the School of Medicine have the opportunity to use this room while participating in advanced laparoscopic surgical training sessions which are held up to four times a year. Second-year medical students also use the room for hands-on training in various laboratory procedures while taking physiology.

Microsurgical Operating Room

The institute has a microsurgery operating room containing two Zeiss operating microscopes and supporting equipment. A wide variety of microsurgical instruments and expertise are available to provide additional training to interested individuals.

Biochemical Laboratories

Numerous biochemical and molecular biology laboratories are available for the measurement of a myriad of parameters which reflect the various interests of the institute’s investigators. A wide range of eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes), high-energy phosphates, second messenger signaling pathways, calcium homeostasis, and immune function studies, as well as Western and Northern blotting, are just a few examples of what biochemical support the institute can provide.

Electrophysiological Laboratories

Electrophysiological studies easily can be accomplished through two different techniques. Unicellular electrophysiological studies can use patch clamping. Electrophysiological studies on confluent cell monolayers can be addressed using Ussing chamber technology, which may be further modified to accommodate for transepithelial permeability studies.

Radiation Studies

The institute has a fully equipped radiation laboratory that is licensed for the use of all radionuclides and has the necessary equipment (e.g., beta, gamma and liquid scintillation counters) needed to successfully carry out these experiments.

Cell Culture Facility

Many of our present investigators rely heavily on cell culture technology and the institute has a state-of-the-art facility to accommodate such studies. A number of laminar flow hoods and cell culture incubators provide a nonstop array of primary and immortalized cell cultures. Human surface mucous cells, rat small intestinal, rat hippocampal neurons, rat intestinally-derived smooth muscle cells, human colonocytes, and human scar-derived fibroblasts are just small samples of the variety of cells which are supplied to investigators on a per need basis. At present, the facility is maintaining 25 different cell lines.


Since many of the cell culture studies require advanced microscopic imaging techniques, rich collaborations have yielded the use of both standard transmission (STEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopes. Confocal laser imaging microscopy is also readily available for investigators’ studies which require three-dimensional reconstructions or real time calcium imaging of subcellular calcium localization.

Scientists and Fields of Interest

Richard D. Bucholz, M.D.
Image-Guided Surgery

Eddy C. Hsueh, M.D.
Immunobiology of Melanoma

Clinical Critical Care Outcomes

Carl Freeman, M.D.