The Frykman Laboratory’s primary focus is on Hirschsprung disease (also known as congenital megacolon); specifically, on dissecting the complex interplay between genes, immunity and the microbiome to uncover the mechanisms leading to Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis (HAEC). HAEC is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication in children with Hirschsprung disease, and is also the most frequent cause of hospital readmission after pull-through surgery for HD (Frykman & Short 2012). The pathogenesis of HAEC is poorly understood and causes significant morbidity to children with HD. We use a multidisciplinary strategy employing both animal models and extensive clinical data and material from Hirschsprung disease patients. We are funded by the NIH to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying HAEC.
Another area of our group’s interest is the application of novel imaging technology for real-time diagnosis and therapy in pediatric surgery. We were the first group to employ spectral imaging technology to accurately distinguish aganglionic from normal bowel in Hirschsprung disease in an intrasurgical setting. (Frykman et al. 2008 J. Biophotonics) We are actively collaborating with leaders in multiphoton microscopy (MPM) at Cornell University to apply MPM as an adjunctive modality to diagnose HD intraoperatively (Aggarwal, et al). Our group is sought after by industry to study cutting-edge endoscopic and exoscopic equipment for novel applications in pediatric surgery.