Skip Navigation

David J. Hackam

Hackam.DavidDAVID J. HACKAM, MD, PhD, is the Garrett Family Professor of Pediatric Surgery at The Johns Hopkins University and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Bloomberg Children’s Center of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Until September 1, 2014, he was the Watson Family Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Associate Dean for Medical Student Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the Department of Surgery as assistant professor in 2002 after completing Pediatric Surgery fellowship training in Pittsburgh and General Surgery training in Toronto, where he completed a Ph.D. with Dr. Sergio Grinstein in cell biology. Dr. Hackam’s laboratory is focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms that underlie several important surgical diseases, including necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and trauma, and seeks to develop novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or reverse these disease processes. To this end, he and his laboratory recently discovered that necrotizing enterocolitis – a disease that leads to severe morbidity and mortality in premature infants – is caused by increased expression and signaling of the innate immune receptor toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) within the newborn intestine. Dr. Hackam has identified a novel class of small molecules that potently inhibit TLR4 activation, and in pre-clinical models these new agents serve both a therapeutic and prophylactic role in NEC as well as other inflammatory disorders. Dr. Hackam’s team have developed techniques of intestinal stem cell isolation and culture and are working with tissue engineers and chemists towards the development of an artificial intestine, which has been tested in large and small pre-clinical models.

Dr. Hackam’s work has led to the filing of several international patents and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as several industry collaborations. Dr. Hackam is passionate about training the next and current generation of clinician-scientists at all levels of training. He is a member of the American Surgical Association, the American Association of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and was recently elected President of the Society of University Surgeons.