A photo of Michael Helmrath.

Michael A. Helmrath, MD

  • Director, Center for Stem Cell & Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
  • Director, Surgical Research
  • Director, Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation
  • Pediatric Surgeon
  • Professor, UC Department of Surgery



As a pediatric surgeon-scientist, I'm dedicated to helping patients with intestinal diseases and obesity. I always wanted to be a physician — caring for children and conducting research focused on strategies to improve the outcomes of those with intestinal failure.

My clinical interests are bariatric surgery and surgery to correct intestinal failure. My clinical work allows me to translate gastrointestinal conditions into the laboratory, where we are working to develop highly innovative approaches for treating intestinal diseases.

In my research lab, I've established a multidisciplinary team dedicated to translational, clinical, and basic science research focused on intestinal diseases. We are characterizing intestinal stem cells during adaptation and are working to develop intestinal regenerative strategies.

I believe that understanding the biology of intestinal stem cells is key to unraveling the mechanisms involved during the disease process. In my lab, we've developed in vitro culture techniques to maintain and expand individual human intestinal stem cells derived from human tissue samples, pluripotent stem cells, and surgical animal models.

I serve as the Director of Surgical Research, Director of the Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation, and Director of the Center for Stem Cell & Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM). I am board certified in General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery.

BA: Miami University, Oxford, OH, 1987.

MD: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, 1993.

MS: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, 1989.

Certification: Board-certified General Surgery; board-certified, Pediatric Surgery.


Surgery - general and thoracic; intestinal disorders; surgical weight loss

Services and Specialties

Surgery - General and Thoracic, Intestinal Disorders, Surgical Weight Loss


Intestinal diseases research

Research Areas

General and Thoracic Surgery

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RAAS-deficient organoids indicate delayed angiogenesis as a possible cause for autosomal recessive renal tubular dysgenesis. Pode-Shakked, N; Slack, M; Sundaram, N; Schreiber, R; McCracken, KW; Dekel, B; Helmrath, M; Kopan, R. Nature Communications. 2023; 14:8159.

Development of functional resident macrophages in human pluripotent stem cell-derived colonic organoids and human fetal colon. Múnera, JO; Kechele, DO; Bouffi, C; Qu, N; Jing, R; Maity, P; Enriquez, JR; Han, L; Campbell, I; Mahe, MM; et al. Cell Stem Cell. 2023; 30:1434-1451.e9.

Reducing Unnecessary Oophorectomies for Benign Ovarian Neoplasms in Pediatric Patients. Minneci, PC; Bergus, KC; Lutz, C; Aldrink, J; Bence, C; Breech, L; Dillon, PA; Downard, C; Ehrlich, PF; Fallat, M; et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2023; 330:1247-1254.

Development and Implementation of a Multidisciplinary Clinic Focused on the Care of Adolescents with Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes. Schaaf, L; Ley, S; Riegler, A; Poetker, A; Xanthakos, S; Sizemore, J; Crimmins, N; Helmrath, M; Tracy, R; Arce-Clachar, AC; et al. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare. 2023; 16:2799-2807.

Chronic Mucosal Inflammation in Pediatric Intestinal Failure Patients-A Unique Phenomenon. Moran-Lev, H; Kocoshis, SA; Oliveira, SB; Helmrath, M; Cole, CR. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2023; 77:e29-e35.

84: Inflammatory Bowel Disease-Like Findings in Pediatric Intestinal Failure Patients. Oliveira, S; Moran-Lev, H; Helmrath, M; Cole, C; Kocoshis, S. Transplantation. 2023; 107:50.

1115-P: Advanced Medical Therapy (AMT) for Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)—Early Results from the Run-in Phase of ST2OMP. SHAH, AS; KELSEY, MM; JENKINS, TM; SCHAAF, LR; XANTHAKOS, S; TROUT, AT; BAUMGARTNER, AM Y; RIEGLER, A; KRISHNAN, N; BAILEY, A; et al. Diabetes. 2023; 72.

1105-P: Development and Implementation of a Multidisciplinary Clinic Focused on Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes. SCHAAF, LR; CRAIL, J; XANTHAKOS, S; SIZEMORE, J; CRIMMINS, NA; HELMRATH, M; LEY, S; MORWESSEL, N; RIEGLER, A; TARIQ, F; et al. Diabetes. 2023; 72.

In vivo development of immune tissue in human intestinal organoids transplanted into humanized mice. Bouffi, C; Wikenheiser-Brokamp, KA; Chaturvedi, P; Sundaram, N; Goddard, GR; Wunderlich, M; Brown, NE; Staab, JF; Latanich, R; Zachos, NC; et al. Nature Biotechnology. 2023; 41:824-831.

Applying patient personalized organoid model system to understand complex GI manifestations in cystic fibrosis disease. Arora, K; Sundaram, N; Ramananda, Y; Helmrath, M; Naren, AP. Physiology (Bethesda, Md.). 2023; 38:5711443.

From the Blog

A New First: Creating Organoids with Immune Systems

A New First: Creating Organoids with Immune Systems

Michael A. Helmrath, MD1/26/2023

Scientists Add Nerves to Intestinal Organoids

Scientists Add Nerves to Intestinal Organoids

Michael A. Helmrath, MD, James M. Wells, PhD6/30/2019

Overcoming Natures Complexity to Help Patients with Intestinal Disease
Blog Research and Discoveries

Overcoming Nature’s Complexity to Help Patients with Intestinal Disease

By Michael Helmrath, MD10/20/2014

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