A photo of Michael Helmrath.

Michael A. Helmrath, MD

  • Director of Clinical Translation, Center for Stem Cell & Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
  • Director of 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. I am the surgical director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program. 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 am the director of Surgical Research and the director of the Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation. In addition, I’m an associate director of the Center for Stem Cell & Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM). I am board certified in General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides funding for our lab. I am also part of the Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium (ISCC).

Insurance Information

Cincinnati Children's strives to accept a wide variety of health plans. Please contact your health insurance carrier to verify coverage for your specific benefit plan.

View Insurance Information


Aggregation of cryopreserved mid-hindgut endoderm for more reliable and reproducible hPSC-derived small intestinal organoid generation. Pitstick, AL; Poling, HM; Sundaram, N; Lewis, PL; Kechele, DO; Sanchez, JG; Scott, MA; Broda, TR; Helmrath, MA; Wells, JM; et al. Stem Cell Reports. 2022; 17:1889-1902.

Toll-like Receptor 9 Pathway Mediates Schlafen+-MDSC Polarization During Helicobacter-induced Gastric Metaplasias. Ding, L; Chakrabarti, J; Sheriff, S; Li, Q; Thi Hong, HN; Sontz, RA; Mendoza, ZE; Schreibeis, A; Helmrath, MA; Zavros, Y; et al. Gastroenterology. 2022; 163:411-425.e4.

Accuracy of Chest Computed Tomography in Distinguishing Cystic Pleuropulmonary Blastoma From Benign Congenital Lung Malformations in Children. Engwall-Gill, AJ; Chan, SS; Boyd, KP; Saito, JM; Fallat, ME; St Peter, SD; Bolger-Theut, S; Crotty, EJ; Green, JR; Hulett Bowling, RL; et al. JAMA Network Open. 2022; 5.

Acid suppression duration does not alter anastomotic stricture rates after esophageal atresia with distal tracheoesophageal fistula repair: A prospective multi-institutional cohort study. Bowder, AN; Bence, CM; Rymeski, BA; Gadepalli, SK; Sato, TT; Szabo, A; Arendonk, KV; Minneci, PC; Downard, CD; Hirschl, RB; et al. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2022; 57:975-980.

Demographic and Clinical Characteristics Associated With the Failure of Nonoperative Management of Uncomplicated Appendicitis in Children: Secondary Analysis of a Nonrandomized Clinical Trial. Minneci, PC; Hade, EM; Gil, LA; Metzger, GA; Saito, JM; Mak, GZ; Hirschl, RB; Gadepalli, S; Helmrath, MA; Leys, CM; et al. JAMA Network Open. 2022; 5.

Does Use of a Feeding Protocol Change Outcomes in Gastroschisis? A Report from the Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium. Dekonenko, C; Fraser, JD; Deans, K; Fallat, ME; Helmrath, M; Kabre, R; Leys, CM; Burns, RC; Corkum, K; Dillon, PA; et al. European Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2022; 32:153-159.

Evaluating the risk of peri-umbilical hernia after sutured or sutureless gastroschisis closure. Fraser, JA; Deans, KJ; Fallat, ME; Helmrath, M; Kabre, R; Leys, CM; Markel, TA; Dillon, PA; Downard, C; Wright, TN; et al. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2022.

Suspension culture promotes serosal mesothelial development in human intestinal organoids. Capeling, MM; Huang, S; Childs, CJ; Wu, JH; Tsai, YH; Wu, A; Garg, N; Holloway, EM; Sundaram, N; Bouffi, C; et al. Cell Reports. 2022; 38.

Body Composition of Infants With Congenital Gastroschisis. McNelis, K; Poindexter, A; Goddard, G; Riddle, S; Wessel, J; Helmrath, M. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2022; 74:e35-e38.

Functional human gastrointestinal organoids can be engineered from three primary germ layers derived separately from pluripotent stem cells. Eicher, AK; Kechele, DO; Sundaram, N; Berns, HM; Poling, HM; Haines, LE; Sanchez, JG; Kishimoto, K; Krishnamurthy, M; Han, L; et al. Cell Stem Cell. 2022; 29:36-51.e6.

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
BlogResearch and Discoveries

Overcoming Nature’s Complexity to Help Patients with Intestinal Disease

By Michael Helmrath, MD10/20/2014

Patient Ratings and Comments

All patient satisfaction ratings and comments are submitted by actual patients and verified by a leading independent patient satisfaction company, NRC Health. Patient identities are withheld to ensure confidentiality and privacy. Only those providers whose satisfaction surveys are administered through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are displayed. Click here to learn more about our survey