Surgery Overview

The Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne undertakes basic, translational, and clinical research across the range of specialties in surgery. The Department has a strong clinical and translational focus, being based across seven hospitals and with links to research institutes at those sites, with research focusing on a diverse range of surgical and biomedical interests.


As Head of the Department of Surgery, I am pleased to introduce the Department that forms the focus for academic activities in surgery at The University of Melbourne and The Melbourne Medical School.  The Department of Surgery covers seven separate sites, and members of the Department are involved in wide range of national and internationally recognised research programs, covering many diverse topics such as hepatobiliary and pancreatic transplantation, treatments for brain tumours, trauma, macular degeneration and glaucoma, cancer, biomechanics and many other important fields.   

Members of the Department are also involved with teaching surgery in the Doctor of Medicine degree program, and deliver a range of important post-graduate specialist courses in surgery. These activities are undertaken both within the Department at The University of Melbourne, and more broadly within the key hospital sites throughout Melbourne, Victoria.

I do hope that you will browse through this website to learn more about the nature and scope of our surgical research and teaching programs, noting the research activities that encompass basic sciences, translational outcomes and clinical research.

Professor Andrew H. Kaye MD FRACS

James Stewart Professor of Surgery

Head of the Department of Surgery, Melbourne Medical School


The primary clinical focus of the Austin Health Precinct is in the area of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery and in Transplantation. The clinical unit of the Department of Surgery is a leading tertiary referral centre for surgical diseases in HPB predominantly in the fields of pancreatic cancer and liver malignancy. Apart from major liver and pancreatic resections, the Precinct has particular expertise in focal thermal ablation of liver tumours using laser techniques and in minimally invasive surgery. The unit also incorporates the Victorian Liver Transplant Unit and renal transplantation. The Victorian Liver Transplant Unit is one of six state liver transplant units in Australia. It includes paediatric transplantation at the Royal Children’s Hospital and has an international reputation in this field.


Ophthalmology research at the Centre for Eye Research Australia has a strong reputation for its clinical and translational focus.  Ranked amongst the top five ophthalmology research groups globally, its ultimate goal is to find solutions for the three major blinding eye diseases that affect Australians – macular degeneration; glaucoma and diabetic eye disease – and to pioneer vision regeneration programs to give hope to people who have lost their sight.

Ophthalmology - Partners

CERA is the leading eye research institute in Australia, with a dedicated team of researchers, staff and students working to save the sight of millions of people worldwide affected by eye disease. In 2014 CERA moved forward in its mission to conduct eye research with real-life impact, to unravel the causes of disease, prevent blindness through earlier diagnosis and find better treatments, which together will

restore sight and change lives.

Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute is an independent, internationally renowned medical research facility. Our work extends from the laboratory to wide-scale community studies with a focus on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The comprehensive range of research undertaken to target these deadly diseases, combined with the flexibility and innovation to respond to changing health and community needs, is unique and sets Baker IDI apart from other health and research Institutes.

Bionics Institute, formerly the Bionic Ear Institute, an independent medical research institute is affiliated with the University of Melbourne, focussed on new breakthroughs in vision, hearing and neurological research. Our research is defining new innovations that will transform patient lives


Otolaryngology which is co-located at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is a world leader in the treatment of hearing loss and ear (otological) surgery.  The Department remains at the fore-front of research into cochlear implantation, and the preservation of hearing and balance function while operating on the inner ear.  The direct interface that we have between lab-based or clinical research, and direct otolaryngology patient care leads to highly productive translational research outcomes.  Laboratory research seeks to understand the biological response of the inner ear to surgery and other types of stress, and applies drug delivery, gene therapy and regenerative strategies to the protection of restoration of hearing and vestibular function.  We have a strong track record in developing new therapies in the laboratories and bringing them to clinical trials.

The Department is a leader in the application of Virtual Reality to surgical simulation, working closely with engineers and psychologists at the University, together with commercial partners to create sophisticated 3D rendered simulations that provide force feedback, and real-time training.

Otolaryngology has an interest in ear infection (otitis media) amongst Indigenous Australians, as this leads to early childhood hearing loss and contributes to disadvantage amongst these children.  Our focus is upon large scale clinical trials.


Research within The Royal Melbourne Hospital Precinctfor the Department of Surgery focuses specifically on the study of oncogenesis, and development of new therapies for cancer. The Department has special interests in brain cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. We possess a strong focus on the translation of basic research into clinical research involving scientists, academic surgeons, clinicians and high achieving students at a local, national and international level. We are located within the educational and research hub known as the Parkville Precinct, which allows our department to form strong linkages with research institutions, research facilities and world-renowned groups within the area.  Our active collaborative approach to the study of oncogenesis has seen the evolution of successful clinical biobanking programs within the department allowing for highly competitive research into a number of research areas including:

The Royal Melbourne Hospital - Partner