Surgical Research Group

Research Overview

Under the campus partnership, our research is embedded in MCRI.  Full research profile may be found at

The Surgical Research Group works on a number of surgical problems affecting children, including:

  1. Normal and abnormal descent of the testis, with the aim of understanding the mechanism and providing possible non-surgical treatment - Project Leader: John Hutson
  2. Normal and abnormal postnatal germ cell development, which is believed to be the key to preventing infertility and testicular cancer in men with previous undescended testes in childhood - Project Leader : Ruili Li
  3. The causes of intractable chronic constipation, and the development of novel investigations and novel treatments, including electrical stimulation - Project Leader: Bridget Southwell
  4. The cause of duodenal atresia, using a new knockout mouse with downregulation of FGF10 - Project Leader: Warwick Teague
  5. Novel treatments for colorectal disorders such as anorectal anomalies and Hirschsprung disease - Project Leader: Sebastian King
  6. Using state-of-the-art manometry to understand surgical problems in the gut, such as oesophageal atresia and Hirschsprung disease - Project Leader: Sebastian King


  • Prof John Hutson - Chair of Paediatric Surgery/MCRI Hon Fellow
  • A/Prof Warwick Teague - General Surgeon/MCRI Fellow
  • Mr Sebastian King - General Surgeon/MCRI Fellow
  • Dr Bridget Southwell - Group Leader Surgical Research Group MCRI
  • Dr Ruili Li - Scientist, Surgical Research Group
  • Dr Jaya Vikramen - PhD student
  • Ms Julie Jordan-Ely, Master Student


  1. National Health & Medical Research Council
  2. Royal Children's Hospital Foundation
  3. Murdoch Children's Research Institute
  4. G-I Therapies

Research Publications

  • Bhullar K, Grover S, Hutson J et al.  Spectrum of disorders of sex development in children aged 0-10 years.  J.Pediatr.Adolesc.Gynecol. 2011, 24(2):e50.
  • Kimberley N, Hutson JM, Southwell BR, Grover SR.  Well-being and sexual function outcomes in women with vaginal agenesis.  Fertil Steril 2011, 95(1):238-41.
  • Yik YI, Farmer PJ, King SK, Chow CW, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Gender differences in reduced substance P in children with slow-transit constipation.  Pediatr Surg Int, 2011, 27(7):699-704.
  • Allnutt B, Buraundi S, Farmer P, Southwell BR, Hutson JM, Balic A.  The common fetal development of the mammary fat pad and gubernaculum.  J Pediatr Surg 2011, 46(2):378-83.
  • Nagraj S, Seah GJ, Farmer PJ, Davies B, Southwell B, Lewis AG, Hutson JM.  The development and anatomy of the gubernaculum in Hoxa11 knockout mice.  J Pediatr Surg 2011, 46(2):387-92.
  • Yik YI, Clarke MC, Catto-Smith AG, Robertson VJ, Sutcliffe JR, Chase JW, Gibb S, Cain TM, Cook DJ, Tudball CF, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Slow-transit constipation with concurrent upper gastrointestinal dysmotility and its response to transcutaneous electrical stimulation.  Pediatr Surg Int, 2011, 27(7):705-11
  • Nation TR, Buraundi S, Farmer PJ, Balic A, Newgreen D, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  Development of the gubernaculum during testicular descent in the rat.  Anat Rec 2011, 294(7):1249-60.
  • Yik YI, Cain TM, Tudball CF, Cook DJ, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  Nuclear transit studies of patients with intractable chronic constipation reveal a subgroup with rapid proximal colonic transit.  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(7):1406-11.
  • Sanders N, Buraundi S, Balic A, Southwell BR, Southwell BR, Hutson.  Cremaster muscle myogenesis in the tip of the rat gubernacular elongation during inguinoscrotal testicular descent.  J Urol, 2011, 186(4):1606-13.
  • Buraundi S, Balic A, Farmer PJ, Southwell BR, Hutson BR.  Gubernacular development in the mouse is similar to the rat and suggests that the processus vaginalis is derived from the urogenital ridge and is different from the parietal peritoneum.  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(9):1804-12.
  • Lie G, Hutson JM.  The role of cremaster muscle in testicular descent in humans and animal models.  Peidatr Surg Int., 2011, 27(12):1255-65.
  • Kimberley N, Hutson JM, Southwell BR. Vaginal Agenesis, the Hymen and Associated Anomalies.  J Pediatr Adolesc Gynaec, 2011, [Epub ahead of print].
  • Leong LC, Yik YI, Catto-Smith AG, Robertson VJ, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Long-term effects of transabdominal electrical stimulation in treating children with slow-transit constipation.  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(12):2309-12.
  • Churchill JA, Buraundi S, Farmer PJ, Li R, Southwell BR, Hutson JM, Balic A.  
    Gubernaculum as icebreaker:  do matrix metalloproteinases in rodent gubernaculum and inguinal fat pad permit testicular descent?  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(12):2353-7.
  • Nation TR, Buraundi S, Balic A, Farmer PJ, Newgreen D, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  The effect of flutamide on expression of androgen and estrogen receptors in the gubernaculum and surrounding structures during testicular descent.  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(12):2358-62.
  • Chen N, Harisis GN, Farmer PJ, Buraundi S, Sourial M, Southwell BR.  Balic A, Hutson JM.  Gone with the Wnt:  the canonical Wnt signalling axis is present and androgen dependent in the rodent gubernaculum.  J Pediatr Surg, 2011, 46(12):2363-9.
  • Yik YI, Ismail KA, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Home transcutaneous electrical stimulation to treat children with slow-transit constipation.  J Pediatr Surg. 2012    Jun;47(6):1285-90.
  • Taghavi K, Hutson JM.  Testicular microlithiasis and epidermoid cysts: a common pathway?  Pediatr Surg Int. 2012 Jul 5.
  • Yik YI, Cook DJ, Veysey DM, Tudball CF, Cain TM, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  How common is colonic elongation in children with slow-transit constipation or   anorectal retention?  J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jul;47(7):1414-20.
  • Yik YI, Leong LC, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  The impact of transcutaneous electrical stimulation therapy on appendicostomy operation rates for children with chronic constipation-a single-institution experience.  J Pediatr Surg. 2012  
  • M Perera, B Jones, M O’Brien, JM Hutson Long-term urethral function measured by uroflowmetry after hypospadias surgery:  comparison with an age-matched control J Urol 188(4): 1457-62.
  • HQ Lee, J Hutson, A Wray, P Lo, D Chong, A Holmes, A Greensmith. A changing  epidemiology of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis and revisiting the risk
    factors: a population-based study in Victoria, Australia. J Craniofacial Surg, 2012, 23(5):1245-51
  • HQ Lee, J Hutson, A Wray, P Lo, D Chong, A Holmes, A Greensmith.  Surgical  management of craniosynostosis: analysis of morbidity and mortality in 796
    consecutive patients.  J Craniofacial Surg  2012, 23(5):1256-1261.
  • R Li, J-G Zhang, J Churchill, M Sourial, BR Southwell, JM Hutson.  Is matrix Metalloproteinase required in postnatal testicular tubules for germ cell maturation? J Pediatr Surg, 2012, 47(9): 1724-9
  • S Su, PJ Farmer, R Li, M Sourial, S Buraundi, D Bodemer, BR Southwell, JM Hutson. Regression of the mammary branch of the genitofemoral nerve may be necessary for testicular descent in rats.  J Urol 188(4): 1443-8.
  • MCC Clarke, AG Catto-Smith, SK King, PG Dinning, IJ Cook, JW Chase, SM Gibb, VJ Robertson, D Simpson, JM Hutson, BR Southwell.  Transabdominal electrical  Stimulation increases colonic propagating pressure waves in paediatric slow-transit constipation. J Pediatr Surg 47(12): 2279-84.
  • S Wilkins, KW Zhang, I Mahfuz, R Quantin, N D’Cruz, J Hutson, M Ee etal. Insertion/Deletion polymorphisms in the Np63 promoter are a risk factor for bladder Exstrophy epispadias complex.  PLOS Genetics, (2012).  

    Chisholm RH, Hughes BD, Landman KA, Hutson JM.  Mathematical modelling of gubernaculum during inguino-scrotal migration shows limb bud characteristics.  
    Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 48(8): 1762-6 (2013).
  • Ha KM, Cleland H, Greensmith A, Chong D, Macgill K, Verhoeven A, Hutson JM. Submucous cleft palate: an often-missed diagnosis.  The Journal of craniofacial
    surgery 24 (3): 878-85 (2013).
  • Hutson JM.  Undescended testis: the underlying mechanisms and the effects on Germ cells that cause infertility and cancer.  Journal of Pediatric Surgery 48(5): 903-8 (2013).
  • Hutson JM, Southwell BR, Li R, Lie G, Ismail K, Harisis G, Chen N.  The Regulation testicular descent and the effects of cryptorchidism.  Endocrine Reviews 34(5): 725-52 (2013).
  • Searle AR, Ismail KA, Macgregor D, Hutson JM.  Changes in the length and diameter  Of the normal appendix throughout childhood.  Journal of Pediatric Surgery 48(7):1535-9 (2013).
  • Harisis GN, Chen N, Farmer PJ, Bodemer D, Li R, Sourial M, Southwell BR, Balic A Hutson JM.  Wnt signalling in testicular descent: a candidate mechanism for
    cryptorchidism in Robinow syndrome.   J Pediatr Surg 2013 48(7): 1573-7.
  • Harisis GN, Lewis AG, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  Hoxa-11 mutations cell   proliferation in the mouse gubernaculum to facilitate testicular descent.  J Pediatr Surg., 2013, 48(12): 2431-6.
  • Hutson JM. Li R, Southwell BR, Petersen BL, Thorup J, Cortes D.  Germ cell Development in the postnatal testis:  the key to prevent malignancy in cryptorchidism? Front Endocrinology (2013), 3:176.
  • Szarek M, LI R, Vikraman J, Southwell B, Hutson JM.  Molecular signals governing cremaster muscle development:  Clues for cryptorchidism.  J Pediatr Surg, (2014),  49(2):312.6.
  • Su S, Szarek M, Vooght A, Hutson JM, Li R.  Gonocyte transformation to spermatagonial stem cells occurs earlier in patients with undervirilisation syndromes.  J  Pediatr Surg (2014), 49(2):323-7.
  • Chowdhury TK, Chowdhury MZ, Mili F, Hutson JM, Banu T.  Gender identity shows a high correlation with Prader score in patients with disorders of sex development (DSD) presenting in mid childhood.  Pediatr Surg Int. (2014), 30(5): 527-32.
  • Thorup J, Nordenskjold A, Hutson JM.  Genetic and environmental origins of     hypospadias.  Current opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity (2014), 21(3): 227-32.
  • Li R, Thorup J, Sun C, Cortes D, Southwell B, Hutson J.  Immunofluorescent analysis  of testicular biopsies with germ cell and Sertoli cell markers shows significant MVH negative germ cell depletion with older age at orchidopexy.  The Journal of Urology (2014), 191(2): 458-64.
  • Hutson JM, Grover SR, O’Connell M, Pennell SD.  Malformation syndromes associated with disorders of sex development.  Nature Reviews. Endocrinology (2014) 10(8): 476-87.
  • Hutson JM, Baskin LS, Risbridger G, Cunha GR.  The power and perils of animal  models with urogenital anomalies:  Handle with care.  Journal of Pediatric Urology (2014), 10(4): 699-705.
  • Chowdhury TK, Kabir M, Chowdhury MZ, Hutson JM, Banu T.  The challenges in diagnosis and gender assignment in disorders of sex development and presenting to a pediatric surgical unit in a developing country.  The role of laparoscopy and simple tests for gender identity.  Journal of Pediatric Urology 10(6): 1255-1260 (2014).
  • Ansari H, Ansari Z, Lim T, Hutson, Southwell BR.  Factors relating to hospitals and economic burden of paediatric constipation in the State of Victoria, Australia, 2002-2009.  Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 50(12): 993-9 (2014),

    Ansari H, Ansari Z, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Potentially avoidable hospitalisation for constipation in Victoria, Australia 2010-11.  BMC Gastroenterology (2014), 14: 125.
  • Thorup J, Kvist K, Clasen-Linde E, Hutson JM, Cortes D.  Serum inhibin B values in boys with unilateral vanished testis or unilateral cryptorchidism.  J Urol., (2015), 193(5):1532-6.
  • Lee HQ, Hawley A, Doak J, Nightingale MG, Hutson JM.  Long-gap oesophageal atresia: comparison of delayed primary anastomosis and oesophageal replacement with gastric tube.  J Pediatr Surg., (2014), 49(12):1762-6.
  • Jones BC, Hutson JM.  The syndrome of Spigelian hernia and cryptorchidism: a review of paediatric literature.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), 50(2):325-30.
  • Hutson JM, Dughetti L, Stathopoulos L, Southwell BR.  Transabdominal electrical stimulation (TES) for the treatment of slow-transit constipation (STC).  Pediatr Surg Int., (2015), 31(5):445-51.
  • Na AF, Tanny SP, Hutson JM.  Circumcision: Is it worth it for 21st-century Australian boys?.  J Pediatr Child Health (2015), 51(6):580-3.
  • 3Hutson JM, Li R, Southwell BR, Newgreen D, Cousinery M.  Regulation of testicular descent.  Pediatr Surg Int., (2015), 31(4):317-25.
  • Jordan-Ely J, Dobson KM, Appaduray S, Hynson J, Kornberg AJ, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Management of severe faecal impaction in an adolescent with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) receiving palliative care.  J Paediatr Child Health (2015), 51(3):351-2.
  • Jordan-Ely J, Hutson JM, southwell BR.  Disimpaction of chidren with severe constipation in 3-4 days in a suburban clinic using polyethylene glycol with electrolytes and sodium picosulphate.  J Paediatr Child Health (2015), 51(12:1195-8.
  • Hutson JM, Thorup J.  Evaluation and management of the infant with cryptorchidism.  Curr Opin Pediatr (2015), 27(4):520-4.
  • Li R, Vannitamby A, Zhang JG, Fehmel EL, Southwell BR, Hutson.  Oct4-GFP expression during transformation of gonocytes into spermatogonial stem cells in the perinatal mouse testis.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), 50(12):2084-9.
  • Lopez-Marambio FA, Hutson JM.  The relationship between the testis and tunica vaginalis changes with age.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), 50(12):2075-7.
  • Chowdhury TK, Laila K, Hutson JM, Banu To.  Male gender identity in children with 46,XX DSD with congenital adrenal hyperplasia after delayed presentation in mid-childhood.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), 50(12):2060-2.
  • Cortes D, Clasen-Linde E, Hutson JM, Li R, Thorup J.  The Sertoli cell hormones inhibin-B and anti Mulerian hormone have different patterns of secretion in prepubertal cryptorchid boys.  J Pediatr Surg., (2016), 51(3):475-80.
  • Hutson JM, Kearsey I.  Is the ovary in an inguinal hernia ‘descended’ like a testis or not?  J Pediatr Surg., (2016), 51(7):1197-200.
  • Yue SS, Hutson JM, Li R.  Gene expression during gonocyte transformation into spermatogonial stem cells is not androgen dependent.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), 50(12):2090-3.
  • Cousinery MC, Li R, Vannitamby A, Vikraman J, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  Neurotrophin signalling in a genitofemoral nerve target organ during testicular descent in mice.  J Pediatr Surg., (2015), S0022-3468(15):00764-2.
  • Wong J, Punwani V, Lai C, Chia J, Hutson JM.  Why do undescended testes and posterior urethral valve occur together?  Pediatr Surg Int., (2016), 32(5):509-14.
  • Kearsey I, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  The effect of food withdrawal in children with rapid-transit constipation.  Pediatr Surg Int., (20-16), 32(7):683-9.
  • Yik YI, Stathopoulos L, Hutson JM, Southwell BR.  Home transcutaneous electrical stimulation therapy to treat children with anorectal retention: A pilot  study.  Neuromodulation (2016), Epub ahead of print.
  • Stathopoulos L, King SK, Southwell BR, Hutson JM.  Nuclear transit study in children with chronic faecal soiling after Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) surgery has revealed a group with rapid proximal colonic treatment and possible adverse reaction to food.  Pediatr Surg Int., (2016), 32(8):773.7.
  • Vikraman J, Hutson JM, Li R, Thorup J.  The undescended testis:  Clinical management and scientific advances.  Semin Pediatr Surg., (2016), 25(4):241-8.