David J. Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., is the Garrett Family Professor of Pediatric Surgery at The Johns Hopkins University, and Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief and co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Dr. Hackam’s clinical practice focuses on complex neonatal surgery. As pediatric surgeon in chief and co-director of the Childrens Center, Dr. Hackam oversees all perioperative clinical operations that involve children, with a strong emphasis on quality and safety, programmatic growth, and system alignment.
Dr. Hackam's research is focused on unraveling the mechanisms of necrotizing enterocolitis, which is the leading cause of death in premature infants from gastrointestinal disease. His work has identified a series of novel pathways that, in response to the abnormal microflora that characterizes the premature intestine, leads to intestinal mucosal barrier breakdown, bacterial translocation, mesenteric vasoconstriction, and NEC. In seeking to translate these findings to clinical studies, we have developed a family of molecules that can prevent NEC development, and which have in part been licensed for clinical development. In additional work, Hackam has developed a prototype artificial intestine, derived from patient-specific intestine stem cells, which we have implanted into pre-clinical models, for the treatment of short bowel syndrome, a devastating complication of NEC. Finally, using single-cell RNA-seq and cell tracking technology, Hackam has worked towards understanding and treating NEC-associated brain injury, a major complication of NEC, and has engineered nanoparticle-packaged molecules that can cross the blood-brain barrier, and reverse the processes that lead to this disease. These studies are funded by three ro1s, a T32, a MIRA (a maximizing investigators’ research award) and 3 industry grants from companies with an interest in NEC treatment and prevention.
Dr. Hackam seeks to work with industry partners, as well as nurses, doctors, and families of patients around the country, in order to develop novel regimens to safely and effectively deliver appropriate nutrition to the most vulnerable infants, who are at risk for the development of intestinal disease.