Patrick P. Starlinger, M.D., Ph.D., is a hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon at Mayo Clinic. He has a prime interest in liver and pancreas cancer surgery but also has undergone training for general surgery. His particular emphasis is on colorectal surgery as well as transplant and vascular surgery.
Dr. Starlinger's main research focus is on translational research, with a particular focus on liver regeneration. Besides his research efforts at Mayo Clinic, he is also the principal investigator of the Translational and Experimental Liver Laboratory at the Medical University of Vienna. His focus is on translational research to improve patient care.
- Molecular mechanisms of liver regeneration and potential treatment targets. Dr. Starlinger identifies central regulators and processes involved in the initiation of liver regeneration. He characterizes regulatory mechanisms and thereby identifies novel therapeutic targets. This research supports the regenerative capacity after liver resection and improves the understanding of the pathophysiological processes involved in liver regeneration.
Predictive and prognostic markers for liver regeneration. With a focus on primary and secondary liver cancers, Dr. Starlinger identifies clinical and experimental markers of liver regeneration. These markers reflect the prognosis of regenerative capability and therefore the postoperative outcome after liver surgery. The goal of this research is to tailor surgical strategy to each individual patient, thereby avoiding potentially fatal complications.
Additionally, Dr. Starlinger quantifies tumor aggressiveness using clinical and experimental markers. He aims to predict early disease recurrence, which may spare unnecessary surgery in patients who will not benefit from tumor resection.
- Cancer development. Dr. Starlinger is focused on identifying the roles of platelets, immune cells and their interactions during liver cancer development and progression.
- Gender and diversity. Dr. Starlinger explores differences in the ways that affected organs work during liver regeneration depending on gender and diversity.
Significance to patient care
Liver resection is widely considered to be the only curative treatment option for several types of liver tumors. Despite substantial improvements in surgical techniques and care before, after and during surgery, liver regeneration failure and accompanying liver dysfunction remain important concerns after partial liver removal.
In liver and bile duct surgery, this is important because patient outcomes are tied to the ability of the remaining liver to regenerate. In particular, liver failure after surgery represents a frequently fatal complication with few treatment options. In this context, it is crucial to understand the complex process of liver regeneration.
Current evidence predominantly relies on rodent models, and evidence from humans is largely missing. Underlying liver disease significantly affects the liver's ability to regenerate, but this effect can only be captured incompletely in rodent models. Dr. Starlinger's translational research aims to address these obstacles.
- Research development grant, The Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, 2023.
- Teacher of the Year, Department of Surgery and Subspecialties, Mayo Fellows' Association, 2020, 2021, 2023.
- Best Publication, City of Vienna Fund for Innovative Interdisciplinary Cancer Research, 2020, 2021.
- Researcher of the month, Medical University of Vienna, October, 2020.
- Young Investigator Award, European Association for the Study of the Liver, 2017.
- Young Investigator Award, International Society for Digestive Surgery, 2014.