Department of Surgery

Jason L. Sperry, MD, MPH

  • Chief, Division of Trauma Surgery
  • Professor of Surgery and Critical Care Medicine
  • Director, Acute Care Surgery Fellowship

Dr. Sperry is a Professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and General Surgery and secondary appointments in the Department of Critical Care Medicine and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh.He is a physician trained in general surgery and surgical critical care with a masters’ degree in public health. Dr. Sperry's research focuses on the elucidation of the mechanisms that are responsible for sex-based outcome differences following injury, clinical outcomes following traumatic injury (primarily on massive transfusion), prehospital resuscitation, early correction of the coagulopathy that complicates injury, and the ability to predict a complicated post-injury course in the early prehospital and trauma bay setting. He is the principal investigator (PI) for the Linking Investigations Trauma and Emergency Services (LITES) network funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and PI of the PAMPer trial and STAAMP trials funded by the Prehospital Use of Plasma in Traumatic Hemorrhage (PUPTH) program and the Tranexamic Acid Clinical Research (TACR) program, under the direction of the Department of the Army.He is a co-investigator for the Trans-Agency Research Consortium for Trauma-Induced Coagulopathy (TACTIC) funded thru NHLBI, as well as multiple other NIH-funded grants. His overarching goal is to improve outcomes following traumatic injury.

Education & Training

  • BA, Case Western Reserve University
  • MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine
  • General Surgery Residency, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, University of Texas Houston, School of Public Health
  • Surgical Critical Care/Trauma Fellowship, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Representative Publications

Dr. Sperry's publications can be reviewed through PubMed.

Research, Clinical, and/or Academic Interests

  • Trauma outcomes
  • Sex-based outcome differences
  • Coagulopathy
  • Hemorrhage control
  • Prehospital trauma care
  • Prehospital clinical trials in trauma
  • Multicenter clinical trials in trauma

Research Grants

Prehospital Air Medical Plasma (PAMPer) Trial   
DoD TATRC, W81XWH-12-2-0023 (Sperry), 6/11/12 – 6/10/18   
The primary hypothesis is that prehospital infusion of plasma during air medical transport in patients with hemorrhagic shock will reduce overall blood transfusion requirements in the first 24 hours post injury. The secondary hypotheses include that prehospital infusion of plasma will reduce the incidence  of  mortality, multiple organ failure, nosocomial infection, and acute lung injury, reduce or prevent the early coagulopathy as demonstrated by improving presenting coagulation and thromboelastography parameters, and reduce the early inflammatory cytokine response, thrombomodulin and increase protein C levels.

Study of Tranexamic Acid During Air Medical Prehospital (STAAMP) Transport Trial  
DoD/TATRC, W81XWH-12-CCCJPC-TACR (Sperry), 10/1/13 – 9/30/18     
The primary hypothesis is that prehospital infusion of tranexamic acid in patients at risk for bleeding will reduce the incidence of hyperfibrinolysis and associated morbidity. The secondary hypotheses include that prehospital tranexamic acid will reduce the incidence of acute lung injury, multiple organ failure, nosocomial infection, mortality, early seizures, pulmonary embolism and early resuscitation needs, reduce or prevent the early coagulopathy as demonstrated by improving presenting INR and rapid thromboelastography parameters, reduce the early inflammatory response, plasmin levels, leukocyte, platelet and complement activation, and determine the optimal dosing of tranexamic acid post-injury.

Analysis and Characterization of Trauma-Induced Coagulopathy (TACTIC)
NIH/NHLBI, 1UM1HL120877 (Esmon), 9/30/13 – 5/31/18                  
In this multi-center, multi-PI study, we hypothesize that traumatic shock and products of traumatic coagulopathy initiate a positive feedback loop between endothelial cells, neutrophils, and platelets that ultimately leads to inflammatory tissue damage and worsening coagulopathy. We specifically postulate that hypoxia and/or complement activation results in priming of endothelial cells resulting in increased expression of cytokines, thrombomodulin (TM) and the Endothelial Protein C Receptor (EPCR) to initiate traumatic coagulopathy. These investigations will focus on mechanisms of endothelial activation and inflammatory signaling, as well as the critical role of neutrophils and platelets in interacting with each other and the activated endothelium.

Role of erythroid DAMP molecules in the pathogenesis of vascular injury in sepsis
NIH/NIGMS, R01GM113816-01 (Zuckerbraun), 9/1/14–8/31/19                
The role and mechanisms of eDAMPs, especially heme, on vascular cell activation and endothelial injury in sepsis are the focus of this research. Furthermore, we investigate the specific role of mitochondrial injury, as well as mitochondrial adaptive responses to limit vascular injury in sepsis. The influence of platelets and neutrophils as important amplifiers of endothelial injury is also considered. We focus on the pulmonary endothelium and acute lung injury, as dysfunction in this organ system represents is arguably the most common clinical manifestations of organ injury in sepsis.

NIH/NICHD R21 HD089075 (Wagner), 8/15/16 – 7/31/18                    
Our long-term hypothesis is that identifying acute to chronic care recovery pathways will allow for personalized screening, triage, and treatment strategies to reduce SE, increase life role participation, and improve health-related life quality after TBI.

Linking Investigations in Trauma and Emergency Services (LITES) Network
DoD TATRC, W81XWH-16-R-0033, 9/30/16 – 89/29/2021             
The purpose of LITES is to create a standing research network of US trauma systems and centers with the capability to conduct prospective, multicenter, injury care and outcomes research of relevance to the Department of Defense (DOD). The intent is to maintain a responsive, flexible and efficient network that is operationally oriented, clinically relevant, and provides timely evidence to guide the development and revisions to trauma care guidelines. The LITES network will also serve as a platform in which the initial feasibility and effectiveness of individual materiel solutions emerging from the CCCRP can be demonstrated in a realistic, clinical environment prior to their study in more formal clinical trials or their broader implementation in the operational environment. The inaugural project for the LITES network will be to conduct an observational study with the primary aim to understand the epidemiology of traumatic injuries in the US; including regional variations in severity and types of injury, modes and methods of management, and survival and recovery rates (outcomes).

Faculty by divisions