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Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center Laboratories

Here, researchers and doctors collaborate on developing new treatments and procedures that will directly benefit our patients.


Medical Research

The research laboratories at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center enable doctors and researchers to work together on developing new treatments, procedures and diagnostic tools.

Our main areas of research include:

  • Oncology: Diagnosing and treating cancer
  • Cardiology: Preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease and conditions
  • Neurology: Understanding, treating and improving conditions and disorders of the nervous system

Research Laboratories & Hospital Combined

When doctors and medical researchers work together, they can bring real benefits to real people.

Researchers and clinicians meet regularly to discuss research and brainstorm ideas for new areas of research. And because the laboratories and hospital are within walking distance, our teams can share news and updates quickly.

Unlike some research facilities, our doctors often initiate our medical research. Because doctors treat people in person, they are more likely to focus on innovations that have clear patient benefits.

To facilitate this original research, Aurora has invested in advanced laboratory equipment and imaging technologies. For example, our confocal microscope allows researchers to view cells in exceptional detail and leads to new discoveries about cell processes.


Current Research

We are working on many important research projects across multiple medical fields.

Examples of our current advanced lab-based medical research include:

  • The aging heart: Researchers grow heart muscle cells from tissue donated by patients. They observe the aging process on these cells and devise ways to treat, slow or prevent the aging of the heart.
  • Identifying cancer markers: Researchers compare evidence from electronic health records with donated biospecimens (blood or tissue samples) stored in our Biorepository and Specimen Resource Center. They search for biological markers that might indicate a patient will go on to develop cancer again. This research may lead to new cancer screenings, cancer prevention or earlier diagnosis.


The Neuroanatomy Laboratory: A Training Laboratory

Teaching the next generation of doctors and surgeons is an important part of providing the best health care to our communities.

The Neuroanatomy Laboratory has the same advanced equipment and imaging technologies that doctors use in our neurology operating rooms. Doctors practice complicated surgical procedures on donated cadavers to learn and refine the surgical skills they need.

In addition, the laboratory has high-definition video, data and audio links to the neurology suites at Aurora St. Luke’s. Doctors can follow procedures taking place in real time in the hospital to get a complete understanding of the surgical process.

Aurora is proud to provide our future surgeons with the highest level of education.

Learn more about our Neuroanatomy Laboratory.

Cell Processing

Regenerative Medicine Laboratory

Researchers and clinicians use advanced technologies to view and understand healthy and diseased cells. Better understanding of cell processes can lead to new therapies for our patients.

Stem cells are building-block cells that can change into any type of cell. We work with a person’s own stem cells or donated stem cells to find new therapeutic treatments for cancer, heart disease and brain and spine conditions.

Some chemotherapies can damage patients’ immune systems. Before they begin such therapies, we may harvest healthy stem cells from them. After chemotherapy, we reinfuse the stem cells to kick-start their immune systems and speed up recovery times.


Endocrine Research Laboratory

Researchers at Aurora St. Luke’s are studying the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a major factor in the body’s hormonal response to stress.

Directed by endocrinologist Hershel Raff, PhD, the laboratory’s primary research focus is studying how this hormone system responds to neonatal hypoxia, a condition in newborns in which the stress of birth deprives the body of necessary oxygen.

Additionally, Dr. Raff and his team are developing a diagnostic test involving the measure of the hormone cortisol in a patient’s saliva that could help evaluate the body’s response to a variety of diseases and conditions.

Explore Our Specialty Research Programs

Center for Integrative Research on Cardiovascular Aging (CIRCA)

Researchers study the aging heart down to the molecular level to improve treatments.

Heart Research

Translational Oncology Research: Quest for Understanding & Exploration (TORQUE)

Doctors and researchers work to discover better treatments and improve the quality of life for people with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Research

Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute

Surgeons, doctors and researchers develop safer and more effective brain surgery procedures and treatments for neurological disorders.

Neurology and Brain Tumor Research

Donate to Research

Support lifesaving medical research at Aurora.

Learn About Our Research

Find out more about our current research projects.

Collaborate With Aurora

Bring our expertise and data to your research program.

Work for Aurora

Learn more about our employment opportunities.


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We’re now vaccinating anyone 12 and older in Illinois and Wisconsin.