Dr. Flake is an attending surgeon in the Division of Pediatric General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery and holds the Ruth M. and Tristram C. Colket, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He serves as Director of CHOP’s Center for Fetal Research and is a professor of Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Flake was the Director of Fetal Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan before joining the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP in 1996. Today, he spearheads an active research laboratory focused on fetal stem cell and gene therapy. He has been at the forefront of cutting-edge studies aimed at treating genetic disorders before birth. Dr. Flake is committed to discovering ways to help children live disease-free, and is currently moving toward a human clinical trial for sickle cell disease, utilizing in utero transplantation of maternal cells to the fetus. The goal is to increase the newborn’s tolerance for a successful bone marrow transplant.
“We’ve made significant progress in the lab,” he says. “The dream is to prevent these diseases before the children are born so they can live healthy lives.” Dr. Flake’s work in sickle cell disease has the potential to offer new hope for many other immunodeficiency disorders.
Dr. Flake’s clinical specialties include fetal diagnosis and therapy and neonatal surgery.
“I have been fortunate to be a part of developing the fetal treatment program here and we have the best in the world,” he says.
Dr. Flake is a leader in performing minimally invasive surgery, mostly on neonates, including thoracoscopic and laparoscopic procedures. He continues to refine and develop these delicate surgical techniques for the unique requirements of pediatric patients.
Dr. Flake earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his medical degree from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his general surgery residency and fellowship in fetal biology and therapy research at the University of California, San Francisco, and served as a pediatric surgery fellow at Children’s Medical Center in Cincinnati. He is board certified in general and pediatric surgery.