Research

Division faculty are actively engaged in numerous investigations that provide an invaluable opportunity to learn the most modern molecular biologic techniques and to apply these to common clinical problems in pediatrics.  For example, we have conducted clinical trials of anti-inflammatory agents in bacterial meningitis and febrile children with asthma, diagnostic studies using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in congenital syphilis and pneumonia, and studies of endotoxin concentrations in body fluids of infants and children with meningococcal or Haemophilus meningitis and correlating these values with outcomes.

  • Dr. George McCracken is the principal investigator of the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit Network located at Children’s and UT Southwestern.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Kahn’s areas of scientific research include coronaviruses, influenza and parainfluenza viruses, emerging pathogens, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, rhabdoviral vectors and vaccines, rhinoviruses, and human parvoviruses and polyomaviruses.
  • Dr. Michelle Gill, whose research centers on evaluating the role of dendric cells in pediatric respiratory viral infections, partners with the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology to evaluate the role of dendritic cells in asthma pathogenesis.

Research areas include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Efficacy and safety of antimicrobial agents
  • Immunopathogenesis of meningeal and respiratory infections, especially those caused by RSV and Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • The link between pulmonary infection and asthma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Microarray analyses to identify unique genetic signatures of children with various infectious diseases, particularly RSV and MRSA
  • Neonatal infections
  • Immunogenetic profiles of children with various infections

The Division has established collaborative research programs with members of the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology at UT Southwestern and the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas. The principle goals of these collaborative projects are:

  • To delineate the molecular immunobiologic basis for the pathogenesis of certain infectious diseases in pediatrics
  • To define and control the inflammatory processes involved in bacterial infections, such as meningitis and pneumonia
  • To develop the immunobiologic profiles of children with infectious diseases

On average, faculty members of the division publish 10-12 research papers per year in peer-reviewed journals. All fellows participate in research projects with the faculty.