Research

The following are representative of various research activities occurring in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Clinical Research

  • NIH Neonatal Network for Clinical Trials: The Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine is an active participant in the Neonatal Network clinical studies. 
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections: A multicenter study is examining the incidence of CMV infection in term and late preterm neonates, and the use of salivary PCR in the diagnosis of CMV infection. 
  • Transcutaneous bilirubin: Measurement of bilirubin with a transcutaneous device offers a simple and rapid mechanism for estimating serum bilirubin, but the applicability of such devices for preterm neonates is still under investigation. 
  • Gentamicin and its effects on calcium metabolism: Gentamicin is commonly utilized in the treatment of suspected or proven neonatal sepsis/pneumonia.  Based on previous studies, single daily dosing of gentamicin may alter the renal excretion and/or the calcium-sensing receptor of the parathyroid gland. 
  • Treatment of chorioamnionitis-exposed neonates: Several alternative diagnostic tests and therapies have been promoted for the neonate whose mother is diagnosed with chorioamnionitis.
  • Follow-up care for very low birth weight and high risk infants, including neurodevelopment, chronic disease, and nutrition is part of our ongoing study of these babies. 
  • Neonatal infections: Cytomegalovirus, syphilis, urinary tract infections, viral infections, fungal infections, and other neonatal infections and their prevention, potential complications and treatment are part of ongoing studies in our facility.
  • Neonatal resuscitation: Randomized trials (e.g., temperature control, oxygen delivery, resuscitation educational interventions), observational studies (ETCO2 guidance of CPR, effectiveness of epinephrine dosing), as well as other observational studies using the resuscitation database, which includes detailed information about all resuscitation team calls since 2003.
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy: Mechanism of injury; assessment of new recognition tools such as the amplitude EEG; translational research utilizing a piglet model of asphyxia; optimizing neuro-protection offered by hypothermia;  rewarming after hypothermia;  cerebrovascular hemodynamic modulation of asphyxiated infants; neuroimaging; neurodevelopment.
  • Studies in the newborn nursery: Late preterm infants, hypoglycemia, transcutaneous bilirubin, pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease.
  • Observational studies using available databases: Several research studies and quality improvement projects use information from available databases, including: the neonatal resuscitation database (Parkland, see above), the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) databases at Parkland or Children’s Medical Center (CMC), the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Databases (Generic Database, Follow-up Database, and Moderate Preterm Registry), the Vermont-Oxford Network (Parkland NICU) and the Child Health Neonatal Consortium Database (CMC NICU).

Laboratory Research

  • Maternal and fetal cardiovascular physiology and development
  • Animal models relating to neonatal resuscitation and gestational hypertension
  • Pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease, and novel therapies
  • Molecular basis of vascular disease
  • Pulmonary endothelial function, nitric oxide, persistent pulmonary hypertension, and calcium metabolism
  • Hyaluronan (Hyaluronic acid) and its role in inflammation and endothelial function
  • Probiotics/Commensal organisms and their effects on immune mediatros in the developing gut