Pediatrics welcomes your help in learning about research and acquiring new knowledge about the health of children. The Department of Pediatrics is actively engaged in many research projects ranging from basic science, to clinical, epidemiology, and health services research. Below are brief descriptions of the areas of research of the Pediatric Faculty. If you are interested in a particular project, please free to contact the faculty members to see if he/she is able to include you as an investigator.
Dr. Grady conducts research in fetal cardiology, specifically fetal echocardiography and its potential uses for improving outcomes in fetuses with congenital heart disease both from a population-based standpoint through improving screening for heart disease and on an individual patient basis, by investigating the contribution of non-invasive measures of diastolic function in fetuses with heart failure. In addition she studies the use of non-invasive methods for detecting abnormal hemodynamics in patients after palliation for congenital heart disease.
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT ABUSE RESOURCE AND EVALUATION (CAARE) DIAGNOSTIC AND TREATMENT CENTER
Dr. Coulter's research focus includes the detection of physical abuse injuries, diagnostic studies in physically abused children, the health status of children placed in protective custody due to abuse and neglect, and the healing of genital injuries.
Dr. Rogers conducts research on the medical and physical outcomes of child abuse and neglect. Her projects involve (1) differentiation between bone fractures due to osteogenesis imperfecta and child physical abuse; (2) co-morbidities of child abuse and domestic violence; (3) healing of child abuse injuries; (4) physical and medical outcomes of children living in methamphetamine labs and drug-infested homes; (5) shaken baby syndrome (SBS) in older children; and (6) CT versus X-ray in the detection of rib fractures in children with SBS.
Dr. Stewart's research focus includes: (1) child abuse prevention with emphasis on evidence-based interventions with drug exposed children and families, (2) detection methods for methamphetamine in the maternal newborn dyad, (3) systems response to drug endangered children and adolescents and (4) optimizing the medical-mental health response to adolescents entering the foster care system. She also has a long standing interest in the development of an effective comprehensive advocacy training program for housestaff and students.
G. TIMMER, Ph.D.
Dr. Timmer conducts research on the effectiveness of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy in high-risk populations, the barriers to the receipt of mental health services, and the efficacy of adjunct in-home services and other adjustments to treatment protocol. As part of this effort to improve the quality of mental health services for high-risk families, her research also explores the relationship between family and cultural values, the meanings attributed to parents' and children's behaviors, and children's psychological adjustment.
Dr. Anthony Urquiza is a clinical psychologist who conducts research into all types of violence within the family with an emphasis on child maltreatment. His focus includes treatment approaches to physically abusive families, the treatment of sexually abused children and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and psychodiagnostic issues as they apply to child maltreatment. In addition, he has been adapting Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to families involved in child welfare systems (i.e., physically abusive families, foster families, adoptive families).
Dr. Hagerman's research includes molecular clinical studies in individuals with the full mutation of fragile X and those with the premutation. She studies the correlation of molecular parameters including the FMRP level and cognitive and physical features associated with fragile X syndrome. She also investigates the molecular, clinical, and pathological basis of the fragile X associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). In additions she studies the association between fragile X syndrome and autism.
Dr. Hansen's primary research involves investigation of the genetic and environmental influences on the etiology and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. She also studies the developmental and behavioral outcomes of infants and young children at risk because of biomedical and psychosocial factors, and is involved in a state-wide demonstration project to provide comprehensive developmental screening and expanded intervention services to at-risk families.
Dr. Kon performs research in informed consent and physician-parent/patient communication in pediatric clinical practice and research involving children. Dr. Kon's research generally involves interviews and surveys of parents, children, and healthcare professionals.
MARCIN, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Marcin conducts research in pediatric quality of care, particularly as it relates to acutely ill and injured children in the Emergency Department and ICU using large patient discharge databases. In addition he does research in telemedicine, and how telemedicine can improve quality of care and reduce medication errors among sick children.
Dr. Mateev's research focuses on improving functional outcomes in children who have suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her current project is evaluating past outcomes at UC Davis. Her future projects hope to evaluate past patients and follow new ones with TBI, associating treatment algorithms with outcomes. In addition, Dr. Mateev is beginning a project to correlate a newer technology, Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), in pediatric patients with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiac surgery with other established measures of end-organ perfusion.
Dr. Pretzlaff conducts research into the professional development of physicians and research ethics. Additional interests include the use of hypothermia as a therapeutic modality in brain injury.
Dr. Glaser's research has focused on pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Specifically she has been studying the cause and treatment of a serious complication of DKA, cerebral edema. Both animal and human studies utilize magnetic resonance imaging technologies to assess brain metabolism, perfusion and edema formation. In addition, Dr. Glaser investigates methods for improving blood glucose control in children with diabetes. This has included helping to develop an insulin dosage calculation device and a computer game.
Dr. Styne conducts clinical research on childhood obesity. Using activity, education, and pharmaceutical therapy, he studies children in his Fit-Kid weight management clinic, evaluating the best methods of assessment and treatment of obesity and its comorbidities. He also has an outreach program to Northern California Indian Rancherias that combines education for local health workers and telehealth communication between the UCDMC based children's weight management team and the families. Additional research involves improving therapies for disorders of pubertal development and growth.
Dr. Warden uses molecular genetics techniques in mouse models to study the impact of natural genetic variants on obesity and on response to diet and exercise. He has identified a protein that alters levels of hypothalamic alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) -- a natural food intake inhibitor. This protein is a potential drug target because inhibitors decrease hunger. Dr. Warden also studies whether some people are genetically programmed to fail to maintain weight loss following gastric bypass surgery.
ANTONIO QUIROS, M.D.
Dr. Quiros heads the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center and conducts research in the epidemiology and genetics of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the pediatric population. . He also studies nutrition and anti-oxidants in child health and is currently investigating Vitamin A in premature infants.
BYRD, M.D., M.P.H
Dr. Byrd was the principal investigator of the Epidemiology of Autism in California study. His published research involves the epidemiology of early school failure, promotion of school readiness, enuresis, uninsured children, adolescent risk behavior, blood lead exposure, ear infections, and asthma.
Dr. Chantry conducts research on infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and term newborn care particularly with regards to the effects of HIV. She studies the risks, benefits, difficulties and promotion of breastfeeding, home pasteurization of HIV-infected breast milk for women in resource-poor areas, and growth, body composition and metabolism in HIV-infected children.
Dr. Li is interested in determining how we can best use information technology to put evidence-based pediatrics into practice and how we can best teach our medical students and residents to apply the best available evidence to the care of patients.
PAN, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Pan conducts health services and medical education research. His areas of study include pediatric workforce, quality improvement in primary care, community-based residency education, and the impact of social environment on child health. He is Director of Communities and Physicians Together, which teaches residents to partner with community organizations to address child health issues.
Dr. Shaikh conducts research in Pediatric nutrition, specifically breastfeeding, undernutrition and overweight.
Dr. Tarantal's research program primarily centers on fetal and infant diseases and corrective therapies, with a focus on cell and gene-based therapies. The activities in the laboratory cover the following areas of research: (1) gene therapy, (2) stem cells/cell-based therapies, (3) fetal/neonatal models of human congenital and acquired diseases, (4) maternal:fetal microchimerism, and (5) imaging applications. Dr. Tarantal has NIH-funded projects that focus on cell and gene-based therapy for fetal heart, lung, and blood diseases (www.CFMGT.ucdavis.edu), and hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and embryonic stem cells. An annual NIH-supported symposium also highlights current research around the nation (www.gts.ucdavis.edu).
Dr. Ducore's research interest area's include: epidemiology of childhood cancer including cancer in pediatric minority populations, emphasis on southeast Asian children; using cancer cluster techniques to assess prenatal exposures; modeling of cancer incidence to estimate biologic parameters of causation and obesity as a result of successful cancer treatment. Clinical research includes: cooperative group (COG) clinical trials for cancer treatment and epidemiology; and the epidemiology of pediatric bleeding disorders.
TAYLOR, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Taylor conducts research on single cell laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy to discern normal from neoplastic cells. He uses surface enhanced Raman Spectroscopy using nanoparticles to perform target-specific intracellular biological measurements. In addition he studies novel approaches to, and new applications of, Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation to Pediatric diseases.
Dr. West's major research interest focuses on developing new and more effective therapy for children with bone sarcomas. He primarily works with the Children's Oncology Group, a national cooperative clinical trials group, where he is principle investigator in several clinical trials and Chair of the Ewing's sarcoma biology committee. In addition, he studies pediatric education. In this work, he focuses on developing new methods to measure critical thinking skills in physicians-in training and training pediatric residents in child advocacy.
Dr. Zwerdling has clinical and research interests in sickle cell anemia and immunotherapy for pediatric solid tumors. He is also interested in clinical trials for children with cancer experimental therapy. In addition, he provides support to terminally-ill children and their families through the pediatric hospice program at UC Davis Children's Hospital.
Dr. Blumberg conducts research relating to the prevention of infections. This includes clinical studies involving childhood vaccines and infection control.
Dr. Wiedeman studies Chlamydia pneumoniae and human cytomegalovirus (CMV). Currently she is studying the effects of cigarette smoke exposure on atherosclerosis (Chlamydia) and on congenital transmission of CMV. She examines the hypothesis that smoke exposure enhances the persistence of Chlamydia due to persistence in human endothelial cells and enhancement of monocyte transendothelial cell migration. She also examines the hypothesis that smoke augments congenital transmission of CMV because it enhances the binding/entry of viral particles into endothelial cells.
Dr. Milstein studies circulatory problems of the neonate including 1) arterial systolic and diastolic waveform analysis, 2) myocardial dysfunction and ventricular/vascular interactions, and 3) pulmonary vascular impedance and branching patterns. He also studies an integrative model of care that incorporates healing and curing in parallel as soon as any diagnosis is made. Healing care addresses cognitive, emotional and spiritual needs. The model requires a shift from a mindset of "doing to" one of "being with" our patients and their families.
Dr. Philipps conducts research involving endocrine control of growth and development in the perinatal and adolescent periods, specifically related to gene expression of Insulin-Like Growth Factors (IGF's) and their binding proteins (IGFBP's), insulin/glucose metabolism (including glucose transporter proteins), and trace metal metabolism with specific focus on zinc and its transporter proteins. His research performed in the Department of Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences as part of the Graduate Nutrition Group, UCD.
Dr. Poulain's current research focuses on the role of selected surfactant apoproteins in the defenses of the lung against environmental pathogens and toxicants. He uses a mouse model to investigate the effects of protein deficiency on the lung injury resulting from exposure to pollutants such as environmental tobacco smoke and ozone.
Dr. Butani conducts research in the development of normative data on the urinary calcium to creatinine ratio, especially in children of different ethnicities to determine the impact of the urinary calcium to creatinine ratio on bone mineral density and on the risk of nephrolithiasis in prospective studies. In addition he studies complications of immunosuppressive medications and the effect of hyperlipidemia on graft function in children with renal transplants.
Dr. Makker conducts research on immune-mediated glomerular diseases. He investigates the biochemical and molecular nature of autoantigens responsible for autoimmune glomerular diseases and studies the immunopathologic mechanisms involved in the genesis as well as immuno-specific treatment of these diseases.
Dr. Tramontano conducts research in unconventional antibody function and molecular mechanisms of autoimmune disease pathogenesis. He investigates the role of pathogenic or beneficial autoantibodies induced with recombinant or chemically modified antigens in animal models of autoimmune glomerulonephritis, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. His unifying theme is to study the mechanisms bridging innate and adaptive immune responses. A long-term goal of his work is the development of strategies for immunotherapy of chronic diseases of autoimmune origin.
Dr. Joad studies the effects of air pollutants (second hand smoke, ozone, allergens) on airway hyperresponsiveness and the neural control of airways and cough in animal models. Techniques include videomicrometry of lung slices, isolated perfused lung, whole animal lung function, microinjection of neuroactive substances in the brainstem, and electrophysiology of the brainstem slice. She also studies the role of leukotrienes in lung diseases of human infants.
Dr. McDonald's research involves evaluating the effects of air pollutants, including second hand smoke and ozone, on lower airway inflammation and oxidant stress responses in infant animals. Her techniques include precise airway sampling, including bronchoscopy, lavage, and brushing.