Leading Research in Pediatric Disease

Research Areas

  • Asthma
  • Organ Transplant
  • Brain Injury
  • Staph Infection
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Antibiotic Allergic Reactions
  • Infection
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes

The Patient Oriented Research Unit (PORU) has dedicated space on the 10th floor of the Northwest Tower and serves as an academic base for the interaction and collaboration of clinical investigators within the Department of Pediatrics. Administrative members of the PORU assist members of the Unit with navigating compliance issues, departmental Human Resources, grant development and management, and administration of clinical contracts.

PORU investigators are studying a variety of clinical topics, including diabetes, asthma, sickle cell disease, hypertension, cancer predisposition, organ transplantation, and many others. Beyond physicians, participants in these studies include psychologists, epidemiologists, and biostatisticians.


Our Administrative Staff

Pediatric Research Patient-Oriented Investigators/Teams

Ana Maria Arbalaez, M.D.

Dr. Arbeláez’s research interests include the study of hypoglycemia in diabetes and the physiology of glucose counterregulation, specifically the mechanisms involved in hypoglycemia associated autonomic failure (HAAF) and diabetes, and the role of the central nervous system in HAAF pathophysiology. Dr. Arbeláez is also interested in cystic fibrosis related diabetes. Dr. Arbeláez enjoys seeing children with any type of endocrine disorder in her clinical practice, including diabetes, growth hormone deficiency, thyroid imbalance, and pubertal issues, among others.

Leonard B. Bacharier, M.D.

Dr. Bacharier's research focuses on childhood asthma. Specifically, he is co-principal investigator for the NHBLI’s AsthmaNet, a multi-centered network examining novel therapeutic approaches to asthma in children and adults. He is an investigator in the Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) Network, an NHLBI-funded multi-centered network examining novel therapeutic strategies in children with asthma. He is a co-investigator in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, a multi-centered prospective trial examining the effects of early treatment of asthma on lung growth. He also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of a study examining the role of early infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus upon the subsequent development of asthma.

David Balzer, M.D.

Dr. Balzer specializes in interventional pediatric cardiology, including interventional and diagnostic cardiac catheterization.

Avraham Beigelman, M.D.

My clinical and research interests include childhood asthma and food allergy. Specifically, I’m interested in the research of asthma among pre-school children. Among these young children, I’m investigating the factors that modulate disease activity, and the approaches for treatment of acute wheezing episodes. Currently, my main research project is investigating whether we can prevent recurrent wheezing and potentially asthma, following severe RSV bronchiolitis. In addition, I am a co-investigator in the NHLBI's AshmaNet network, which is a multi-centered network investigating therapeutic approaches to childhood asthma.

Joshua Blatter, M.D.


Gordon R. Bloomberg, M.D.

Dr. Bloomberg’s clinical research focuses on childhood asthma, allergic disorders, and antibiotic allergic reactions. He was for several years, a co-investigator in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, and co-investigator in the Childhood Asthma Research and Education Network, all multicenter network, NIH funded, studies of childhood asthma. Currently, Dr. Bloomberg is the principal investigator in St Louis for the Inner City Asthma Consortium and is conducting a birth cohort study, Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma, (URECA), of the antecedents of asthma in children of low income families living in central urban areas.

Richard S. Buller, Ph.D.

Dr. Buller's research interests center on the use of molecular biology techniques to detect infectious disease agents in clinical specimens. Of particular interest are agents causing central nervous system infections, infections due to cytomegalovirus, viral respiratory tract infections, and tick-borne infections.

Charles Canter, M.D.

Dr. Canter's clinical interests include pediatric cardiac transplantation, coronary angiography, coronary artery disease, hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Vikas Dharnidharka, M.D., MPH

I am a patient-oriented researcher with interests in chronic renal failure, pediatric kidney transplantation and post-transplant infections. I perform epidemiological analyses of very large national databases to elucidate risk factors for events and the outcomes after events, typically infectious events. These large databases include UNOS, USRDS, NAPRTCS. I also participate in multi-center clinical and mechanistic research trials in the areas of chronic renal insufficiency, dialysis and transplantation. My work gets funding from NIH institutes (NIDDK, NIAID) and industry.

Dennis J. Dietzen, Ph.D.

Dr. Dietzen's research is devoted to the assessment and improvement of existing clinical diagnostic tests and in exploiting novel biomarkers for pediatric disease. A particular focus is the development of metabolomic profiles using tandem mass spectrometry to assess inborn metabolic disease, hepatobiliary disease, disorders of iron metabolism, and primary mitochondrial disorders. He is involved in national efforts to define reference intervals and intraindividual variability in pediatric populations and continues work to improve the specificity and scope of clinical toxicology testing for pediatric clinical environments.

Alexis M. Elward, M.D.

Dr. Elward is the Medical Director of Infection Control for Saint Louis Children's Hospital. She also serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Hospital Infection Control Practice Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and is the HICPAC liaison to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Dr. Elward's research interests center around the epidemiology and outcomes of nosocomial infections in children, including hospital-acquired bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and antibiotic resistant organisms.

Albert Faro, M.D.

Dr. Faro is the physician co-leader of the 7 East Unit Based Joint Practice Team at St. Louis Children's Hospital. He along with his co-leader and the staff of 7 East continue to work towards making 7 East a model in-patient unit for children with any pulmonary or allergy disorder. Dr. Faro’s research interests focus on improving our understanding of the mechanisms that lead to post-transplant bronchiolitis obliterans.

Thomas Ferkol, M.D.

Dr. Ferkol serves as an investigator for the National Institutes of Health-supported Genetic Disorders of Mucociliary Clearance Consortium, a clinical research network to study rare diseases of the airways, concentrating on primary ciliary dyskinesia and variant forms of cystic fibrosis. He has also created a multidisciplinary research collaborative that will coordinate clinical characterization, identify functional and ultrastructural defects, and perform genetic testing of patient subpopulations with known or suspected ciliopathies, a project funded by the Children’s Discovery Institute

Melanie Fields, M.D.


Stephanie A. Fritz, M.D.

Research in our laboratory is generally focused on understanding the molecular basis of development. One of our primary focuses is on understanding the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the control of cellular responses to components of the extracellular space during development. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans represent a unique class of developmentally regulated glycoproteins which bind to and regulate a wide range of extracellular proteins including growth factors and their binding proteins, structural extracellular matrix proteins, proteases, and protease inhibitors.

Jane M. Garbutt, M.D., Unit Leader

Dr. Garbutt is interested in research to improve the quality of care in the ambulatory setting. Particular interests include assessment of treatment strategies for upper respiratory illnesses in children and adults, developing and evaluating methods to change physician behavior and measurement of health care quality. Dr. Garbutt is currently involved in a project dealing with the evaluation of a practice management system to improve antimicrobial treatment of children with upper respiratory illnesses.

Andrea Granados, M.D.


Dorothy Katherine Grange, M.D.

Medical genetics, genetic disease, genetic counseling, inherited disorders, inborn errors of metabolism, phenylketonuria (PKU), birth defects, malformation syndromes, chromosomal disorders, Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, connective tissue disorders, overgrowth disorders, craniofacial disorders, and pediatric pathology.

Mary Hartman, M.D.


Robert J. Hayashi, M.D.

Dr. Hayashi is Director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and an attending physician in Hematology/Oncology and General Pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hayashi's research interest primarily focuses on issues regarding the long term effects of cancer therapy.

S. Paul Hmiel, M.D.

My special interests include evaluation of kidney function, electrolyte disorders (including inherited disorders), transplant medicine and pediatric pharmacology. The latter two include special interest in immunosuppressive medications, differences between children and adults in drug metabolism and dosing, and the chronic complications of transplant recipients.

Dee Hodge, III, M.D.

The impact of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the treats of mass casualty incidents on children and the health care system have highlighted the need for a pediatric focused coordinated response between EMS, hospitals and health care agencies. A recent National Commission Report has stressed the need for appropriate planning and case for children in Emergency Preparedness.

Abby S. Hollander, M.D.

Abby Solomon Hollander, M.D. joined the faculty of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology in 1992. She is currently on the Clinician-Educator Track. Her clinical interests cover all aspects of Pediatric Endocrinology, including growth disorders, thyroid disorders, pubertal disorders, adrenal disease, and diabetes.

Caroline C. Horner, M.D.

Dr. Horner’s research interests include childhood asthma. She is currently conducting a study on the association of stress and nocturnal asthma symptoms in children with support from the AAAAI Gail G. Shapiro Clinical Faculty Award. She is also involved with research efforts through AsthmaNet, a multi-center network examining therapeutic approaches to asthma.

Frederick S. Huang, M.D.

Dr. Huang is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and serves as the clinical director for the Division of Hematology/Oncology. He has an interest in the diagnosis and management of sarcomas and other solid tumors in pediatric patients.

David M. Jaffe, M.D.

Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) is still a relatively new pediatric subspecialty, and I have been privileged to have been a part of its growth and development from the early days. For example, I was the first PEM fellow in the United States, participated in writing the first textbook and published an article in the first volume of Pediatric Emergency Care, the first PEM journal.

Mark C. Johnson, M.D.

Clinical and Research Interests: Echocardiography Hypertension

Allison A. King, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. King is a pediatric hematologist and oncologist. She focuses her research on educational outcomes of two populations of children with chronic diseases: children with sickle cell disease and children with brain tumors. She is investigating variables related to academic achievement and self-sufficiency.

Nikoleta S. Kolovos, M.D.

My research interest encompasses the safe and effective delivery of healthcare to children. Children are amongst the most vulnerable users of the health care system, frequently unable to state when they are experiencing a change in their clinical status or an alteration in a standard of care.

Steve M. Liao, M.D., MSCI

My research focuses on neonatal neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Our lab has been active in developing innovative methods to evaluate neonatal brain development and maximize long-term neurobehavioral outcomes via diffuse optical imaging (based on near infrared spectroscopy), functional MRI, as well as bedside EEG monitoring. We hope to elucidate potential developmental alterations of brain function due to various risk factors including prematurity, infections, injuries, etc., and to have the ability to project neurobehavioral outcomes based on functional neuroimaging markers.

Mark J. Manary, M.D.

My professional goal is to ‘fix malnutrition for kids in Africa’. To this end, I have developed ready-to-use therapeutic food and used the food in home-based therapy. Ready-to-use therapeutic food is a novel lipid-based food which has been accepted as the standard of care for uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition by the UN agencies.

Amit Mathur, M.B.B.S., M.D., M.R.C.P.(UK)

My area of research interest covers the study of brain injury and neuroprotection in the neonate. Using a combination of clinical examination, bedside electrophysiological monitors and MR imaging techniques, such as spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and surface based morphometry (SBM), I am studying the long term neurodevelopmental impact of aggressive EEG seizure treatment in the neonate. In the premature infant, I am studying the impact of early versus late intervention in post-hemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) on MR imaging, EEG, CSF biomarkers and neurodevelopmental measures.

Peter Michelson, M.D.

Dr. Michelson is the Director of the Washington University Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Center and actively involved in CF research. CF is the most common life-shortening inherited disease in Caucasians, which most commonly presents with chronic respiratory system infections and poor growth. He currently directs investigator-initiated projects on improving CF care in children as well as participates with collaborators as part of the CF Therapeutic Development Center (CF-TDC). Directed by Drs. Faro and Rosenbluth, the CF-TDC at Washington University School of Medicine is an accredited research site that supports a variety of CF Foundation, industry and investigator initiated trials aimed at improving the lives of patients and families with CF.

Jose A. Pineda Soto, M.D.

Dr. Pineda was recruited to Washington University due to his expertise as a Pediatric Intensivist and his clinical experience and interest in children with brain injury. In parallel to the development of robust clinical expertise, he has successfully conducted research investigating the mechanisms of TBI and potential new treatments for brain injury.

Roberta G. Pineda, Ph.D., OTR/L

The Occupational Therapy NICU lab is part of the Washington University Neurodevelopmental Research (WUNDER) lab, a multidisciplinary team working to better understand the effects of the environment, medical conditions, and interventions on brain structure and functional outcome of the developing infant. Studies are underway that are investigating the effects of early language and sound exposure (and other forms of infant stimulation) in the neonatal intensive care unit on the developing preterm infant.

Jessica Pittman, M.D., MPH

Dr. Pittman's primary research interest is improving the diagnosis and detection of early lung disease in infancy and early childhood through the use of novel outcome measures including infant pulmonary function testing and multiple breath washout (MBW) testing. She is a past recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Leroy Matthews Physician/Scientist Award (2010 - 2013) and recently received an NIH K12 award through the Washington University School of Medicine Omics of Inflammatory Airways Disease K12 Program.

Katie Plax, M.D.

I joined the Washington University Department of Pediatrics in 2000 to develop its advocacy program and as an attending physician in the Adolescent Center, which I now direct. I founded the pediatric residency training program called Pediatricians in Community. The rotation involves half day and whole day site visits to the 35 community based organizations that participate.

Kimberly S. Quayle, M.D.

Dr. Quayle is an attending physician in the emergency department at St. Louis Children's Hospital. She also serves as the Associate Medical Director of Emergency Service for Clinical Affairs. In partnership with nursing leadership from St. Louis Children's Hospital, she oversees the day-to-day operations of the Emergency Unit and coordinates with other leadership teams from throughout the hospital.

Katherine Rivera-Spoljaric, M.D., MSCI

Dr. Rivera’s research interests include childhood asthma and technology dependent children. She is involved with research efforts through the Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) network and AsthmaNet, both multi-centered networks examining therapeutic approaches to childhood asthma.

Cynthia E. Rogers, M.D.

Relationship between abnormal brain development and psychiatric disorders in young children, Impact of adverse psychosocial environment on brain development.

Robert J. Rothbaum, M.D.

Dr. Rothbaum focuses on clinical projects relating to inflammatory bowel disease in children and adolescents. The most recent project is a review of secular trends of the presentation of IBD over the last three decades. In conjunction with child psychiatry, an ongoing project concerns the detection of anxiety and depression in IBD patients.

David Schnadower, M.D., MPH


Shalini Shenoy, M.D.

Dr. Shenoy's research interests are focused on stem cell transplants for non-malignant disorders, reduced intensity transplants, and the immunologic mechanisms of graft rejection, graft versus host disease (GVHD), and immune reconstitution following stem cell transplantation (SCT). These efforts are directed at making SCT safer and better tolerated by reducing associated toxicities.

Jennifer N. Silva, M.D.


Gautam K. Singh, M.D.


Philip C. Spinella, M.D., FCCM

Dr Philip C. Spinella is a pediatric intensivist and Director of the Critical Care Translational Research Program at Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine and the St Louis Children’s Hospital. He served as an active duty US Army physician for 12 years, which included a 1-year deployment to Iraq.

Gregory A. Storch, M.D.

Dr. Storch's research program is devoted to using molecular methods to improve the rapid diagnosis of infections. The infectious agents of choice are those for which existing methods are inadequate, either because the agent cannot be cultivated or because current diagnostic methods are too slow or insufficiently sensitive. The emphasis is on viral and other unconventional agents, in both normal and immunocompromised hosts. Dr. Storch is also interested in pathogen discovery and applications of high-throughput nucleotide sequencing to that process. Dr. Storch's main current research project is a study of viral causes of fever without focus in young children. He also continues to work on developing and evaluating new molecular diagnostic tests.

Stuart C. Sweet, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Sweet's primary research is focused on improved understanding of the important factors determining outcome after lung transplantation in children. He is PI of an NIH funded multicenter collaborative study of the role viral infections play in lung transplant outecomes.

Indi Trehan, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H.

My overall research dream is to contribute to a substantive improvement in childhood morbidity and mortality on a global level. Thematically, my primary foci within this exceedingly broad area are the development of a better understanding of the pathophysiology underlying chronic and acute childhood malnutrition; improving the diagnosis and treatment of malnourished children; and understanding and breaking the vicious malnutrition-infection cycle that is responsible for ~35% of all childhood deaths worldwide.

George Van Hare, M.D.

Heart rhythm disorders in children, and in adults with congenital heart disease; radiofrequency catheter ablation and cryoablation; pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation and follow-up. Multicenter clinical research in pediatric heart rhythm disorders; biology of atrioventricular node reentry; mapping and ablation of post-operative atrial and ventricular tachycardia.

Andrew J. White, M.D.

Dr. White's current research focuses on the clinical efficacy of novel pharmacotherapeutics in the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis, as well as investigations of gene expression arrays in familial autoimmune diseases. He also is the Co-Director of the Osler Weber Rendu (aka Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia) Center of Excellence at Washington University.

Neil H. White, M.D., C.D.E.

Over the last 30 years, Dr. White's research interests have included active participation as a co-investigator and subsequently co-principal investigator of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) both at Washington University and the University of Michigan.

Jennifer York M.D.

To use a multidisciplinary team to accelerate development of implementation strategies for evidence-based blood conservation practices in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Also, to test the effectiveness of the executed implementation strategies. We hypothesize that effective implementation will reduce excessive phlebotomy, iatrogenic anemia and RBC transfusions and will improve blood conservation culture amongst PICU nursing staff.

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