The mission of the Department of Pediatrics is to ensure children and families have access to healing, service, and innovation throughout the lifespan; and to assure training, education, and opportunities to the next generation of pediatric healthcare leaders.
Our Faculty Researchers were awarded 32 new research grants in the fiscal year 2017 and received $12.7 million in research funding.
The UIC Department of Pediatrics leads and participates in research that addresses child health on the molecular, clinical and community levels. Our diverse research is organized into five cores:
The Basic Science Core aims to foster a collaborative environment among the researchers and trainees to perform both pre-clinical and translational research. This core provides key resources and expertise to perform proof-of-concept and investigator-initiated studies using cell systems and genetic models of pediatric and adolescent diseases.
Researchers and clinicians are addressing the critical need for novel insights, biomarkers and therapies to treat devastating chronic childhood lung diseases. Both basic and translational research is focused on understanding the molecular basis of lung disease that originates in the fetus and newborn. Results may provide new therapeutic strategies to improve clinical outcomes and decrease health care costs. Highlights include:
A joint effort between basic researchers and clinicians enables an IRB protocol to collect and analyze tracheal aspirates (TAS) from preterm babies undergoing ventilator support
Basic researchers and neonatologists team up to identify potential novel mechanisms that can contribute to complications in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) patients and newborns and children with pulmonary hypertension
Some major basic science projects include:
Fra-1-A20 Signaling and Resolution of Pneumonia-Induced Sepsis
Role of Nrf2 in Alveolar Epithelial Cell Regeneration During Lung Repair
Role of PDLIMS in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Hypertension
Clinical research is very important to improve current pediatric care and develop future treatments tailored specifically for children. The Pediatric Clinical Research Core (PCRC) at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois (CHUI) provides a dedicated infrastructure for physicians and investigators to engage in clinical research.
Children are not simply small adults. Vital signs and many physiologic parameters vary with age, so that drug metabolism and adverse effects can be greater for children. Growing bone has structures that are lost after puberty. Brain connections, immune system, and normal coagulation function are not the same in children as adults. Children might need medication as liquid or sprinkles, with different absorption rates than capsules of the same medication. Genetic factors are more prominent causes of childhood diseases than environmental factors. Ethical protections in clinical research are also different when a parent or guardian is providing consent for research. Most importantly, helping a child can have an impact on the many decades of life to come.
Equipping researchers with tools and connections to understand children and their medical care is both challenging and rewarding. The PCRC provides highly trained staff and expertise to assist investigators in developing and performing clinical research.
For New Investigators: Experienced staff can help with the whole process from applying for funding, to implementation of clinical protocols, to orderly close-out of finances and regulatory reports. (link to Helene Gussin’s write-up about the lifecycle of a project).
For Experienced Investigators: PCRC can help with specific tasks, research nurses, projects and data managers, statistical support and grant managers.
The PCRC operates in collaboration with the following UIC research institutions to provide resources and supports for clinical investigators, including biospecimen storage, clinical space, and study equipment:
The Community & Population Health Research Core was developed in 2016 in partnership with the Institute for Health Research & Policy (IHRP) in order to support clinical, community-based, health services and population health research and to foster collaboration amongst researchers and across areas of expertise. Some major community/population health projects include:
Promoting Early Child Development in Primary Care in Low Income Families*
Primary Care Internet-Based Depression Prevention/Promoting Adolescent Health (PATH)
*In collaboration with IHRP
Community & Population Health Researchers are also in the process of developing a Pediatric Data Coordination Center (PDCC), in order to provide faculty researchers with comprehensive services and support in biostatistics, data analysis and more.
The Research Education Core provides or identifies mentoring and education programs in the design and conduct of research that serve the needs of Pediatrics faculty, fellows, and residents. Programs may include:
Referrals to other research
For comprehensive information about scholarly and research opportunities for Medical Students across the College of Medicine, click here.