Dr. De-Ann Pillers/ Neonatology Research Team Lab

Research Interests

Eleven percent of live births are preterm birth (PTB). Preterm infants suffer a range of short-term and long-term morbidities. The research goals in the Neonatology Research Team Lab co-led by Dr. De-Ann Pillers are to investigate pathogenic mechanisms of children’s diseases, especially those disorders affecting preterm infants. Our research is focused on diseases affecting lungs, eyes, and nutrient biochemical metabolism. We are also interested in genetic variation in preterm birth and clinical trial research to find better treatments for diseases affecting preterm neonates.

Pathogenic Mechanisms of Chronic Lung Diseases in Preterm Neonates

In the area of lung diseases, we research bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) that seriously threatens the life and health of preterm infants. We investigate the mechanism of hyperoxia in causing BPD, and we identify genes and signaling pathways that mediate the pathogenesis of this disorder.

Nutrient Metabolism in Preterm Infants

Because of advances in neonatal care technology, infants can survive even when they are born as early as 22 weeks of gestational age (a full-term infant is born at ≥ 37 weeks). Infants born at early gestational stages may be different from those born at later stages in nutrient need and metabolism. To meet their optimal nutrient need, we evaluate nutrient metabolic differences in preterm infants born at various gestational stages.

Genetic Variation in Preterm Birth

Genetic variation is one of the factors that can cause preterm birth. By researching single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in preterm birth, we found that SNPs in Toll-like receptor 1 were associated with preterm birth.

Mechanisms Causing Retinopathy of Prematurity

Diseases affecting eyes are another research interest. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a neonatal disorder that can lead to blindness in preterm infants. We investigate mechanisms causing ROP by risk factors including hyperoxia in the eyes of those neonates.

Clinical Trial Studies

We also conduct clinical trial studies to find and confirm new medications for diseases that affect preterm infants.

Lab Highlights

Effects of Hyperoxia on Lung Alveolar Epithelial Cells in Pathogenesis of Chronic Lung Diseases

Translational Research Partners

Name Title Email
Pillers, De-Ann Professor, Lab Co-Director [email protected]
Bidny, Sophia UIC Medical Student [email protected]
Giampietro, Philip Professor [email protected]
Glaser, Nicole Clinical Research Coordinator [email protected]
Kadhem, Zaynab Clinical Research Coordinator [email protected]
Luo, Wenxiang Research Assistant Professor, Lab Co-Director [email protected]
Malik, Hamood Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine [email protected]
McGowan, Meaghan UIC Medical Student [email protected]
Patel, Shyam UIC Medical Student [email protected]
Pham, Jennifer Clinical Associate Professor [email protected]
Romano-Keeler, Joann Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Schwartz, Alan Professor [email protected]
Strahan, Desmona Clinical Research Coordinator [email protected]
Taddei, Ana Clinical Assistant Professor [email protected]

Lab Partners-Clinical Research

Name Title Email
Berman, James Clinical Associate Professor [email protected]
Chan, Robison Professor of Ophthalmology [email protected]
Chau, Felix Associate Professor of Ophthalmology [email protected]
Dodge, Beth Occupational Therapy Coordinator [email protected]
Hast, Howard Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Joshi, Shruti Physical Therapy Specialist [email protected]
Linderer, Rena Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Menchaca, Martha Assistant Professor of Radiology [email protected]
Mocan, Mehmet (Cem) Associate Professor of Ophthalmology [email protected]
Murphy, Shannon Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Patel, Saurabhkumar Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Pham, Amy Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine [email protected]
Raghavan, Aarti Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Rasamimari, Phornphat Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Sharma, Neal Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine [email protected]
Shukla, Arvind Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]
Srinivasan, Nishant Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics [email protected]