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 pillersd@uic.edu
Bidny, Sophia UIC Medical Student sbidny2@uic.edu
Giampietro, Philip Professor philipg@uic.edu
Glaser, Nicole Clinical Research Coordinator nglase2@uic.edu
Kadhem, Zaynab Clinical Research Coordinator zkadhe2@uic.edu
Luo, Wenxiang Research Assistant Professor, Lab Co-Director wluo@uic.edu
Malik, Hamood Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine hmalik21@uic.edu
McGowan, Meaghan UIC Medical Student mmcgowa2@uic.edu
Patel, Shyam UIC Medical Student sspatel4@uic.edu
Pham, Jennifer Clinical Associate Professor tran@uic.edu
Romano-Keeler, Joann Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics jromanok@uic.edu
Schwartz, Alan Professor alansz@uic.edu
Strahan, Desmona Clinical Research Coordinator desmona@uic.edu
Taddei, Ana Clinical Assistant Professor asween85@uic.edu

Lab Partners-Clinical Research

Name Title Email
Berman, James Clinical Associate Professor jberma@uic.edu
Chan, Robison Professor of Ophthalmology rvpchan@uic.edu
Chau, Felix Associate Professor of Ophthalmology fchau@uic.edu
Dodge, Beth Occupational Therapy Coordinator ellenb@uic.edu
Hast, Howard Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics hhast@uic.edu
Joshi, Shruti Physical Therapy Specialist sjoshi3@uic.edu
Linderer, Rena Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics rjpark2@uic.edu
Menchaca, Martha Assistant Professor of Radiology mmench1@uic.edu
Mocan, Mehmet (Cem) Associate Professor of Ophthalmology cmocan@uic.edu
Murphy, Shannon Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics shannomu@uic.edu
Patel, Saurabhkumar Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics scpatel3@uic.edu
Pham, Amy Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine apham21@uic.edu
Raghavan, Aarti Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics araghav1@uic.edu
Rasamimari, Phornphat Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics prasamim@uic.edu
Sharma, Neal Fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine nsharm43@uic.edu
Shukla, Arvind Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics ashukla@uic.edu
Srinivasan, Nishant Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics srinis@uic.edu