Research

The Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Division prides itself on collaborative, diverse and far-reaching research, focused on studying the biology and management of critical illnesses in children.  Dr. David Cornfield, a role model and fêted research mentor, inspired PCCM Fellows with this remark, “Clinical work will give you the satisfaction of saving one child’s life at a time, but your research can save the lives of millions of children all over the world.”

Dr. Anand is a world leader in the field of neonatal and pediatric pain, with current research focused on the mechanisms and management of opioid-induced hyperalgesia, tolerance and withdrawal, and novel measures of chronic stress or pain.  Drs. Alvira and Cornfield each have built separate, but complementary basic research programs centered on developmental biology of the pulmonary vasculature.  Dr. Alvira investigates the role of NFκB in pulmonary angiogenesis and vascularization, and has discovered two novel proteins in the developing lung secretome using an innovative proteomic approach.  Dr. Cornfield directs the Pulmonary Biology Center of Excellence at Stanford and is internationally renowned for his work on regulation of pulmonary vascular tone and oxygen sensing in the lung, developmental regulation of pulmonary barrier functions and the role of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 in lung development.

In collaboration with Dr. Hammer in the Department of Anesthesia, Dr. Su actively pursues research to improve our understanding of the pharmacokinetics of drugs commonly used in critically ill pediatric patients, as well as novel improvements in resuscitation quality and outcomes through the ReVIVE program.  Dr. Pageler, as CMIO of the hospital, performs innovative research using clinical informatics tools to leverage the power of the electronic medical record and thereby enhance patient care.  Dr. Kache focuses her activities on developing global health programs in resource-limited countries, while improving the quality and outcomes of patients in low-income countries.  Dr. Damian investigates the impact of Quality Improvement (QI) activities on the clinical outcomes of children in the PICU, currently engaged in linking these activities across the State of California, while also developing ways to improve the outcomes of children undergoing solid-organ transplantation at LPCHS.  Having joined the CCM Division recently, Drs. Steffen and Haileselassie, are setting up their research programs.  Dr. Steffen will remain focused on Implementation Science, whereas Dr. Haileselassie will investigate the effects of severe sepsis on myocardial strain and its underlying mechanisms.  The Division is also involved in multicenter clinical trials in collaboration with the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators (PALISI) network and other research groups at leading academic institutions.  PALISI is a network of researchers from over 70 PICUs that performs multidisciplinary research aimed at novel therapeutic strategies for critically ill infants and children.  We currently participate in the Sepsis Prevalence, Outcomes and Therapies (SPROUT) Trial, investigating the epidemiology, therapies, and outcomes of children with severe sepsis; the Heart And Lung Failure - Pediatric INsulin Titration Trial (HALF-PINT), investigating the impact of tight glycemic control on the outcomes of critically ill children; and other clinical studies.

The research efforts of the critical care faculty are supported by extramural sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, the American Heart Association, the Laerdal Foundation and various industry sponsored grants.  The Stanford Child Health Research Institute also provides intramural support for ongoing research within the CCM Division. Faculty members have mentored both clinical and postdoctoral fellows in basic science/translational, global health, quality improvement, and palliative care research.  Faculty and fellows have presented their research in both oral and poster presentation formats at national scientific meetings held by the Pediatric Academic Societies, the Society for Critical Care Medicine, the American Thoracic Society, and the Pediatric Critical Care World Congress.  Future opportunities for expanding research include broadening the breadth and depth of basic and translational research programs within the PCCM Division, and the development of a DNA biobank that could serve as a platform for genomics research in pediatric critically ill patients, fostering alignment with the Stanford School of Medicine’s goal of leading a biomedical revolution in Personalized Medicine.