Clinical and Community Research Programs
The Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention—the behavioral research arm of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine—collaborates with academic and community organizations to design research projects that improve the health and wellness of adolescents and young adults and that have long-lasting impacts on public health. Research focuses on how issues around gender, fertility, sexual health, sexuality, HIV preventions, and behavioral health affect specific populations of adolescents and young adults. Learn more about the Adolescent Medicine Research Program.
The specialists in the Division of Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care are engaged in various research projects, including clinical and epidemiologic studies, that range from epidemiology of common infections, prevention of lead poisoning, and neurofibromatosis to child abuse, high-risk adolescent behavior, and maternal-infant attachment. They also investigate the latest developments in medical ethics, health literacy, and social determinants of health. Learn more about the Advanced General Pediatrics Research Program.
The Division of Allergy and Immunology conducts research into asthma, food allergies (such as peanut or milk allergies), atopic dermatitis, and immune deficiencies to improve treatment options for children with these conditions.
One way to understand how to treat severe asthma is through precision medicine, an approach that targets treatments to subgroups of patients who share similar characteristics and that is used in the clinical study Precision Interventions for Severe and/or Exacerbation-Prone Asthma Network (PrecISE). The division is also one of seven centers in the newly formed CAUSE network, which will conduct observational studies and clinical trials to improve understanding of asthma and develop treatment and prevention approaches tailored to children of low-income families living in urban communities. As part of this network, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago will be spearheading an effort to evaluate whether a precision medicine approach can decrease wheezing in infancy, and decrease the development of asthmatic inflammation in the first year of life.
Food allergy research investigates how food allergies and tolerances to food allergies develop. The division has an active clinical trials program in food allergies, was a participant in studies leading to oral immunotherapy, and continues to be involved in cutting-edge food allergy clinical trials. Learn more about the Allergy Research Program.
The Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology advances pediatric anesthesiology and enhances the safety and comfort of patients through research that investigates innovative procedures, devices, and techniques to improve patient outcomes in pain management and safety. Topics include pediatric pain management, regional anesthesia, management of airways, and pre-operative anxiety. The research also includes participation in multi-site projects and contributions to national databases. Learn More about the Anesthesiology Research Program.
The Center for Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics in the Division of Autonomic Medicine conducts studies and projects to improve the care and treatment of children with conditions that affect the autonomic nervous system such as rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysfunction, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation; congenital central hypoventilation syndrome; and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Research also focuses on developing non-invasive autonomic testing of the organ systems served by the autonomic nervous system. Learn More about the Autonomic Medicine Research Program.
Investigators in the Brain Tumor Center perform research to improve care of children with brain and spinal cord tumors, develop new treatments, and broaden the knowledge about the biology of brain and spinal cord tumors. Some of the clinical trials focus on patients with brain and spinal cord tumors, at diagnosis and at the time of recurrence. Others ranging from Phase I to Phase III trials investigate treatments of all pediatric central nervous system diagnoses. Partnerships with other organizations also offer opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials. Basic and translational research continues to expand the understanding of the biology of brain and spinal cord tumors, advance the field of neuro-oncology, and build the foundation for treatment-related advancements in the future. Learn more about the Brain Tumor Research Program.
Heart Center research advances the fields of pediatric cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, and cardiac anesthesia and helps promote patient care through a range of research projects. Included in this is cardiac imaging research where a team of cardiac imaging experts are investigating next-generation imaging technology, and the Pediatric Cardiac Quality of Life Inventory, a disease-specific health-related quality of life instrument for children and adolescents with congenital or acquired heart disease that is designed to improve patient-centered medical treatment and outcome. The team is also leading innovative stem cell trials to treat congenital heart disease and researching how to personalize brain perfusion during cardiopulmonary bypass. Additional research focuses on heart transplant, perinatal cardiology, fetal cardiology, cardiac critical care, and preventative cardiology. Learn more about the Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery Research Program.
Pediatric critical care research focuses on solving the diverse challenges that critically ill children and their families face. Researchers from the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine conduct clinical studies, including grant-funded studies, that focus on investigating diseases at the most basic, biological level, improving communication with and support for families, incorporating innovative technologies into everyday care in the pediatric intensive care unit, and improving healthcare through the reduction of health disparities. Learn more about the Critical Care Research Program.
The Cystic Fibrosis Center advances the understanding of cystic fibrosis and develops new therapies through clinical research. Observational studies address health issues in large groups of people or populations in natural settings, while interventional trials conducted under controlled conditions determine whether experimental treatments or new ways of using known therapies are safe and effective treatments to improve the health of children with cystic fibrosis. Learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Research Program.
The Division of Dermatology conducts research funded by the National Institute of Health, pharmaceutical companies, and its own investigator-initiated studies to discover new treatments for dermatological diseases such as atopic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, hair loss disorders, vascular lesions, ichthyosis, and epidermolysis bullosa. Research is underway to examine the effect of several skin disorders on the quality of life of both the pediatric patients and their parents. The Division of Dermatology also collaborates with other divisions on projects relevant to pediatric dermatology. Learn more about the Dermatology Research Program.
Research in emergency medicine is focused on improving the health of ill and injured children. Investigators lead national and international studies through the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Collaborative Research Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Emergency Research Networks global consortium. The Grainger Research Initiative in Pediatric Emergency Medicine provides seed funding and support for faculty to support their research activities. Emergency medicine research also includes the Injury Prevention and Research Center, which addresses the leading causes of injury to children through behavioral risk reduction and promotion of safe physical and social environments, and the kidSTAR Medical Education Program, which creates immersive learning experiences to help health professional improve collaboration and communication skills in their roles of promoting excellent critical care. Learn more about the Emergency Medicine Research Program.
Faculty within the Division of Endocrinology conduct research to improve care for children with endocrine disorders. Our investigators support and lead local and national patient registries, industry-sponsored studies, and NIH-sponsored foundational, translational, and clinical research. Our research interests include diabetes (type 1 and type 2), fetal origins of future metabolic disorders, obesity, Prader-Willi syndrome, thyroid and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, bone health, sex development, and fertility preservation, and cover the lifespan from fetal development to adult care to their future children. Our collaborative team supports discoveries from bench to bedside and back. Learn more about the Endocrinology Research Program.
The range of clinical studies in epilepsy research conducted by a multidisciplinary team of physician-scientists is directed at discovering new treatments and cures for children with the disease and better educating families. These include studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies, as well as studies initiated by investigators at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. Learn more about the Epilepsy Research Program.
The Fetal Cardiology team actively pursues research to advance treatment and care of fetal cardiac patients. Various studies, including multi-center studies, are generating new insights into the forms of congenital heart disease, prenatal risk factors, screening and detection, and ways to close diagnostic gaps. They’re also identifying the best programs and practices to assist families of patients. Learn more about the Fetal Neonatal Cardiology Research Program.
Research conducted by the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition is dedicated to improving treatments for digestive disorders. In addition to performing basic and clinical research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the division also participates in multi-center studies and is a clinical center for the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network and the Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network, a collaboration investigating new diagnostic, etiologic, and treatment options for children with liver disease and children who undergo liver transplantation. Learn more about the Gastroenterology Research Program.
Within the Division of Genetics, Genomics, and Metabolism, researchers are investigating the underlying mechanisms of and treatments for genetic and congenital disorders such as birth defects, intellectual disabilities, achondroplasia, genetic syndromes, and metabolic disorders. They’re doing this through various types of studies, including natural history studies, which document the course of disorders before and during treatment, and Phase I through Phase IV clinical trials, which focus on developing new therapies and improve existing therapies. Learn more about the Genetics, Genomics, and Metabolism Research Program.
Research conducted in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation spans basic science, translational, and clinical domains. Highlights include investigator-initiated, industry-sponsored, and cooperative group studies that evaluate new therapies and outcomes in children with hard-to-treat cancer and blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and bleeding/clotting conditions. The Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation Biorepository collects and stores biological samples such as blood, saliva, tumor tissue, and bone marrow from patient volunteers that researchers use to study the genetic and molecular basis of childhood cancers from which innovative, personalized, and precision-based cancer treatment may be developed. In the laboratory, the division’s cancer researchers also develop patient-derived orthotopic xenograft (PDOX) models that lead to a better understanding of tumor biology and allow them to discover new markers for diagnosis, identify molecular targets of therapy, and establish preclinical efficacy for the development of early phases clinical trials. Learn more about the Hematology Oncology Research Program.
The HIV/AIDS Prevention Program conducts research to reduce new infection rates, improve the quality of life for patients, and advance the standards of HIV care. Clinical trials develop, produce, and evaluate the effectiveness of new therapies and treatments, and provide HIV patients with access to cutting-edge medication and treatments. Learn more about the HIV/AIDS Research Program.
The Infectious Diseases Clinical Trials team supports the recruitment and retention of pediatric participants in multiple studies of cutting edge-drugs and tests for the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of infections in children. Current trials include studies of new vaccines, new antivirals for influenza and other respiratory viruses, new antibiotics, and new antifungals.
The research program in the Department of Medical Imaging encompasses a range of studies, including clinical trials, that generate insights to help specialists care for their patients with the best imaging procedures possible. Some of these imaging procedures include the 4D flow MRI, an experimental type of MRI that uses three dimensions and time to examine blood flow in vessels and is in use at only a few U.S. medical centers; a special type of MRI (multicompartment, diffusion weighted) that can differentiate between a brain tumor or tissue damage that can occur from radiation therapy; and MRI to measure brown fat to assess development of childhood obesity. Learn more about the Medical Imaging/Radiology Research Program.
Research in the Division of Neonatology includes basic and clinical science research that centers on brain injury, fetal origins of disease, genetic and acquired lung disease, intestinal injury in premature newborns, and optimizing nutritional support for critically ill newborns, and clinical trials that focus on developing and evaluating the effectiveness of new or improved treatments. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is also a part of the Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium, a collaborative group of 24 U.S. neonatal intensive care units that develops best practices to improve outcomes for medically complex babies. Learn more about the Neonatology Research Program.
The epidemiological, translational, and basic laboratory research conducted by the Division of Neurology targets many conditions that cause injury or death of brain cells, and seeks to discover new therapies to prevent neural tissue injury. Clinical studies are investigating the effects that different factors such as environmental, genetic, and viral infections have on the developing brain and nervous system. The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Biomarker Study is providing insights into how babies with spinal muscular atrophy develop compared to healthy babies. Learn more about the Neurology Research Program.
Research conducted by the Division of Neurosurgery team is dedicated to improving the care for children with neurological conditions. The team elevates pediatric care through public health and policy initiatives and focuses on quality improvement and outcomes research. Basic and translational research and clinical trials center on building the scientific knowledge base and developing treatments. Many clinical trials involve collaborations between the neurosurgery team and the neuro-oncology, epilepsy, genetics, and surgery teams as well as with multicenter initiatives. Learn more about the Neurosurgery Research Program.
Nurse scientists and nurses at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are crucial to solving the most pressing and persistent health challenges. As the largest and most trusted profession in the United States, nurses interact with individuals and families more closely than other healthcare professionals; and therefore, have a deep understanding of the personal and societal factors that lead to health and illness. Nursing science is the key to unlocking the power and potential of nursing by leveraging these strengths and unique knowledge and perspectives inherent to the discipline to the benefit all people. Using rigorous scientific methods, nurse scientists and nurses at Lurie Children’s continue to pursue and translate new knowledge to advance health, prevent disease, manage symptoms, innovate illness management, and improve quality of life of children, families, and communities. Nursing research looks holistically at the patient, the family and social supports, the health system, and the population at large to advance healthcare delivery. Lurie Children’s engages all nurses through the Nursing Research Council with the aim of fostering nursing research, advancing nurse-initiated studies, promoting grant and scholar programs, providing nursing research education, and mentoring nurses throughout the research process. Learn more about the Nursing Research Program.
Specialists in the Division of Ophthalmology conduct a variety of clinical, translational, and basic science research studies that focus on multiple aspects of pediatric ophthalmology, including cataracts, genetic eye disorders, glaucoma, amblyopia, strabismus, ocular tumors, retinopathy of prematurity, ocular imaging, and visual examination. Studies are conducted by the division’s researchers as well as through collaborations with other academic institutions. Learn more about the Ophthalmology Research Program.
The Division of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine focuses research on improving children’s bone health, preventing and treating injuries, exploring the origins of disease, and addressing health disparities in children’s orthopedic care. Patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical research on the latest orthopedic treatments for spine diseases, congenital disorders, degenerative diseases, and sports injuries. Learn more about the Orthopedic Surgery Research Program.
The Division of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery conducts research on airway, feeding, and swallowing disorders, sinusitis, head and neck masses, and congenital and acquired problems of the ear and hearing. The division specializes in research on obstructive sleep apnea in children and collaborates with other divisions at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Another area of collaborative research is in the study of children who have received cochlear implants. Members of Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders make up the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Research Group of Northwestern. Learn more about the Otolaryngology Research Program.
Research conducted by the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health helps improve the detection and treatment of emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders in children. Areas of focus include the psychological aspects of children’s physical health issues, neuropsychological aspects of children’s health problems, and risk factors associated with the development and treatment of children’s psychiatric disorders. Learn more about the Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Research Program.
Pulmonary medicine research investigates respiratory diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, and sleep disorders, develop ways to prevent diseases, and improve treatments available to patients. Clinical trials have provided researchers a deeper understanding of cystic fibrosis and other respiratory diseases and has led to important medical developments. The Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine collaborates with other divisions and research programs at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and participates in national and international initiatives to improve the care of children with respiratory diseases and sleep disorders. Learn more about the Pulmonary Research Program.
Research conducted by the Division of Rheumatology improves quality and outcomes for children who live with autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders though new ways to diagnosis and treat many of these conditions, including juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, childhood onset arthritis, vasculitis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Research interests are focused on patient-reported outcomes, measures of disease activity and remission, biomarkers of disease activity, disease management, and drug trials. The division’s physicians participate in national multicenter research coordinated through the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, which focuses on disease management, and the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group, which concentrates on drug trials. The Division of Rheumatology provides opportunities for participation in clinical research through designated subspecialty clinics, including its Cure JM Center of Excellence. The division provides specialty and research-focused clinics in childhood lupus, musculoskeletal ultrasound, autoimmune encephalitis and related diseases, immune dysregulation, and chronic noninfectious osteomyelitis as well as organ-specific combined clinics with dermatology, nephrology, and neurology. Learn more about the Rheumatology Research Program.
The Institute for Sports Medicine, part of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, is nationally recognized for its research on sports injury prevention and treatment. The multidisciplinary team of physician-scientists are engaged in studies that are providing insights into the short-term and long-term cognitive and emotional effects of concussions, guiding the treatment and care of children and adolescents with sports-related injuries, investigating injuries to the spine and lower extremities, and evaluating ways to prevent knee injuries. Learn more about the Sports Medicine Research Program.
Adolescent Bariatrics: Assessing Health Benefits and Risks
The Teen Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (Teen-LABS) consortium is made up of six clinical centers and a data coordinating center. Teen-LABS is built upon the framework constructed by the LABS consortium, a group of surgeons, physicians, and scientists dedicated to study of adult bariatric surgical outcomes.
The goal of Teen-LABS is to facilitate coordinated clinical, epidemiological, and behavioral research in the field of adolescent bariatric surgery, through the cooperative development of common clinical protocols and a bariatric surgery database that will collect information from participating clinical centers performing bariatric surgery on teenagers.
Teen-LABS will help pool the necessary clinical expertise and administrative resources to facilitate the conduct of multiple clinical studies in a timely, efficient manner. Also, the use of standardized definitions, shared clinical protocols, and data-collection instruments will enhance investigators' ability to provide meaningful evidence-based recommendations for patient evaluation, selection, and follow-up care.
In addition to investigating surgical outcomes, another broader goal of Teen-LABS is to better understand the etiology, pathophysiology, and behavioral aspects of severe obesity in youth and how this condition affects human beings over time.
The consortium was funded in June 2006 under a cooperative agreement (U01) by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The Teen-LABS consortium members include:
As a national leader in pediatric transplant research, the Siragusa Transplantation Center has initiated new methods of studying end-stage organ failure and transplantation in children. Research focuses on several areas, including stem cells, tissue regeneration, surgical innovations, monitoring immune responses, and management of medications that suppress the immune system. Clinical trials conducted at the center provide opportunities for patients to participate in research that increases the knowledge base of the medical community and improve standards of pediatric care. The center also collaborates with other institutions and organizations on national and international research projects that are advancing transplant care for children. Learn more about the Transplantation Research Program.
With a strong commitment to clinical research, the multidisciplinary team with the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Program investigates medical and surgical advancements in the areas of intestinal failure and intestinal transplant. An area of focus is on short bowel syndrome, in particular examining long-term outcomes of patients with the condition and investigating the effectiveness of drug treatments. Learn more about the Transplantation Research Program - Intestinal.
The Siragusa Transplantation Center leads important national programs in the study of pediatric liver disease and transplantation that improve transplant outcomes through clinical and laboratory research. Research studies cover a wide range from evaluation of access to care and health outcomes for pediatric recipients of liver transplants to basic science investigation of the causes of biliary atresia, the most common indication for liver transplant in children. We participate in the current National Institute of Health (NIH) networks in pediatric liver disease and liver transplantation. We also have specific research programs focusing on investigation of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), Gestational Alloimmune Liver Disease (GALD), genetic cholestasis including Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC), and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). Our researchers are defining the mechanisms of liver cell injury in these disorders and performing translational studies that will inform treatment trials. Our group leads the NIH-funded Pediatric Acute Liver Failure Immune Response Network (PALF-IRN), which includes 20 centers across the United States, and our team led the development of the multi-center TRIUMPH trial testing treatment to reduce the need for transplantation in children with acute liver failure. Learn more about the Liver Transplant Research Program.
The Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program, part of the Siragusa Transplantation Center, advances the field of hematopoietic cell transplantation through clinical and transitional research that provides access to novel treatment strategies to patients undergoing transplant. Two types of studies are being conducted. Supportive care protocols are studies that do not directly treat a patient’s main (transplanted) disease but look at related issues treated at Lurie Children’s, such as complications of transplantation and infection control, while treatment protocols describe how the physicians and staff at Lurie Children’s will treat patients along the entire transplant process. Learn more about the Stem Cell Transplantation Research Program.
The Division of Urology performs basic science and clinical research in area such as robotic urological surgery, prenatal hydronephrosis, vesicoureteral reflux, urinary tract infections, neurogenic bladder in spina bifida, bladder tissue engineering, outcomes of hypospadias repair, and pathologic bladder degeneration. Specific research on the outcomes of hypospadias repair involves a multi-institutional randomized trial (PROPHY Study) to investigate if preventive antibiotics reduce infection and other problems after hypospadias repair. Other research is focused on gaining insights into the healthcare needs of adolescents and young adults with a difference in sex development. Learn more about the Urology Research Program.