Center for Allergy and Asthma Research

The Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR), part of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, aims to find answers and shape policies surrounding food allergy, asthma and other allergic conditions.

Led by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, CFAAR is comprised of three interdisciplinary and collaborative research cores:

  1. Public Health Data Repository Core
  2. Clinical Research Core
  3. Community/School Outreach Core

These cores are led by experts in the fields of epidemiology, health services research, health behavior, patient care, and advocacy seeking to make meaningful improvements in the health of children, adults, and families living with allergic disease.

The CFAAR team is internationally recognized for research in these areas. They have published the prevalence of pediatric and adult food allergy in the United States, characterized the economic impact of food allergy, and identified disparities in access to care and outcomes among food allergy and asthma patients. To reduce the burden of these diseases and improve health equity, they develop, evaluate, and disseminate interventions and conduct work to inform local, national, and international health policy.

With the continued partnership from their advisory boards, clinical partners, advocacy groups, patients, and their families, CFAAR is excited to continue developing more effective and impactful methods to investigate and improve the health of those living with allergic conditions.


Follow On

Research Highlights

All current projects CFAAR is leading can be found in our Project Directory. A few main projects the team is working on surrounding early introduction of allergenic foods, food allergy prevention, and food allergy disparities are included below:


Intervention to Reduce Early Peanut Allergy in Children

  • Recipient of NIH-U01 Funding
  • CFAAR will partner with 35 clinics in Illinois and follow over 10,000 infants in order to: 
    • Determine the effectiveness of a Clinical Decision Support Tool (CDS) in improving clinician adherence to early introduction of peanut guidelines 
    • Measure the incidence of peanut allergy among children in the control and intervention groups and determine the effectiveness of the CDS tool in decreasing peanut allergy incidence


Start Eating Early Diet

  • CFAAR will enroll 2,000 infants from diverse pediatric practices in Chicago in order to: 
    • Explore early infant introduction of peanut and other common food allergens (milk, egg, cashew, walnut, almond, soy, sesame) in the U.S.
    • Evaluate the impact of early introduction on food allergy development between ages 1-3
    • Collect microbiome and other biospecimens
    • Collect extensive nutritional data


Food Allergy Outcomes Related to White and African American Racial Differences

  • Five-year, multisite NIH R01 longitudinal cohort study examining racial differences in FA development, management, and outcomes among Black, White, and Hispanic/Latinx families
  • Enrolling 1000 families at 4 sites (Lurie Children’s, Rush, DC National, and Cincinnati Children’s)
  • Examining:
    • Differences in the natural development of food allergy
    • Food Allergy clinical and psychosocial outcomes
    • Food Allergy management practices
    • Food Allergy phenotypes and endotypes
    • Skin and gut microbiome 
    • Genomics
    • Detailed, repeated-measures survey data

Principal Investigator