Excellence in basic science, clinical, and translation research is one component of the tripartite mission of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. Our faculty actively directs and participates in each of these three areas of research, which we hope will lead to seminal findings that will have a positive impact on the treatment of critically ill children and adolescents. In addition, all of our pediatric critical care medicine fellows are required to complete a research project under the close supervision of a mentor. Current areas of research within the Division include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, obesity and lung disease, and sepsis.
To facilitate research within the Division, the Division Director appoints an Associate Director for Research, whose function is to (1) design and implement a divisional research curriculum, (2) serve as a research mentor for divisional fellows and/or assist the Division Director and Fellowship Program Director with the oversight of all research projects of the fellows, and (3) work with and assist divisional faculty interested in research. As part of the Division’s research curriculum, all faculty and fellows are required to attend and participate in the Divisional Research Conference, which is held on the second Thursday of each month. The faculty and fellows also attend other pertinent extra-divisional research conferences and seminars. Finally, the divisional faculty collaborates on research projects with National Institutes of Health-funded investigators within The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Texas Medical Center.
Joseph L. Alcorn, Ph.D. Dr. Alcorn is an established, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigator, whose is primary research interest is aimed at understanding the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of pulmonary surfactant proteins. Dr. Alcorn collaborates with members of our Division and is an invaluable source of expertise in the use of molecular and cell biology approaches to answer scientific questions. Dr. Alcorn also serves on the Scholarly Oversight Committee of one of our fellows.
Michael Blackburn, Ph.D. Dr. Blackburn is a well-established, NIH-funded scientist, who is internationally known for his research investigating the contribution of adenosine to chronic lung diseases. In particular, Dr. Blackburn is interested in the role of adenosine in mediating pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Blackburn collaborates with our Division on a number of research projects, which are focused on understanding the mechanisms of pulmonary inflammation and pulmonary vascular permeability. Dr. Blackburn also serves on the Scholarly Oversight Committee of one of our fellows.
The research laboratory of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine is located on the third floor of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and contains state-of-the-art equipment to conduct basic science and translational research. In addition to containing standard laboratory equipment, the laboratory is equipped with a small animal ventilator to measure pulmonary mechanics in mechanically-ventilated mice. The laboratory also contains an ozone inhalation exposure system to assess pulmonary responses to ozone in wild-type and obese mice, and to date, this is the only exposure system of its kind present in the Texas Medical Center. The members of the Division also have complimentary access to bioinformatics, imaging, and qualitative analysis cores within the Department of Pediatrics. If needed, faculty and fellows within the Division can access developmental biology, genetics, imaging, microarray, nucleic acid, proteomics, and quantitative genomics, core laboratories located throughout the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.