The major research focus of the Division is on the pathogenesis of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis, a source of significant morbidity and mortality in the nursery. Experiments are underway to examine the effects of short chain fatty acids on intestinal mucosal barrier function and to examine the role of intestinal trefoil factor in preventing/ameliorating intestinal injury in both an intestinal monolayer model and an experimental rat model. The laboratory will also undertake a project to develop a genetically modified lactic acid bacterium to be used as a probiotic.
A second area of investigation (in cooperation with the Division of Nephrology) involves basic laboratory studies (electrophysiology and real-time PCR) of the role of myometrial potassium channels in pregnant mice. This area of study is intended to increase our knowledge of the control of uterine contractility, especially as it relates to preterm labor.
A wide range of clinical projects are performed by members of the Division. These have included studies of newer modes of ventilatory support such as pressure-support/volume guarantee, the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on parents of sick newborns, evaluation of the complications from inserting indwelling catheters, various studies concerning breast feeding, and the effect of a nuchal cord on newborn infants.