The Division of Pediatric Critical Care has an active clinical and basic science research program. Please see below to learn more about our investigators and their research efforts.
Kristina A. Betters, M.D.
Dr. Betters' research interests are focused on early mobility, rehabilitation of the ICU patient, sedation, and delirium in critically ill children. She leads the multi-disciplinary Early Mobility Committee at VCH, which recently implemented an early mobility and communication protocol in the ICU and is studying associated outcomes. She is also part of the Vanderbilt Pediatric ICU Delirium Study Group.
Brian C. Bridges, M.D.
Dr. Bridges joined the division of pediatric critical care in 2010. He has served as the medical director of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) since 2011. He is actively involved in clinical research and has published multiple journal articles, reviews and book chapters that focus on the use of life support devices such as ECMO, continuous renal replacement therapy and plasma exchange therapy for children with organ failure refractory to conventional medical interventions.
William B. Cutrer, M.D., M.Ed.
Dr. Cutrer is very interested in understanding how students learn in the workplace and how to help them more effectively. He has published and presented widely on these topics. He co-leads the AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative Master Adaptive Learner Working Group and is the leader of the Vanderbilt core team participating in the AAMC pilot project Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (Core EPAs). Dr. Cutrer is also part of the National Transformation Network’s MedEdNext initiative to focus on Character, Competence, and Caring within medical education.
Geoffrey M. Fleming, M.D.
Dr. Fleming's research interest is acute renal injury (AKI) during critical illness, renal replacement therapy (RRT) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). He is currently leading an international research group looking at AKI during ECMO.
Fred Lamb, M.D. Ph.D.
Dr. Lamb's research has two primary areas of interest. The first is the molecular biology of TNF-alpha signaling, specifically on how reactive oxygen (superoxide anion) produced by NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1) in response to this cytokine supports signaling both at the cell surface and inside of endosomes. We have demonstrated that proper localization and function of Nox1 requires anion transporters, including the ClC-3 chloride/proton anti-porter and LRRC8 family anion channels. Current efforts are focused on defining the biophysical and biochemical properties of these proteins and determining the mechanisms by which they modulate TNF alpha signaling. They may represent useful pharmacologic targets for anti-inflammatory therapy.
The second area of interest is to explore the role of anion channels and transporters in the closure of the ductus arteriosus at the time of birth. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Reese in the Division of Neonatology. We are using a combination of whole-cell and perforated-patch techniques, tissue physiology and cell imaging techniques to characterize the involvement of anion channels and transporters in the oxygen-dependent closure of the ductus arteriosus at the time of birth. Persistent patency of this vascular structure, which bridges the systemic and pulmonary circulations in utero, is a very significant clinical problem, particularly in premature infants. Our work seeks to identify novel approaches to pharmacologic manipulation of ductal patency.
Neal R Patel, M.D., MPH
Dr. Patel's research interests include the development of a computerized database for the PCCU for quality assurance and clinical research as well as an electronic charting system for deep sedation services in collaboration with Integrated eMed Solutions.
Jeffrey C. Rohrbough, Ph.D.
Dr. Rohrbough investigates the ion transport properties of the ClC-3 2 Cl-/1 H exchanger and the LRRC8 (VRAC) chloride channel, and developmental chloride conductances in the ductus arteriosus. He uses electrophysiological recordings (whole cell, perforated patch and intracellular recordings), confocal microscopy, and optical cellular recording of intracellular Cl- and pH. Dr. Rohrbough received his training in Neuroscience at the University of California Los Angeles. His earlier work focused largely on synaptic development, including the functional development of voltage-gated ion channels and multiple classes of synaptic transmitter receptors (GluR, GABAR, AChR) in vertebrate spinal neurons, and the development and genetic regulation of glutamatergic synaptic function in Drosophila.
Andrew Harold Smith, M.D., M.S.C.I., MMHC
Ryan Stark, M.D.
Dr. Stark focuses on the inflammatory effect infection has on the vascular endothelium. His specific focus is on endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) which regulates many key functions of endothelial cells, namely vasomotor tone, cellular adhesion to myeloid cells and endothelial permeability. He further examines how eNOS interacts with toll-like receptors, crucial receptors in infection-mediated inflammation, with an overarching goal of understanding endothelial dysfunction during severe infections.
Jessica Turnbull, M.D.
Dr. Turnbull is interested in the care of chronically critically ill children at times of acute critical illness, communication with patients and their families, interdisciplinary communication, clinical ethics and palliative care in times of critical illness.