Michael R. DeBaun, M.D. M.P.H., is vice chair for clinical and translational research and the JC Peterson Endowed Chair in the Department of Pediatrics. He is a leading expert in the care of children with sickle cell disease and directs the newly established Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease.
DeBaun graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in chemistry and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended Stanford University Medical School where he received his M.D. and a Master's degree in Health Services Research. He completed a pediatrics residency at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine where he also served as Pediatric Chief Resident, and later completed his Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship there. Dr. DeBaun earned a Master's in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene.
DeBaun's research focuses on understanding cerebrovascular injury in children with sickle cell disease, and improving management of their care. His efforts also aim to better define the impact and biological mechanisms by which asthma increases sickle cell disease morbidity and mortality. He is now leading an international collaboration to develop the first longitudinal cohort of children with sickle cell anemia who have been evaluated with repeated pulmonary function tests and sleep studies. In addition, DeBaun is an expert in genetic cancer predisposition syndromes. His work in this area provides the basis of standard care for children with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) and has become the international standard for management of this syndrome. DeBaun and his multidisciplinary team were the first to demonstrate the association between the genesis of BWS, congenital malformation syndromes and epigenetic modifications in children born after in vitro fertilization.
Dr. DeBaun has received numerous awards for his research efforts including election to the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.