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The Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine is engaged in a wide range of clinical, translational, and basic science research spanning a number of diverse topics. Specific areas of research interest include the pharmacodynamic effects of analgesics; respiratory mechanics and capnography to optimize mechanical ventilation; Six Sigma methodology to improve hand-offs, communication, and overall patient safety; and mechanisms of inflammatory and oxidant-mediated lung injury.

Research Faculty

Areas of Special Interest
Ira M. Cheifetz, MD, FCCM, FAARC, Chief Respiratory mechanics monitoring, capnography, cardiorespiratory interactions, conventional and non-conventional ventilation
Christoph Hornik, MD Outcomes of infants and children with critical illness, including congenital heart disease
Jon N. Meliones, MD, MS Performance improvement, patient safety, balanced scorecard, team training, Six Sigma
Transfusion medicine, acute lung injury
Kyle Rehder, MD Mechanical ventilation, ECMO, patient safety and quality, communication, education
Iron transport, inflammatory lung disease, oxidant stress, cardiopulmonary bypass, cystic fibrosis
David Turner, MD Extracroporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
Kevin Watt, MD Pediatric critical care medicine, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal life support, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs in critically ill children
Kanecia Zimmerman, MD Improving the safety of drugs administered to critically ill children

(Note: These sections are currently being updated.)

Clinical Research

  • Pharmacodynamic effects of analgesics/sedatives and vasoactive agents, including the efficacy and safety of sodium nitroprusside in children, funded by a $5.1-million, three year NIH grant
  • Multicenter trial of therapeutic sedation regimens for critically ill, mechanically ventilated children
  • Continuous volumetric capnography to minimize the length of mechanical ventilation in pediatric patients
  • Continuous venovenous hemofiltration for respiratory failure in pediatric bone marrow transplant patients
  • Optimization of patient safety through the use of such models as The Balanced Scorecard, Team Training, and Six Sigma
  • Effectiveness of a standardized post-operative patient care handoff following congenital heart surgery
  • Evaluation of the design and delivery of health care for children with severe traumatic brain injury
  • Use of medical simulation to improve fellow education and patient safety

Translational Research

  • Use of CO2 elimination to measure the efficacy of conventional mechanical ventilation
  • Role of CO2 elimination in optimizing lung recruitment in a model of acute lung injury
  • Use of heliox gas mixture during conventional and high frequency oscillatory ventilation
  • Role of inhaled nitric oxide during cardiopulmonary bypass

Basic Research

  • The role of iron in inflammatory lung disease in children
  • Activation of anion exchange protein 2 and AP-1 by oxidative stress in airway epithelial cells
  • Superoxide-dependent iron uptake by anion exchange protein 2.
  • The role of duodenal cytochrome b as a ferri-reductase in airway epithelial cells
  • Effect of red blood cell storage age on iron release and immune function
  • Mechanisms of oxidant lung injury after cardiopulmonary bypass in children

Clinical Trials

For information about current clinical trials in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, please visit or contact:

Ira M. Cheifetz, MD, FCCM, FAARC, Chief 
Kevin Watt, MD