Human pathophysiology, in particular using innovative “omics” technology to uncover mechanisms underlying disease processes, is critical in tackling pressing problems with obesity, cancer, and renal disease, among others. Validation in cell and model systems and further testing of the hypotheses generated by the discovery are critical. Duke is well equipped to support and foster these investigations, given the wealth of genomics, metabolomics, epigenomics, and proteomics resources.
Infection and Inflammation
The COVID-19 pandemic and its post infectious inflammatory syndrome highlight the need to train more physician-scientists in infection and immune dysregulation. Other infectious diseases that Duke investigators are studying include pneumonia, HIV, and CMV, which all have a devastating impact on children around the globe. Understanding the infection - host immune response interface is critical to inform the development of novel effective interventions.
Technologies Emerging in Child Health (TECH)
Advanced technologies, to include biomedical engineering and artificial intelligence, are areas where pediatric expertise is insufficient to meet future needs and opportunities. While biomedical engineers have long been working to help meet the diagnostic and therapeutic needs of children, there continues to be gaps and delays in developing devices and testing capability for small children. Similarly, artificial intelligence/machine learning is an emerging field with tremendous potential to address critical pediatric health care needs.
The study of clinical outcomes is critically important in moving bench discoveries to the bedside and community. For our program, outcome science encompasses traditional Phase I-IV clinical trials, pharmacokinetic studies, observational cohorts, pragmatic clinical trials, and other types of clinical research. In addition, the use of “big data” to ask critical clinical questions is of increasing importance in pediatrics. Research in the area of health disparities will be a priority.