A photo of Brian Varisco.

Brian Varisco, MD

  • Associate Director, Critical Care Fellowship Program – Scholarly Activities
  • Attending Physician, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



I love positively impacting the lives of critically ill children and their families. I began my research career in developmental pulmonary biology hoping to improve baseline lung health in patients with conditions like bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Chronic respiratory diseases predispose patients to repeated hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions during acute infections. This problem led to my three primary research interests: understanding acute lung injury in pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome; understanding the key mechanotransductive signals impacting late prenatal and postnatal lung development; and understanding the mechanisms of progressive airspace destruction in emphysema with a focus on mechanosensitive matrix remodeling.

By identifying key drivers of lung development, injury and repair, I hope to develop targeted therapies to improve lung health in patients with both acute and chronic lung conditions.

For my research work I have been awarded the Parker B. Francis Fellowship; the Society of Critical Care Medicine Discovery Award; and K12, K08 and R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical and translational research requires the participation of patients and their families. As such, I thank them for helping us as we work to advance the care of children.

MD: Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, 2004.

Residency: Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO.

Fellowship: Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO.

Certification: Pediatrics, 2008; Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, 2011.

Services and Specialties

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit PICU

Research Areas

Critical Care, Pulmonary Biology

Additional Languages



The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H): a new model for research in child health. Varisco, BM; Murray, KO; Cheng, TL; Shah, S; Patel, M; Raphael, J; Keller, D; Chamberlain, L; Devaskar, SU; Cheng, T; et al. Pediatric Research. 2022; 1-2.

Multi-omic characterization of pediatric ARDS via nasal brushings. Williams, JG; Joshi, R; Haslam, D; Yehya, N; Jones, RL; Paranjpe, A; Pujato, M; Roskin, KM; Lahni, PM; Wong, HR; et al. Respiratory Research. 2022; 23.

In Memoriam: Hector R. Wong, MD (1963-2022). Varisco, BM. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 2022; 23:341-343.

Fetal Tracheal Occlusion Increases Lung Basal Cells via Increased Yap Signaling. Serapiglia, V; Stephens, CA; Joshi, R; Aydin, E; Oria, M; Marotta, M; Peiro, JL; Varisco, BM. Frontiers in Pediatrics. 2022; 9.

Mouse lung organoid responses to reduced, increased, and cyclic stretch. Joshi, R; Batie, MR; Fan, Q; Varisco, BM. American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. 2022; 322:L162-L173.

Validating in vivo hyperpolarized 129 Xe diffusion MRI and diffusion morphometry in the mouse lung. Niedbalski, PJ; Cochran, AS; Freeman, MS; Guo, J; Fugate, EM; Davis, CB; Dahlke, J; Quirk, JD; Varisco, BM; Woods, JC; et al. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2021; 85:2160-2173.

Transuterine Fetal Tracheal Occlusion Model in Mice. Aydin, E; Joshi, R; Oria, M; Lim, FY; Varisco, BM; Peiro, JL. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2021.

Transuterine Fetal Tracheal Occlusion Model in Mice. Aydin, E; Joshi, R; Oria, M; Lim, F; Varisco, BM; Peiro, JL. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2021.

High-Frequency Jet Ventilation Is Making Slow Inroads to the Pediatric ICU. Maxwell, AR; Frazier, M; Varisco, BM. Respiratory Care. 2021; 66:349-350.

Peripheral blood transcriptomic sub-phenotypes of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Yehya, N; Varisco, BM; Thomas, NJ; Wong, HR; Christie, JD; Feng, R. Critical Care. 2020; 24.

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