I work in infectious disease pediatrics because I love kids and I love taking care of them. Patients are the most vulnerable during infancy and early life development, which means they need advocates for their health.
My research interests include infectious diseases, reproductive biology, developmental biology and immunology. I was attracted to my research when I became frustrated with not being able to tell parents why their child became sick and how to prevent their illness in the future.
There are several questions that my colleagues and I are attempting to solve, such as:
- Does infection during pregnancy lead to pregnancy impediments?
- How does the immune system differentiate between helpful commensal microbes and pathogens?
- Why are infants more likely to become infected?
- Why are some infections more acute in certain people?
- Why are women who are pregnant more prone toward infections?
- Why do some people get infections while others do not?
Many times, the answer to these vital questions has been “I don’t know” disguised in medical language. I have said, “I don’t know” too many times to count, which is why I shifted my focus toward research to obtain new knowledge instead of reusing old practices. I hope that, with new knowledge, physicians will have more answers and parents and children can get the information that they need and deserve to prevent illness in the future.
Without gathering more research and new knowledge, there will only be minor improvements in how we take care of sick children and infants. Research and more knowledge are essential to enhance the health of children and babies.
I have been elected for membership in the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. These are two societies that distinguish and honor physician-scientists who take part in discovery research. I have also been appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar.
Throughout my career, I’ve received multiple awards, including the E. Mead John Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, the Gale & Ira Drukier Prize in Children’s Health Research and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Awards.
My research has been published in numerous respected journals, such as Nature, Cell Reports, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science and the Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease.
Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Infectious Diseases, Prevention of Preterm Birth, Inflammation and Tolerance