Research

Mission Statement

Scholarly research activities in the Division of Neonatology focus in the principal areas of basic and translational sciences, and clinical investigations. It’s our goal to passionately pursue research endeavors that are geared toward our vision of enhancing the care and management of our fragile patients.

We strive to promote a culture where investigators together with our research staff can pursue novel scientific ideas and challenge unresolved clinical questions that once solved, can be innovatively used to improve neonatal practices. These efforts are hallmarks of the ‘bench to bedside’ philosophy.

Basic Sciences:

Lung Pathophysiology: (SR. Seidner, DJ. McCurnin, AG. Moreira, SB. Mustafa)

  • Regulation of surfactant expression during lung development and injury
  • Functional properties of stem cells during lung disease
  • Respiratory mechanical functions in neonatal lung disease
  • Sodium channel function

Pertinent Publications:

1.      Comparison of preterm and Term Wharton’s Jelly-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Properties in differing Oxygen Tensions. Balgi-Agarwal S, Winter C, Corral A, Mustafa SB, Hornsby P, and Moreira A. Cells Tissues Organs. 205(3):137-150, 2018

2.     Moreira A, Alayli Y, Balgi S, Winter C, Kahlenberg S, Mustafa SB, Hornsby P (2017). Upcycling umbilical cords: bridging regenerative medicine with neonatology. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, DOI: 10.1080/14767058.2017.1405387

3.     IL-1 promotes α-epithelial Sodium Channel (α-ENaC) expression in murine lung epithelial cells: involvement of NF-κB. Shamimunisa B. Mustafa, Tania F. Hernandez, Teresa L. Johnson-Pais, Pratap A. Kumar, Jean A. Petershack, Barbara M. Henson, Steven R. Seidner. Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling,  2019

4.    Oxygen and mechanical ventilation impede the functional properties of resident lung mesenchymal stromal cells. Alvaro G. Moreira, Sartaj K. Siddiqui, Rolando Macias, Teresa L. Johnson-Pais, Desiree Wilson, Jonathon A. L. Gelfond, Margarita M. Vasquez, Steven R. Seidner, Shamimunisa B. Mustafa. PLoS ONE 15(3): e0229521. 2020

5.     Lanka GK; Yu JJ; Gong S; Gupta R; Mustafa SB; Murthy AK; Zhong G; Chambers JP; Guentzel MN; Arulanandam BP. IgA modulates respiratory dysfunction as a sequela to pulmonary chlamydial infection as neonates. Pathogens and Disease. 74(3), 2016

Insulin Signaling Pathways and Metabolic Studies: (Cl. Blanco, SR. Seidner, DJ. McCurnin).

  • Developmental regulation of key gluconeogenic molecules
  • Ontogeny of pancreatic development
  • Antenatal corticosteroids and insulin effector molecules in a premature model
  • Insulin sensitivity and metabolic disruption in prematurity

Pertinent Publications:

1.     Callaway DA; McGill-Vargas LL; Quinn A; Jordan JL; Winter LA; Anzueto D; Dick EJ Jr; Blanco CL. Prematurity disrupts glomeruli development, whereas prematurity and hyperglycemia lead to altered nephron maturation and increased oxidative stress in newborn baboons. Pediatric Research. 83(3):702-711, 2018

2.     Blanco CL; McGill-Vargas LL; Gastaldelli A; Seidner SR; McCurnin DC; Leland MM; Anzueto DG; Johnson MC; Liang H; DeFronzo RA; Musi N. Peripheral insulin resistance and impaired insulin signaling contribute to abnormal glucose metabolism in preterm baboons. Endocrinology. 156(3):813-23, 2015

3.     McGill-Vargas LL; Johnson-Pais T; Johnson MC; Blanco CL. Developmental regulation of key gluconeogenic molecules in nonhuman primates. Physiological Reports. 2(12), 2014

4.     Quinn AR, Blanco CL, Perego C, Finzi G, La Rossa S, Capella C, Guardado-Mendoza R, Casiraghi F, Gastaldelli A, Johnson M, Dick EJ, Folli F. The ontogeny of the endocrine pancreas in the fetal/newborn baboon J Endocrinology 2012 Sep;14(3):289-299.

5.     Blanco CL; Moreira AG; McGill-Vargas LL; Anzueto DG; Nathanielsz P; Musi N.  Antenatal corticosteroids alter insulin signaling pathways in fetal baboon skeletal muscle. Journal of Endocrinology. 221(2):253-60, 2014

6.     Blanco CL, McGill-Vargas L, McCurnin D, Quinn A. Hyperglycemia Increases the Risk of Death in Extremely Preterm Baboons Pediatric Research 2013 Mar;73(3):337-343.

7.     Blanco CL, Gastaldelli A, Anzueto DG, Winter LA, Seidner SR, McCurnin DC, Liang H, Javors MA, DeFronzo RA, Musi N. Effects of intravenous AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4-carboximide riboside) administration on insulin signaling and resistance in premature baboons. PLoS One;13(12): e0208757. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208757. 2018.

Resources and Core Service Facilities for Basic Science Studies:

  • Laboratories equipped for molecular biology and cellular physiology experimentation, cell culture, and WB/PCR analysis
  • Separate laboratory for small/preterm animal ventilation (capable of ventilating 20 premature animals simultaneously)
  • Access to core facilities including Genomics, Proteomics, Optical and Electron microscopy imaging, and Flow cytometry

Translational Sciences:

IV Nutrition Therapies and Metabolic Interventions: (Cl. Blanco, AK Gong)

  •  Amino acid levels in premature infants
  •  Intralipid solutions and markers of liver disease

Pertinent Publications:

1.     Keller L, Eighmy S, Li C, Winter L, Kerecman J, Goodman Z, Mittal N, Blanco CL.  Association of Novel Markers of Liver Disease with Neonatal Liver Disease in Premature Baboons. Plos One 2020 Mar (9); 15 (3):doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228985.

2.     Blanco C; McGill-Vargas L; Li C; Winter L; Nathanielsz P. High Branched-Chain Amino Acid Concentrations Are Found in Preterm Baboons Receiving Intravenous Amino Acid Solutions and Mimic Alterations Found in Preterm Infants. Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition. 43(8):1053-1064, 2019

3.     Blanco CL, Gong AK, Green BK, Falck A, Schoolfield J, Liechty EA. Early changes in plasma amino acid concentrations during aggressive nutritional therapy in extremely low birth weight infants J Pediatrics, 2011 Apr;158(4):543-548.

4.     Blanco CL, Gong AK, Daniels, W, Liechty, E, Schoolfield, J, Ramamurthy RS, Green, BK. The Impact of Early High Amino Acid Supplementation on ELBW Infants at Two Years Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition 2012 Jan; 54:601-607.[BCL1]

Neonatal Diseases: (CL. Blanco, SR. Seidner, D. McCurnin)

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis: Role of TGFb
  • Kidney, Liver disease
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia                      

Pertinent Publications:

1.     Namachivayam K; Coffing HP; Sankaranarayanan NV; Jin Y; MohanKumar K; Frost BL; Blanco CL; Patel AL; Meier PP; Garzon SA; Desai UR; Maheshwari A. Transforming growth factor-beta2 is sequestered in preterm human milk by chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology. 309(3): G171-80, 2015

2.      Namachivayam K, Blanco CL, MohanKumar K, Jagadeeswaran R, Vasquez MM, McGill-Vargas L, Garzon SA, Jain SK, Gill RK, Freitag NE, Weikamp JH, Seidner SR, Maheshwari A. Smad7 inhibits autocrine expression of TGF-b2 in intestinal epithelial cells in baboon necrotizing enterocolitis Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiology 2013 Jan;304(2):G167-180.

3.       Namachivayam K; Blanco CL; Frost BL; Reeves AA; Jagadeeswaran R; MohanKumar K; Safarulla A; Mandal P; Garzon SA; Raj JU; Maheshwari A. Preterm human milk contains a large pool of latent TGF-beta, which can be activated by exogenous neuraminidase. American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology. 304(12): G1055-65, 2013

4.       Reeves AA, Johnson CJ, Vasquez MM, Maheshwari A, Blanco CL. TGF-b2, a protective intestinal cytokine, is abundant in maternal human milk and human-derived fortifiers but not in donor human milk Breastfeeding Medicine 2013

5.       Sutherland MR. Yoder BA. McCurnin D. Seidner S. Gubhaju L. Clyman RI. Black MJ. Effects of ibuprofen treatment on the developing preterm baboon kidney Am J Physiol;302(10): F1286-F1292, 2012

6.        Waleh N, McCurnin DC, Yoder BA, Shaul PW, Clyman RI. Patent ductus arteriosus ligation alters pulmonary gene expression in preterm baboons Pediatr Res, 69(3):212-216. 2011[BCL2]

Precision Medicine; TX BPDSeq: (AG. Moreira)

  • A multi-site initiative program that utilizes novel approaches for predicting BPD
  • Well-phenotyped cohort of very low birth weight neonates at risk for developing BPD
  • Collection of biospecimens (urine, stool, tracheal aspirates, umbilical cord tissue
  • Creating a multi-omic approach (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, etc.) to understand the mechanisms underlying the development of BPD.

Regenerative Medicine; Stem cell-based therapeutic approaches: (AG. Moreira, SR. Seidner, CL. Blanco, DJ. McCurnin, SB. Mustafa)

  • Hypoxic-Ischemic injury in neonates.
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia/lung disease in preterm neonates.

Pertinent Publications:

1. Intranasal delivery of human umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stromal cells restores lung alveolarization and vascularization in experimental bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Alvaro Moreira, Caitlyn Winter, Jooby Joy, Lauryn Winter, Maxwell Jones, Michelle Noronha, Melissa Porter, Kayla Quim, Alexis Corral, Yasmeen Alayli, Tyrelle Seno, Shamimunisa Mustafa, Peter Hornsby, Sunil Ahuja. Stem cells Translational Medicine, 2018. DOI: 10.1002.

2. Shamimunisa B Mustafa. Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A New Approach for Treating Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. Am J Biomed. Sci & Res. 2019 – 5(5).    AJBSR.MS.ID.000947. DOI: 10.34297/AJBSR.2019.05.000950.Mesenchymal stromal cell conditioned media for lung disease: a systematic review and  meta-analysis of preclinical studies.

3. Emukah, C., Dittmar, E., Naqvi, R., Martinez, J., Corral, A., Moreira, A. & Moreira, A., 2019, Respiratory research.

4. Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stromal cells for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of preclinical studies. Archambault, J., Moreira, A. G., McDaniel, D., Winter, L., Sun, L. & Hornsby, P. J., 2017. PLoS One. 12, 12, e0189895.

Resources and Core Service Facilities for Translational Studies:

  •     Unique Preterm Large Animal NICU for in vivo investigations with on-going multinational translational studies.
  •     Ability to perform pre-clinical trials.

Clinical Investigations:

Clinical Center for Neonatal and Childhood Research

Our multidisciplinary research team includes research coordinators, assistants/associates, nurses, dietitians and a database team.  We are located at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. We are part of the Vermont Oxford Network.

We conduct clinical trials in many areas including neonatal lung disease, neonatal nutrition, neonatal neurodevelopment, neonatal infectious disease, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric pulmonary/CF, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric ophthalmology/retina, pediatric allergy-immunology, pediatric cardiology, and child abuse.

We currently have eighty-seven open clinical research studies/clinical trials in the Department of Pediatrics. Of those, 27% are led by the Neonatology Division.

Neonatal Infectious Diseases, (JB. Cantey)

Antimicrobial Stewardship Support in South Texas (ASSIST) Program:

  • Designed to deliver antimicrobial stewardship support to rural or medically underserved nurseries
  • The ASSIST-1 trial demonstrated safe and effective reduction in antibiotic use for infants in the well-baby or intermediate care nurseries in South Texas.
  • ASSIST-2 is aimed at disseminating and implementing the program throughout all of rural Texas.
  • The proposed ASSIST-3 trial is intended to study the dissemination of the program to remote states with large rural networks, such as Montana or Alaska.
  • ·NICU Antibiotics and Outcomes (NANO) Trial:
  • Goal is to study the longstanding clinical practice of empirically administering intravenous antibiotics to extremely low birth weight infants in the first days of life.
  •  802-subject, multi-center, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial
  • Hypothesis: the incidence of adverse outcomes is higher in babies receiving empiric antibiotics in the first week of life compared to babies receiving placebo.
  • Primary outcomes: composite of late-onset sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, or death during the index hospitalization.
  • Site principal investigator

RSV Vaccine for Pregnant Women:

  • Phase 3, randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of an RSV subunit vaccine in infants born to women  vaccinated during pregnancy
  • Site co-investigator (primary investigator for pediatrics)

Pertinent Publications:

1.     Cantey, J. B. & Bultmann, C. R., C-Reactive Protein Testing in Late-Onset Neonatal Sepsis: Hazardous Waste. JAMA Pediatrics. 174, 3, 235-236 2, 2020.

2.     Ramirez, C. B. & Cantey, J. B.,  Antibiotic resistance in the neonatal intensive care unit. NeoReviews. 20, 3, p. e135-e144, 2019

3.     Cantey JB, Pyle AK, Wozniak PS, et al. Early antibiotic exposure and adverse outcomes in preterm, very low birth weight infants. Journal of Pediatrics, 2018

4.     Sandora TJ, Bryant KK, Cantey JB, et al.  SHEA neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) White paper series: practical approaches to Clostridioides difficile prevention. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol., 2018

5.     Cantey JB, Anderson KR, Kalagiri RR, et al. Morbidity and mortality of coagulase-negative staphylococcal sepsis in very-low-birth-weight infants. World Journal of Pediatrics., 2018.

6.     Wozniak PS, Cantey JB, Zeray F, et al. Congenital syphilis in neonates with nonreactive nontreponemal test results. Journal of Perinatology. 2017;37(10):1112-1116

7.     Cantey JB, Huffman LW, Ballard AR, et al. Antibiotic exposure and risk for death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia in very-low-birth-weight infants. Journal of Pediatrics. 2017; 181:289-293[BCL1]

 

Neonatal Nutrition and Bone Institute (NNBI) (CL. Blanco, AG. Moreira, Gong, McCurnin, Brownell E, McGrath J)

This is a Premiere Center for the Healthy Development of Neonates. Our team of experts includes neonatologists, dieticians, gastroenterologists, neonatal pharmacists, NICU nurses, hospitalists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, social workers and psychologists.

 Current Trials and Observational Investigations:

  • Short gut/bowel syndrome, gastroschisis, duodenal, jejunal or ileal atresia, intestinal dysmotility through the intestinal/liver failure program
  • Parenteral Nutrition Associated Cholestasis (PNAC) and novel approaches
  • Feeding difficulty and poor growth with body composition outcome analyses
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis and novel therapeutic approach
  • Extreme prematurity and metabolic bone disease
  • Iron overload in ECMO Patients
  • Genetic disparities and early effects of intrauterine environmental exposures

 

What the NNBI Offers:

  •  An individual health plan designed to meet the neonate’s specific needs
  •  Diagnostic testing, such as body composition, bone mineral density and bone strength with DXA scan and air displacement plethysmography
  •  Diagnostic studies, such as endoscopy, colonoscopy and biopsy
  •  Clinical research trials
  •  Donor breast milk program

Pertinent Publications:

1.   AP. Hernandez, NR. Carr, D. McCurnin, V. Armijo-Garcia. Extracorporeal Life Support in Pediatric Patients with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Associated Pulmonary Hypertension. ASAIO Journal, 2020

2.   Rizzo HE, Escaname EN, Alana NB, Lavender E, Gelfond J, Fernandez R, Hibbs MA, King JM, Carr NR, Blanco CL. Maternal diabetes and obesity influence the fetal epigenome in a largely Hispanic population. Clin Epigenetics.;12(1):34. doi: 10.1186/s13148-020-0824-9. 2020

3.   Hair AB; Blanco CL; Moreira AG; Hawthorne KM; Lee ML; Rechtman DJ; Abrams SA.  Randomized trial of human milk cream as a supplement to standard fortification of an exclusive human milk-based diet in infants 750-1250 g birth weight. Journal of Pediatrics. 165(5):915-20, 2014

4.  Hair AB, Bergner EM, Lee ML, Moreira AG, Hawthorne KM, Rechtman DJ, Abrams SA, Blanco CL. Premature Infants 750-1,250 g Birth Weight Supplemented with a Novel Human Milk-Derived Cream Are Discharged Sooner. Breastfeed Med.:133-7. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2015.0166. 2016

5.   Cristofalo EA, Schanler RJ, Blanco CL, Sullivan S, Trawoeger R, Kiechl-Kohlendorfer U, Dudell G, Rechtman DJ, Lee ML, Lucas A, Abrams S. Randomized trial of exclusive human milk versus preterm formula diets in extremely premature infants. J Pediatr.;163(6):1592-1595.e1. doi: 10.1016, 2013

6.   Moreira, A., Das, H., Hasi-Zogaj, M., Soileau, B., Hill, A., Bruder, J. M., Hale, D. E. & Cody, J. D. Abnormal bone mineral content and density in people with tetrasomy 18p. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A. 179, 3, p. 417-422 6 p. 2019

7.   Sorrell, M., Moreira, A., Green, K., Jacob, R., Tragus, R., Keller, L., Quinn, A., McCurnin, D., Gong, A., El Sakka, A., Mittal, N. & Blanco, C.  Favorable Outcomes of Preterm Infants with Parenteral Nutrition-associated Liver Disease Treated with Intravenous Fish Oil-based Lipid Emulsion. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 64, 5, p. 783-788 6 p. 2017

8.   Moreira, A. G., Jacob, R., Lavender, L. & Escaname, E. Metabolic bone disease of prematurity. NeoReviews. 16, 11, p. e631-e641, 2015

9.   Moreira, A., Swischuk, L., Malloy, M., Mudd, D., Blanco, C. & Geary, C. Parathyroid hormone as a marker for metabolic bone disease of prematurity. Perinatology. 34, 10, p. 787-791 5 p. 2014

 

Neonatal Newborn Follow-up, Screening, Breastfeeding Initiative (PI: AK. Gong)

  Family Nurture Invention:

  • Randomized controlled trial with families learning to co-regulate with their infant versus control to see effect on brain wave development at term equivalent using 132 lead EEG
  • Developmental anomalies associated with oral feeding
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Early cerebral Palsy (CP) diagnosis
  • Pertinent Publications:

1.   Wade KC, Ying GS, Baumritter A, Gong AK, Kemper AR, Quinn GE, eROP Cooperative Group. Factors in Premature Infants Associated with Low Risk of Developing Retinopathy of Prematurity JAMA Ophthalmology, 137(2):160-166. 2018

2.   Guillory C, Gong AK. Livingston J, Creel L, OCampo E, McGee-Garrett T. Texas Pulse Oximetry Project: A Multicenter Educational and Quality Improvement Project for Implementation of Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening Using Pulse Oximetry Am J Perinatol, 34(9):856-860. 2017

3.   Gong AK, Guillory C, Creel L, Livingston JE, McKee-Garrett TM, Fortunov R.. A Multicenter Initiative for Critical Congenital Heart Disease Newborn Screening in Texas Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Am J Perinatol, 34(9):839-844. 2017

4.   Quinn GE, Barr C, Bremer D, Fellows R, Gong A, Hoffman R, Repka MX, Shepard J, Siatkowski RM, Wade K, Ying G. Changes in Course of Retinopathy of Prematurity from 1986 to 2013: Comparison of Three Studies in the United States Opthalmology, 123:1-6. 2016

5.  Gong AK, Johnson Y, Livingston J, Matula K, Duncan A. Newborn intensive care survivors: a review and a plan for collaboration in Texas Maternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology 2015

6.   Kemper AR et al for e-ROP Cooperative Group. Retinopathy of Prematurity Risk Prediction for Infants with Birth Weight Less than 1251 Grams Journal of Pediatrics, 166(2):257-261. 2015[BCL3]

Simulation Lab; Director: Margarita M. Vasquez, M.D.

Dr. Vasquez’s research interests have focused on improving trainee simulation for intubation success with direct- and video-laryngoscopy in a mannequin and in a large animal model.  Dr. Vasquez has implemented rapid cycle deliberate practice (RCDP) into the resuscitation model and has a team of experts to lead these efforts with dedicated time for the Neonatal-Perinatal fellows, neonatal and OB transport team members.

Pertinent Publications:

1.    Koele-Schmidt L; Vasquez MM. NewB for newbies: a randomized control trial training housestaff to perform neonatal intubation with direct and videolaryngoscopy. Paediatric Anaesthesia. 26(4):392-8, 2016[BCL4]

Meet our Team

1.  Research Coordinators:

Robin Tragus, MSN, RN

  • Expertise in management of clinical trials, including regulatory and financial start up, and study conduct throughout the study life cycle
  • Extensive experience in coordinating single center and multi-center trials with Industry, government and philanthropic sponsors.
  • Expertise in project design and developing the logistical and operational portions of a protocol
  • Supervises and serves as a mentor to multiple investigators in the Department of Pediatrics
  • Coordinating NIH trial designed to investigate treatments for COVID-19.

Diana G. Anzueto, BS, MSCI

  • Expertise in laboratory procedures including DNA extraction, Western Blot, ELISA, PCR, immunofluorescence, cell culture, isotope enrichment analyses.
  • Extensive experience coordinating single and multi-center research studies
  • Skilled in scientific data presentation such as manuscript preparation and oral presentations
  • Bilingual
  • Research Manager for the Clinical Center for Neonatal and Childhood Research
  • Coordinating NIH trial designed to investigate treatments for COVID-19.

 Caitlyn A. Winter, BS

·Regenerative Therapies for complications of prematurity

  • Umbilical cord derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
  • UC-MSC conditioned medium as a cell free therapy for BPD
  • Effect of hypoxic preconditioning on UC-MSCs

Metabolic insufficiency of premature infants

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction in preterm baboon model
  • Effect of oxidative stress on UC-MSCs in an in-vitro model of BPD
  • Longitudinal cohort studies

Multi-omics study of BPD: BPDSeq

  • Predictive Immune and Airway Monitoring in hospitalized patients with COVID-19
  •  Machine learning methods (R and Python) for electronic health record data

Lauryn A. Winter, BS

·       Texas BPD-sequencing consortium

·       Predictive immune and airway monitoring in hospitalized COVID-19 patients

·       Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in animal models of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

·       Effects of transient hyperglycemia on pancreas structure and function, and peripheral insulin signaling in an animal model of prematurity

·       Proficient in R, Python, STATA, and SPSS.

·       Responsible for animal care and operation of the Division’s one-of-a-kind translational animal model of prematurity.

2. High Risk Dietitians with Neonatal Expertise

Rachel Jacob, RD – Lead Dietitian with expertise in intestinal failure

Krista Bonagurio, RD – Expertise in neonatal cardiac disease

Elizabeth Lavender, RD – Expertise in liver transplant and intestinal disease

Jessica Zokas, RD—Expertise in growth and long term follow up.

The high-risk dietitian program ensures 24/7 clinical coverage to NICU, pediatric cardiac, transplant and GI units.  The role of these highly specialized dietitian group is to not only participate in patient care but to have a significant involvement in scholarly activities such as QI projects, education and research.  Through the high-risk dietitian program, education is provided to students from UTSA dietary program, pediatric residency/fellowship programs and practitioners within San Antonio and outside San Antonio area.  QI projects are identified by the trainees and supported by the dietitian team.  A full research nutritional program led by Dr. Blanco and Dr. Moreira and each high-risk dietitian have 1-2 research projects and support many projects for trainees.  They have multiple presentations at regional and national meetings as well as publications.

3. Research Nurses/Associates

Dana Word RN– Full time research nurse dedicated to the clinical research operation

Laurie Weaver RN– Part time research nurse with focus on Vermont Oxford.  Assists with clinical research operation

Umber Darilek RN– Part time research nurse with focus on follow up studies

Sharol Mejia MS- Full time research associate with focus on follow up studies

4.  Additional Resources:

  • A clinical laboratory staffed by 24 hours/day technicians to perform blood gas, glucose, bilirubin, hematocrit, and electrolyte analyses
  • A pharmacy staffed 54 hours/week and equipped with controlled temperature refrigerator and freezer
  • A 250-square foot research laboratory
  • Dedicated equipment for performing and imaging digital radiographs
  • Dedicated maternal/neonatal metabolic unit