Neonatal Jaundice Research Program


Laboratory Focus

Dr. Satrom's research seeks to optimize the management of neonatal jaundice in two distinctly vulnerable patient populations – preterm infants and infants born in low resource settings globally.

Extremely preterm infants almost universally develop jaundice (high bilirubin levels), but there is a lack of evidence to guide the use of phototherapy in this population. There is also growing evidence that low amounts of bilirubin may be protective as an antioxidant and that phototherapy may cause harm through oxidative stress and DNA damage. Dr. Satrom's research uses an animal model (Gunn rat) of neonatal jaundice to study the effects of bilirubin, phototherapy, and superimposed oxidative stress on the developing preterm brain. She is also collaborating with Dr. Troy Lund on a clinical study of jaundice in preterm infants, evaluating peripheral biomarkers of bilirubin and phototherapy effects using the metabolomic analysis of plasma.

Her other research interest is in global neonatal health, especially how to optimize the treatment of neonatal jaundice for infants in low-middle income countries. For this research, she collaborates with Dr. Tina Slusher on projects that aim to develop low cost and sustainable programs and equipment that improve phototherapy in low resource settings, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa.

 Laboratory Members

  • Research Mentor: Raghu Rao, MD - Division of Neonatology 
  • Global Health Mentor and Collaborator: Tina Slusher, MD - Division of Global Pediatrics
  • Collaborator: Troy Lund, MD - Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • Scientist: Kathleen Ennis - Department of Pediatrics

Current Studies

The Neuroprotective Role of Low-dose Bilirubin on the Developing Preterm Rat Brain (Basic Science)

Biomarkers of Bilirubin Neurotoxicity (Clinical Trial)

Smart-Phone Phototherapy Irradiance Meter for Neonatal Jaundice (Thrasher Early Career Award with Nigeria collaboration)


Dr. Satrom is happy to have students, residents, and fellows help with any aspect of research – from bench work to chart review to clinical studies. If you are interested in learning more about potential research opportunities you can contact Dr. Satrom at


Satrom KM, Ennis K, Sweis BM, Matveeva TM, Chen J, Hanson L, Maheshwari A, Rao R. Neonatal hyperglycemia induces CXCL10/CXCR3 signaling and microglial activation and impairs long-term synaptogenesis in the hippocampus and alters behavior in rats. J Neuroinflammation. 2018 Mar 15;15(1):82. doi: 10.1186/s12974-018-1121-9. PubMed PMID: 29544513; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5856387. 

Satrom K, Satrom J, Slusher T. Effectiveness of phototherapy units in Cameroon. J Trop Pediatr. 2014 Jun;60(3):264-6. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmt110. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PubMed PMID: 24415750.

Borden AR, Satrom KM, Wratkowski P, George TN, Adkisson CA, Vreman HJ, Johnson AP, Nichols KJ, Slusher TM. Variation in the Phototherapy Practices and Irradiance of Devices in a Major Metropolitan Area. Neonatology. 2018;113(3):269-274. doi: 10.1159/000485369. Epub 2018 Jan 31. PubMed PMID: 29393277; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5860931.

Laboratory Location

516 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

Photo of Katie Satrom (MD) of the Division of Neonatology

Katie Satrom, MD
Assistant Professor
Division of Neonatology
Department of Pediatrics