Research Laboratories and Programs

Many Department of Pediatrics faculty members have their own laboratories and programs, where they work to generate new knowledge through research.

Faculty pursue a wide range of research interests, such as childhood cancer, stem cell therapies, global health, transplantation, type 1 diabetes, kidney disease, social and behavioral health, newborn care, and childhood health conditions that lead to chronic diseases in adults.

To explore their research interests, visit our faculty bio pages or the individual labs and programs pages below. 

Hematology, Oncology and BMT

Blazar Laboratory

Blazar Laboratory

Blazar Lab

Immunobiology and transplantation are the main research interest in the Blazar Laboratory. Project areas include:

  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Regulatory T Cells
  • Immune recovery and regeneration post-transplant
  • Graft-versus-leukemia
  • Genetic manipulations and reprogramming of immature and mature cells

Learn more about the Blazar Laboratory

Largaespada Laboratory

Largaespada Laboratory

The Largaespada lab works to exploit mutagenesis for cancer gene discovery. Some key methods used include:

  • Sleeping Beauty
  • New Mouse Models
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1
  • Sarcoma
  • Brain Tumors

Learn more about the Largaespada Laboratory

Moriarity Laboratory

Moriarity Laboratory

Dr. Moriarity’s laboratory is working on studying the genetics of pediatric cancer, including sarcomas and brain tumors, to identify novel therapeutic targets to better treat pediatric cancer patients.

  • Genome Engineering
  • Gene Therapy
  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Pediatric Cancer Genetics
  • Technology Development

Learn more about the Moriarity Laboratory

Panoskaltsis - Mortari Laboratory

Panoskaltsis - Mortari Laboratory

The Panoskaltsis-Mortari laboratory is centered on the field of regenerative medicine. We study tissue engineering from stem cells using two approaches:

  1. Decellularized whole organ scaffolds integrated with sophisticated bioreactors
  2. 3D Bioprinting using extrusion, suspension, and laser-assisted techniques

Learn more about the Panoskaltsis-Mortari Laboratory 

 

Tolar Laboratory

Tolar Laboratory

The Tolar Laboratory focuses on finding new ways of treating children with lethal diseases. Additional research areas include: 

  • Reducing the negative effects of stem cell transplantation
  • Creation and use of induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Gene therapy using gene addition 
  • Gene editing 

Learn more about the Tolar Laboratory

Pediatric Developmental Neurobehavioral Science Research Group

Georgieff Laboratory in Developmental Nutritional Neuroscience

Georgieff Laboratory in Developmental Nutritional Neuroscience

The Georgieff Laboratory in Developmental Nutritional Neuroscience focuses on neonatal iron nutrition & metabolism and the developing brain, and specifically the hippocampus, which underlies recognition memory processing. We now understand through the work of our laboratory that adult mental health has its beginnings in the perinatal period and that failure to provide the optimal environment in that period can have life-long consequences. Thus, the real cost to society of early life adversity, including nutrient deficits, is the lost educational and job potential because of failure to “construct” the brain during its critical periods of development. 

Learn more about the Georgieff Laboratory in Development Nutritional Neuroscience

Tran Laboratory

Tran Laboratory

The Tran Lab investigates the effects of early-life iron deficiency on the regulation of neural gene expression. Additional research interest include:

  • Learning and memory
  • Neonatal ischemic stroke
  • Molecular biology of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor regulator

Learn more about the Tran Laboratory

Other Programs

Bierle Laboratory

Bierle Laboratory

Infection is the leading preventable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes and neurologic disability in children. The Bierle Lab studies host-virus interactions at the maternal-fetal interface and aims to understand how viral infections are transmitted from mother to child and contribute to the development of new vaccines and therapeutics that will improve pregnancy outcomes and children’s health. 

Learn more about the Bierle Laboratory

Cusick Laboratory for Global Nutrition Research

Cusick Laboratory for Global Nutrition Research

Dr. Sarah Cusick’s research aims to elucidate micronutrient and infectious disease interactions, with an ultimate goal of optimizing the health and neurobehavioral development of children living in resource-poor settings.

Learn more about the Cusick Laboratory for Global Nutrition Research

Healthy Environments for Vulnerable Youth Program

Healthy Environments for Vulnerable Youth Program

Our team conducts both qualitative and quantitative research on a wide variety of social factors and how they are associated with the well-being of adolescents and young adults, with particular attention to vulnerable groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth, those with disabilities, and those who are overweight. Social factors include characteristics of the family and peer group (e.g. bullying experience); school resources, climate, and characteristics (e.g. presence of a gender/sexuality student organization); and features of the neighborhood or community (e.g. political climate, public policy). We capitalize on existing youth surveillance data to create multilevel quantitative datasets for hierarchical analysis. Qualitative methods with youth, parents, and professionals include interviews, focus groups, and other novel techniques. 

Learn more about the Healthy Environments for Vulnerable Youth Program

Islet Autotransplant Research Program

Islet Autotransplant Research Program

Dr. Melena Bellin’s research is focused on understanding and improving outcomes after islet transplantation.  Islet transplant is a specialized procedure in which islets are harvested from the pancreas and infused back in the liver.  This procedure can be performed for patients who are having a pancreatectomy to treat chronic pancreatitis (total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant) or for patients who have type 1 diabetes (alloislet transplant).

Learn more about the Islet Autotransplant Research Program

Neonatal Jaundice Research Program

Neonatal Jaundice Research Program

Dr. Katie 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.

Learn more about the Neonatal Jaundice Research Program

Pediatric Centers

Center for Neurobehavioral Development

The Center for Neurobehavioral Development is a research center that houses over thirty studies about children's cognitive and neurobehavioral functioning. Our research projects are supported by major granting agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about the Center for Neurobehavioral Development

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Center

The University of Minnesota is an internationally respected pioneer in the area of blood and marrow transplantation (BMT). The first successful human allogeneic bone marrow transplant was performed at the University of Minnesota in 1968. Other “firsts” include the first transplant to treat a patient with lymphoma (1975), the first transplant to treat an inherited metabolic disease (1982), and the world’s first umbilical cord blood transplant performed using pre-implantation genetic testing to ensure a perfect tissue match (2000). Our clinical program is recognized as the second largest unrelated donor transplant programs in the country, and one of the largest umbilical cord blood transplant centers worldwide.

Learn more about the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Center

Want your lab added?

Email Emily Kukacka at kukac003@umn.edu to get more information on how to get your research lab or program showcased.