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Neonatology Donald W. Thibeault Neonatal Lung and Immunology Research Laboratory

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Donald W. Thibeault, MD, after whom our lab was named, was passionate about research and a true translational researcher. Dr. Thibeault spent hours and hours at the microscope and reading literature, while always keeping in mind the infants he was caring for in the nursery. 

Venkatesh Sampath, MD, is a physician-scientist and Medical Director of the Children’s Mercy Donald W. Thibeault lab, and is passionate about understanding the why and how behind babies developing severe lung and intestinal disease. Using a team science approach the laboratory members study various aspects of neonatal lung disease and bowel disease. The team also uses complementary approaches involving transgenic mice, cell-culture experiments and human genetics to identify the mechanisms regulating development of these diseases. The hope is that the research conducted within the Donald W. Thibeault laboratory will provide novel insights into bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) pathogenesis in neonates that will translate to better answers for disease diagnosis and treatment. 

Current Projects

  1. Regulation of lung endothelial inflammation in the developing lung 
  2. Mechanisms underlying impaired vascular development in BPD
  3. Role of TRIP-1 role in lung injury and repair
  4. Animal models to dissect the role of aberrant innate immune signaling in NEC
  5. Genomic susceptibility of NEC and sepsis phenotypes in newborn babies
  6. Effect of sepsis on lung TGFβ signaling and abnormal lung development

Laboratory Staff

Venkatesh Sampath, MD – Medical Director
Michael Nyp, DO – Assistant Medical Director
Sheng Xia, PhD – Research Scientist
Maria Navarro-Olmo, PhD – Associate, Research
Sherry Mabry, MS – Assistant II, Research
Heather Menden, MS – Assistant II, Research
Alain Cuna, MD – Neonatal Research Faculty
Lovya George – Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine Fellow
Nicholas Townley – Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine Fellow
Wei Yu, PhD – Research Scientist 

** In addition to these core members, we collaborate with the Center for Infant Pulmonary Disorders and investigators in the division of infectious diseases, allergy immunology and the genomic center.

Recent Publications

  1. Prospective Comparison of Enfamil and Similac Liquid Human Milk Fortifier on Clinical Outcomes in Premature Infants. Kumar N, Monga R, Sampath V, Ehrhart B. Am J Perinatol. 2017 Dec;34(14):1411-1416. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1603940. Epub 2017 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 28637062.
  2. Single-Immunoglobulin Interleukin-1-Related Receptor regulates vulnerability to TLR4-mediated necrotizing enterocolitis in a mouse model. Fawley J, Cuna A, Menden HL, McElroy S, Umar S, Welak SR, Gourlay DM, Li X, Sampath V. Pediatr Res. 2017 Oct 4. doi: 10.1038/pr.2017.211. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28846670.
  3. Neonatal Graves' Disease with Maternal Hypothyroidism. Akangire G, Cuna A, Lachica C, Fischer R, Raman S, Sampath V. AJP Rep. 2017 Jul;7(3):e181-e184. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1606365. Epub 2017 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 28948062; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5610045.
  4. Term Neonate with Atypical Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Presentation: A Case Report. Townley N, McNellis E, Sampath V. AJP Rep. 2017 Jul;7(3):e171-e173. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1605372. Epub 2017 Aug 28. PubMed PMID: 28852582; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5573554.
  5. Placental TLR/NLR expression signatures are altered with gestational age and inflammation. Kumar N, Nandula P, Menden H, Jarzembowski J, Sampath V. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017 Jul;30(13):1588-1595. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2016.1214705. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PubMed PMID: 27440318.
  6. A functional ATG16L1 (T300A) variant is associated with necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants. Sampath V, Bhandari V, Berger J, Merchant D, Zhang L, Ladd M, Menden H, Garland J, Ambalavanan N, Mulrooney N, Quasney M, Dagle J, Lavoie PM, Simpson P, Dahmer M. Pediatr Res. 2017 Apr;81(4):582-588. doi: 10.1038/pr.2016.260. Epub 2016 Nov 28. PubMed PMID: 27893720.
  7. Factors leading to rehospitalization for tracheostomized and ventilator-dependent infants through 2 years of age. Akangire G, Manimtim W, Nyp M, Townley N, Dai H, Norberg M, Taylor JB. J Perinatol. 2017 Jul;37(7):857-863. doi: 10.1038/jp.2017.54. Epub 2017 Apr 20. PubMed PMID: 28425979.
  8. Outcomes of Infants Who Failed to Extubate despite Systemic Corticosteroids. Cuna A, Lewis T, Oschman A, Dai HY, Brophy K, Norberg M, Nyp M, Truog W. Am J Perinatol. 2017 Dec;34(14):1458-1463. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1604288. Epub 2017 Jul 13. PubMed PMID: 28704843.

Funding for Research

a) NIH-NHLBI R01 (PI-VS); Inflammatory angiogenesis in the developing lung.
b) Children’s Mercy funding support to Drs. Nyp and Sampath.

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