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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

** 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. NOX2 regulates inflammation and alveolar modeling in the developing lung. Heather Menden, Sheng Xia, Sherry M Mabry, Angles Navarro, Mike Nyp, Venkatesh Sampath. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016 Jul 20. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID 27438994
  2. Placental TLR/NLR expression signatures are altered with gestational age and inflammation. Navin Kumar, Padma Nandula, Heather Menden, Jason Jarzembowski, Venkatesh Sampath. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016 Jul 20:1-21. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 27440318 
  3. Alain Cuna, Venkatesh Sampath. Genomic alterations in necrotizing enterocolitis. Semin Perinatol. 2016 Nov 8. pii: S0146-0005(16)30095-7. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 27836427
  4. Travis Sifers, Venkatesh Sampath Genetic disorders of Innate Immune system presenting in infancy (Accepted, Invited book chapter, Emerging Roles of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods in Immune Support: Immunity and Inflammation in Health and Disease Elsevier)
  5. 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 JM, Lavoie P, Simpson PM, Dahmer M. (Accepted, Peds Research).
  6. Lung epithelial specific type II TGFβ receptor interacting protein-1 (TRIP-1) over-expression attenuates hyperoxic acute lung injury in mice. Michael F. Nyp*, Sherry M. Mabry, Angels Navarro, Ricardo Perez, Venkatesh Sampath, Ikechukwu Ekekezie (under review, Peds research)

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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