Skip to main content

Children's Research Institute at Children's Mercy

The Children’s Research Institute is creating an integrated research environment where no boundaries exist between science and medicine. In our quest to find answers to pediatric medicine’s most challenging questions, we are collaborating with physicians, scientists, academic colleagues, philanthropic partners and others within our community, and around the world.

To accomplish our goals, we’re performing the highest quality research using the latest medical technologies. The hospital’s leadership in pediatric genomic medicine and clinical pharmacology is driving research and innovation in nephrology, heart care, cancer treatment and other subspecialties to provide answers for the most difficult cases and challenging pediatric conditions.

Integral to our efforts is our focus on applied informatics, the use of cutting-edge computational capabilities. Informatics helps us provide answers to children and their families by accelerating the process of research, improving the quality of research, making it possible to share data with other researchers, and even making new methods of research available.

We are building a dedicated, state-of-the-art biorepository, or “bank” where patient samples can be preserved for future research. The biorepository could potentially advance diagnostic discovery and clinical care for diseases where the greatest need exists, such as pediatric cancer.

Our dedicated teams work with internal and external customers to facilitate communication efforts in order to support the needs of those committed to improving the health and well-being of children through research.

We have provided institutional information often required during proposal or contract development.

The Children’s Research Institute is committed to the highest standards of conducting safe and ethical research. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) helps the institute uphold this commitment to our research participants.

The Children’s Research Institute is a world-class facility where many of the best and brightest researchers are looking for answers to pediatric medicine’s most challenging questions. Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer, has gathered a team of internationally recognized scientists and researchers whose sole focus is to serve the needs of children, and their important work is underway.

A bright future for pediatric research


The Children’s Research Institute will consist of a nine-story structure making up approximately 375,000 square feet, including more than 3,000 linear feet of bench space for research and 140,000 square feet of shell space for future growth. Construction began in winter 2018.

Two iconic Kansas City families — the Hall Family Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation — joined together to donate $150 million to kickstart the construction of the future home of the Children’s Research Institute and accelerate the recruitment of top researchers from around the globe. This is the largest one-time gift ever made to a children’s hospital for pediatric research.

When Kansas City residents and visitors pass by the Children’s Research Institute, they will notice several of the windows are a different color from the rest. Those windows represent the genetic anomalies found in the DNA of children with specific rare diseases — just some of the difficult cases and questions the researchers inside the building are trying to solve.

Children's Mercy Research Institute
A rendering of the future Children's Research Institute

Milestones in pediatric research at Children's Mercy

  • The University of Kansas Cancer Center announced in August 2017, that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed its national cancer center designation for five years and that Children’s Mercy has been formally approved as a cancer center consortium partner. The KU Cancer Center remains one of only 69 nationally designated centers by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • As one of the two clinical coordinating centers for the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children study (CKiD), Children's Mercy has been advancing kidney care through the leadership of this study for more than 14 years. CKiD is the largest study of its kind ever conducted in North America, with 49 pediatric centers currently participating in the project and more than 900 children enrolled to date. The NIH-funded CKiD study has generated nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications with a truly translational impact on care.

  • When the Food and Drug Administration announced it first U.S.-approved cancer gene therapy in August 2017, Children’s Mercy was recognized as one of the first sites to get involved with the multisite clinical trial. The new CAR-T therapy is for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that is resistant to treatment or has relapsed.

  • The University of Kansas Cancer Center announced in August 2017, that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed its national cancer center designation for five years and that Children’s Mercy had been formally approved as a cancer center consortium partner. KU Cancer Center and Children’s Mercy initially joined forces in 2015 to identify collaborative ways to explore medical innovations and increase pediatric research efforts that would benefit children with cancer.

  • CHAMP is a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team that has been built to meet the needs of some of our most complex patients: babies who are born with single ventricle heart disease and are in the critical inter-stage period between the first and second stages of surgery. In February 2017, Children's Mercy received a Health Innovation Award from Microsoft for this life-saving technology developed at our Ward Family Heart Center. The NIH recently awarded a five-year grant worth nearly $3.5 million to Children’s Mercy, making it one of four Specialized Centers for Research in Pediatric Developmental Pharmacology. The grant will support continued development of GOLDILOKs, a research program designed to ensure that children receive the precise dose of medicine they need, when they need it.

  • The Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children’s Mercy — the first genome center of its kind in a children’s hospital — made national headlines in 2012 (and many times since) by sequencing the DNA of critically ill babies in just 50 hours, drastically reducing the time it takes to solve these medical mysteries.

  • Working with the World Health Organization, Children’s Mercy researchers introduced the world to Mercy Tape in 2013, creating a remarkably accurate way to estimate kids’ weights when scales aren’t available or plausible.