A variety of pediatric focused research centers and programs make up the research core of the department. Research (basic, clinical, and applied) is an integral part of any academic program. The department strives to provide a nurturing research environment through development and refinement of a supportive research infrastructure.
The Center for Applied Research and Evaluation, a multidisciplinary group, is conducting studies in the areas of health services research, infant health and development, and behavior of the brain.
The Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention is engaged in research on the causes and impact of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects, congenital cardiac anomalies, the role of folic acid and risk factors for Down syndrome.
Almost 75% of all currently marketed prescription drugs have never received approval for use in children from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Pediatrics Pharmacology Research Unit focuses on expanded pediatric labeling for drugs that are under investigation or have been recently marketed. Also, Pediatrics’ faculty is involved in bringing new drugs to market through participation in clinical trials.
Researchers in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine sections are developing new methods for mechanical ventilation, new techniques for assessing lung function in infants, and are studying the underlying defects responsible for sleep apnea. Another scientist in Critical Care Medicine is probing the impact of pain and analgesia on clinical and neurobehavioral outcomes in neonates with a group of investigators in the Allergy division focuses its work on the immunologic mechanisms of peanut allergy. Still other faculty center their work on chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes.
Investigators in Infectious Diseases are examining the factors which affect chlamydial infection as well as studying new antiviral drugs. At the molecular level, investigators are researching factors responsible for the growth of fat cells which may hold the key to treatment for obesity. Others are probing the field of bone biology and growth.
Faculty associated with the Delta Nutrition Project are seeking to understand the nutritional problems of the Delta population and will search for effective solutions to improve the nutritional status of the people living there. Other faculty in the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation are studying outcomes of pediatric trauma and intensive care and outcomes for adolescents receiving treatment for mental health problems.