Meet Our Researchers

Learn more about what we're investigating by reading about what the following researchers are studying.

Matthew Barhight, MD
Dr. Barhight is a Pediatric Critical Care physician with an interest in acute kidney injury (AKI), a common cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill children. AKI has been a research interest of his since his residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. During his Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at Children's Hospital Colorado, Dr. Barhight continued his research on AKI, and expanded his research portfolio to include fluid management in the critically ill child.

Bria Coates, MD
Dr. Coates is a physician-scientist who specializes in the intersection between pediatric critical care medicine and inflammatory responses to illness. Her research explores differences in the inflammatory response to viral respiratory infections in children and adults with the goal of understanding why young children and elderly adults bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality associated with viral respiratory infections. Her lab is currently investigating the role of innate immune responses in influenza infections. These results may contribute to the broader understanding of innate immunity and its role in critical illness.

Conrad Epting, MD 
Dr. Conrad Epting has a research background in neuronal cell differentiation, pulmonary hypertension on the basis of pulmonary vascular disease, skeletal muscle repair and regeneration, parasitic infections causing myocarditis, and a primary research focus on pediatric heart failure. His collaborative research team hopes to promote cardiac repair through manipulation of resident heart cells impacted by the epigenetics of age and heart failure. He is the director of the Cardiac Biorepository, a research biobank to stimulate collaborative science and the Fontan Futures program, a clinical initiative preserving heart tissue and stem cells from patients with critical congenital heart disease.

Sue Hong Routson, MD 
Dr. Sue Hong Routson is a pediatric critical care and neurocritical care physician at Lurie Children’s. Her research interests include non-invasive neurologic monitoring and cerebral autoregulation in neurologic injury. Currently, she is involved in Quality Improvement projects in the PICU regarding CLABSI reduction and blood culturing algorithms, and the use of transcranial ultrasonography to monitor cerebrovascular blood flow changes in neurologic injury.

Marcelo Malakooti, MD 
Twitter: @Innovatedoc
The research of Dr. Marcelo Malakooti is focused on using Innovation to improve patient outcomes and quality of care, while fostering dynamic strategies to minimize waste and optimize resources. In particular, he is interested in building innovative strategies and platforms for novel idea generation, solutions for costly system processes, and creative approaches to forwarding patient safety and quality. Dr. Malakooti is the Director of the IGNITE PICU Innovation Center, which brings together diverse experts to help solve problems affecting the healthcare of the unique PICU patient population.

Kelly Michelson, MD, MPH
Twitter: @Kelly_Michelson
In addition to her role as an attending physician in the Division of Critical Care at Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Michelson serves as the Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research focus complements her passion for both the medical humanities and pediatric intensive care; recent projects of hers include efforts to improve communication and decision making among patients, family caregivers, and professional caregivers in the pediatric intensive care unit as well as in the pediatric palliative care setting.

Erin Paquette MD, JD, MBe
Dr. Erin Paquette received her JD, MD and Masters in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania. The focus of her research represents the intersection between the disciplines of law and medicine. She studies the informed consent and assent process, an essential component of both research and medical practice, as well as communication between clinicians, patients, and families, including the use of health literacy principles to improve communication. Dr. Paquette is currently studying how enrollment in research studies varies between ethnic and socioeconomic groups.  She is also interested in ethical issues around the diagnosis of brain death and organ donation.

L. Nelson Sanchez-Pinto, MD, MBI
Dr. Sanchez-Pinto is a pediatric critical care physician and biomedical informatics specialist. His research focuses on the intersection of these two disciplines and the application of data science principles to critical care problems. A recipient of a Master’s degree in Biomedical Informatics, he is interested in the discovery and evaluation of data-driven phenotypes (or subgroups) of critical illness. He is the principal investigator of PRIMER PICU, a study that aims to integrate clinical information, physiologic trends, and multi-omics data (that is, information from the genome, microbiome, and epigenome), to discover these novel phenotypes. The discovery of these phenotypes will hopefully lead to the development of more effective targeted therapies for critically ill children.

Craig Smith, MD 
Dr. Craig Smith is a pediatric intensivist and neurointensivist who is interested in physiologic and pharmacologic strategies for neuroresuscitation. The goal of this research is to improve present treatments in order to maximize neurologic outcome after acute brain injuries such as cardiac arrest. Present studies include a retrospective evaluation of the effect of so-called “neuroprotection” (osmotic therapies, blood pressure management) after pediatric cardiac arrest. He is also interested in the clinical care of sepsis/septic shock and multiple organ failure, and the utilization of therapeutics to support metabolism and energy deficit in these disease states.

Lauren Sorce MSN, PhD(c), RN, CPNP-AC/PC, FCCM
Twitter: @LRSorce
Lauren Sorce is the Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ARPN) manager of Pediatric Critical Care, Neurocritical Care, Palliative Care and Almost Home Kids divisions. She is co-director for Clinical Research in the PICU and the Associate Director of Nursing Research for the Department of Nursing. Her areas of research include improvement of clinical outcomes for critically ill children, and nurses. Lauren has led a multicentered trial, co-investigator of numerous studies and has been site investigator for NIH-funded national studies. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation, focusing on human milk feeding and severity of critical illness.

Eric Wald, MD, MSCI ​
Dr. Wald is a Pediatric Critical Care physician who also attends in the Cardiac ICU. He has an interest in cortisol biology and the HPA axis as well as adrenal dysfunction surrounding stress states. Currently, he is investigating metabolic resuscitation and support during the treatment of septic shock in children.