Research Centers of Emphasis :: The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Centers of Emphasis


The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital is organized into Centers of Emphasis that allow traditional academic boundaries to be crossed and merged. Scientific and clinical interests prevail in this model which encourages collaboration and the free flow of ideas. 

Interdisciplinary teams develop novel approaches to common and often serious diseases of childhood. Each of the Centers has a thematic focus, ranging from the most basic molecular biology to applied, patient-oriented research. 

The Center Directors are leaders in their respective fields, and the individual faculty members have been selectively recruited to help achieve the Center mission.

Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine

Faculty from the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine apply state-of-the-art quantitative
methods to basic and clinical research, in order to better inform and ultimately to improve clinical care in pediatrics. A primary goal of the Center is to provide a unique environment in which specialists from a variety of mathematical, statistical and computational areas can share their professional “home,” in order to facilitate creative collaborative research within the group. The melding of diverse quantitative and computational perspectives and technologies together in one Center of Emphasis is designed to provide a springboard for uniquely collaborative work across the quantitative disciplines for the
purposes of developing innovative methodological tools for addressing biological questions.

Biobehavioral Health

The mission of the Center for Biobehavioral Health is to improve the health and healthcare of children, adolescents and their families through behavioral research on vulnerable individuals and populations, using a multidisciplinary and biopsychosocial approach. The Center focuses its research on the identification of biological, psychological, and social factors associated with developmental risk and resiliency in children and families, and the development of innovative interventions that will promote the health and quality of life of children and their families.

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research

In collaboration with faculty and staff from The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, investigators in the Center for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research conduct innovative, mechanism-based research leading to improved therapies and outcomes for pediatric cardiovascular diseases. Center faculty study cardiovascular development and the causes of heart disease as well as investigate strategies to improve clinical outcomes and reduce cardiovascular disease in adults by altering risk factors during childhood.
These pursuits are designed to provide the needed insight to conduct translational research – the development of novel approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiac and vascular disease.

Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases

Working collaboratively with the Division of Hematology/Oncology & BMT, the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases is increasing scientific and medical understanding of pediatric cancers. The Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases has a mission to expand the understanding of the pathogenesis of childhood cancer and to improve strategies for diagnosis and treatment. Areas of focus include: the biology and therapy of rhabdomyosarcoma and other childhood tumors; chemotherapy for childhood solid tumors; regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing; regulation and function of tumor suppressor genes; and oncolytic viral therapy in pediatric brain tumors

As part of the Center, the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP) is a comprehensive program to systematically evaluate new agents against childhood solid tumor and leukemia models, ultimately contributing to the goal of identifying more effective treatments for children with cancer.

Clinical and Translational Research

The mission of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research is to answer questions that will improve the early diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of society’s most prevalent pediatric diseases by combining high quality, fact-based lab discoveries and innovative patient-based research.

Gene Therapy

Scientists from the Center for Gene Therapy investigate and employ the use of gene and cell-based therapeutics for prevention and treatment of neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases, lysosomal storage disorders, ischemia and re-perfusion injury, neonatal hypertension, cancer and infectious diseases.

Injury Research and Policy

The Center for Injury Research and Policy works at the local to international levels to reduce death and disability due to injuries through research, education, advocacy, and advances in clinical care.  The Center aims to improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, prevention, acute treatment, rehabilitation, and biomechanics of injuries. It provides leadership in the development, implementation, and scientific evaluation of public policy regarding control of injuries.

Innovation in Pediatric Practice

The mission of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice is to improve the health of children and their families through research on novel methods for delivering health services in the community. These methods include new computer and information technologies as well as new statistical and communication techniques.  Investigators at the Center develop and test new health service delivery systems in partnership with pediatricians and Nationwide Children’s Hospital to improve care especially for those patients most at risk.

Microbial Pathogenesis  

The emphasis of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis is to develop a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which microorganisms cause infectious diseases, as well as how the host responds to these disease states.

Faculty within the Center focus on identifying virulence mechanisms and defining host response patterns, with the overall objective of elucidating a detailed description of the structure, function and control of biological systems in health and disease, utilizing molecular and cellular, as well as genomic and proteomic, approaches.

Molecular and Human Genetics

Faculty from the Center for Molecular and Human Genetics investigate normal developmental processes and the pathogenesis of complex disorders such as congenital heart disease, autism, atherosclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, as well as nephrotic and gastrointestinal disease. Employing the newest technologies in the post-genome era, Center faculty collaborate with clinicians from divisions such as Molecular and Human Genetics; Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; and Nephrology.

Perinatal Research

In collaboration with one of the largest networks of clinical neonatal care in the United States, the Center for Perinatal Research is poised to make significant improvements in the prevention of prematurity and reduction of complications associated with premature birth.

Faculty from the Center and the Section of Neonatal Medicine focus on innovative research toward the prevention of premature birth using animal models of prematurity and development of biomarkers that identify gestations at risk, as well as the prevention or reduction of complications of prematurity, especially bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and pulmonary hypertension. 

Vaccines and Immunity

The Center for Vaccines and Immunity is focused on improving the health of children through fundamental and applied research leading to a new generation of safe, protective vaccines against infection, cancer and allergy.

Faculty members from the Center seek to understand how viruses cause disease and the role of the immune system in controlling infections. Some of the viruses studied, such as hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus, cause life-long infections with potentially catastrophic consequences. Center investigators are studying how these and other viruses evade the immune system so that intervention by vaccination might one day be possible.

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