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Pediatrics

Research Summary

Levine Children's Hospital, opened in 2007, combines medical expertise with a new state-of-the-art facility aimed at meeting the physical and emotional needs of children and their families. The Departments of Pediatrics and Pediatric Research at Levine Children's Hospital/Carolinas Medical Center offer clinical studies to children and adolescents through various sub-specialty physicians. Currently, the majority of our clinical research is concentrated in the divisions of Infectious Disease, Endocrinology, Nephrology and Neurodevelopment.


Faculty Research Interests

Amina Ahmed, MD
Infectious Disease

Dr. Ahmed has served on the faculty at Carolinas Medical Center since 1998. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her residency there upon graduation. In 1997, Dr. Ahmed completed her Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Since joining the staff at Carolinas Medical Center, Dr. Ahmed has become a prominent researcher in childhood infectious diseases and illnesses. Her research projects include a focus on Cytomegalovirus (CMV), neonatal herpes infections, and various vaccine trials. In 2002, Dr. Ahmed was awarded a single-site contract to conduct a Phase II study of Escherichia coli 0157 vaccine in 2-5 year-old children by the National Institutes of Health. Other vaccine studies completed by Dr. Ahmed include a Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine in adolescents and multiple vaccine trials to decrease the incidence and severity of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in premature newborns. Dr. Ahmed's current research is focused on screening all newborns for asymptomatic congenital CMV and its relation to hearing loss. By showing the impact CMV has on newborn hearing loss, Dr. Ahmed and other physicians involved in the study are hoping to add CMV-screening to the number of diseases and illnesses all newborns are currently tested for at birth.

Recent Publications

Ahmed A, Li J, Shiloach Y, Robbins JB, Szu SC. Safety and immunogenicity of Escherichia coli O157 O-specific polysaccharide conjugate vaccine in 2-5-year-old children. J Infect Dis 2006; 193: 515-521.[PMID: 16425130]

Stout JE, Saharia KK, Nageswaran S, Ahmed A, Hamilton CD. Racial and ethnic disparities in pediatric tuberculosis in North Carolina. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2006; 160: 631-637.[PMID: 16754826]

Sanchez PJ, Ahmed A. Toxoplasmosis, Syphilis, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn, 8th Edition. Taeusch, H.S., Ballard, R.A., Gleason, C.A. eds. Philadelphia, PA. 2004

Current, Recent and Pending Grant Support

Grant Title: The Natural History of CMV-Related Hearing Loss and the Feasibility of CMV Screening as Adjunct to Hearing Screening in Newborns
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDCD
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2005-2011

Grant Title: Safety and Efficacy of Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (Human) (VariZIGTM) in Patients At-Risk of Varicella Infection
Funding Agency: Cangene Corporation
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2006-2010

Grant Title: A Placebo-Controlled Phase III Evaluation of Suppressive Therapy with Oral Acyclovir Suspension Following Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections Involving the Central Nervous System.
Funding Agency: NIH/DMID
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 1999-2008

Grant Title: A Placebo-Controlled Phase III Evaluation of Suppressive Therapy with Oral Acyclovir Suspension Following Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections Limited to the Skin, Eye and Mouth.
Funding Agency: NIH/DMID
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 1999-2008

Grant Title: A Pivotal Phase III Study of MEDI-524, an Enhanced Potency Humanized Respiratory Syncytial Virus Monoclonal Antibody, for the Prophylaxis of Serious RSV Disease in High-Risk Children.
Funding Agency: MedImmune, Inc.
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2004-2007

Grant Title: A Phase II Study of Escherichia coli 0157 O-Specific Polysaccharide-Pseudomonas aeruginosa Recombinant Exoprotein A Conjugate Vaccine in 2-5 Year Old Children.
Funding Agency: NIH
Role: Principal Investigator
Years: 2002-2004

Grant Title: A Phase III Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blinded Investigation of Six Weeks vs. Six Months of Oral Valganciclovir Therapy in Infants with Symptomatic Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection.
Funding Agency: NIH/DMID
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Pending

Grant Title: A Study of the Effectiveness and Tolerability of Weekly Rifapentine/Isoniazid for Three Months Versus Daily Isoniazid for Nine Months for the Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection.
Funding Agency: CDC
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Pending


Mark W. Parker, MD
Pediatric Endocrinology

Dr. Parker's practice, Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Specialists, part of the Carolinas Physicians Network (CPN), has recently become involved in clinical research through Carolinas Medical Center. Dr. Parker received his Medical Degree from The Ohio State University and completed his residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. His Endocrinology Fellowship was completed at the University of Virginia and he has been affiliated with Carolinas Medical Center since 1998. Dr. Parker's current research is concentrated on the prevention and treatment of Type I Diabetes in children and adolescents. Becoming a member of TrialNet, a collaborative group of researchers focused on Type I Diabetes, has given Dr. Parker the opportunity to pool his research data and results with other physicians across the country, in an effort to examine genetic markers and causes of Type I Diabetes.

Current, Recent and Pending Grant Support

Grant Title: Natural History Study of the Development of Type I Diabetes
Funding Agency: NIDDK, NIAID, NICHHD, NCRR, JRDFI, and ADA
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2006-2012

Grant Title: Oral Insulin for Prevention of Diabetes in Relatives at Risk for Type I Diabetes Mellitus
Funding Agency: NIDDK, NIAID, NICHHD, NCRR, JRDFI, and ADA
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2008-2012


Susan Foster Massengill, MD
Director, Division of Pediatric Nephrology

Dr. Massengill completed her medical degree and pediatric residency at East Carolina University.She then completed a Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship at the University of Florida in 1993. Dr. Massengill joined the staff at Carolinas Medical Center in 1997 and is currently the Division Director for Pediatric Nephrology. Dr. Massengill's research interests include Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), hypertension, and other nephrotic diseases. She is involved with several various collaborative networks aimed at identifying markers and causes for renal disease and the implications of CKD on a child's ability to learn.

Recent Publications

Gipson DS, Chin H, Presler TP, Jennette C, Ferris ME, Massengill S, Gibson K, Thomas DB. Differential risk of remission and ESRD in childhood FSGS. Pediatr Nephrol 2006; 21: 344-349.[PMID: 16395603]

Current, Recent and Pending Grant Support

Grant Title: Incidence and Risk Factors for the Development of BK Virus in the Renal Transplant Population
Funding Agency: Children's Miracle Network
Role: Principal Investigator
Years: 2007-2010

Grant Title: Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD)
Funding Agency: NIH
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2006-2012

Grant Title: Statewide Assessment of Educational Achievement: CKD vs. Population
Funding Agency: Renal Research Institute
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2006-2010

Grant Title: Multicenter Registry of Patients with ANCA-vasculitis
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2005-2010

Grant Title: Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis Trial
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDDK
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2004-2009

Grant Title: Identification of Causes and Markers of Renal Diseases
Funding Agency: NIH
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2001-2011

Grant Title: A Multicenter, Double-blind, Randomized Study Evaluation De Novo Weekly and Once Every 2 Week Darbepoetin alfa Dosing for the Correction of Anemia in Pediatric Subjects With Chronic Kidney Disease Receiving and Not Receiving Dialysis
Funding Agency: Amgen, Inc.
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Pending


Philip Sanford Zeskind, PhD
Neurodevelopmental Research Director

Dr. Zeskind has served as Director of Pediatric Residency Training in Behavior and Development and as Director of the Center for Neurodevelopmental Research since 1996. He received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with specialized training that included a pre-doctoral Fellowship at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center for high-risk children and a pre-doctoral Research Internship in the Child Development Unit at Harvard Medical School. Over the past 34 years, Dr. Zeskind's research has examined the causes and consequences of poor neurobehavioral development, and interventions designed to prevent poor developmental outcomes. Much of his research has focused on detecting the subclinical adverse effects of a wide range of common prenatal conditions such as poor maternal nutrition, and maternal cigarette smoking and cocaine use during pregnancy. Dr. Zeskind's most recent work has examined the detrimental effects of maternal use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy, as well as the effects of maternal depression and anxiety. By developing new assessment paradigms including spectrum analysis of infant cry sounds and analyses of the regulation of infant sleep patterns, Dr. Zeskind has shown how common prenatal conditions may result in neurobehavioral insult, even if the infant seems otherwise healthy by routine outcome measures. His program of research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the March of Dimes, the Duke Endowment and the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. Implications of his research findings include understanding the development of outcomes ranging from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to physical child abuse. Dr. Zeskind is an internationally recognized expert on neurobehavioral development, and its assessment, in young infants.

Recent Publications

Zeskind PS. Impact of the Cry of the Infant at Risk on Psychosocial Development. Rev ed. In: Tremblay, R.E., Barr, R.G., Peters, R.DeV., eds. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development; 2007: 1-7.

Lehr VT, Zeskind PS, Ofenstein JP, Cepeda E, Warrier I, Aranda JV. Neonatal facial coding system scores and spectral characteristics of infant crying during newborn circumcision. Clin J Pain 2007; 23: 417-424.[PMID: 17515740]

Lehr VT, Zeskind PS, Ofenstein J, Aranda J. Neonatal facial coding scale scores and spectral characteristics of infant crying during newborn circumcision. Pain Research Management 2006; 11: 36B.

Zeskind PS, Gingras JL. Maternal cigarette-smoking during pregnancy disrupts rhythms in fetal heart rate. J Pediatr Psychol 2006; 31: 5-14.[PMID: 15905420]

Zeskind PS, Stephens LE. Maternal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use during pregnancy and newborn neurobehavior. Pediatrics 2004;113: 368-375.[PMID: 14754951]

Current, Recent and Pending Grant Support

Grant Title: Neurobiological and Behavioral Consequences of Cocaine Use in Mother/infant dyads
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDA
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2008-2012

Grant Title: Fetal and Newborn Behavior Following Prenatal Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Exposure
Funding Agency: CIHR
Role: Co-Investigator
Years: 2008-2010

Grant Title: Preventing Psychosocial and Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Preterm Birth
Funding Agency: MOD
Role: Principal Investigator
Years: 2005-2008

Grant Title: Healthy Steps: North Carolina Residency Initiative
Funding Agency: Duke Endowment
Role: Principal Investigator
Years: 2005-2007

Grant Title: Maternal Substance Use, Caregiving, & Toddler Self-Regulation
Funding Agency: NIH
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Years: 2001-2006

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