Pediatric Research


The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, along with its clinical partners, is vested in one children’s academic health campus that allows the seamless integration of teaching, research and health delivery to improve the lives of all children.

Comprising our Children’s Academic Health Campus are the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics, and PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital. The Child Health Institute of New Jersey, part of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, holds the promise of research discoveries in childhood diseases including immunity, autoimmunity and inflammation, autism and neurodevelopment, pediatric cancers and stem cells, and obesity, metabolism and genetics. The medical school’s Department of Pediatrics is housed alongside the institute, allowing for an integrated team of physicians and scientists focused on translational research to work toward improving pediatric health. The collaborative environment is enhanced with the adjacent PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital, the most comprehensive pediatric rehabilitative hospital in the state, and New Jersey’s preeminent provider for children with special needs. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital completes the Children’s Academic Health Campus, providing acute care to our youngest patients.

The Child Health Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Lisa Denzin, PhD
The Denzin laboratory is studying the interplay between two molecules, HLA-DM and HLA-DO, and their roles in immune responses. The powerful and destructive nature of an immune response must be regulated in a way such that healthy cells are not destroyed during the process of fighting off disease. When the immune system is not correctly regulated, autoimmune disease, such as Type I diabetes, can occur. The modulation of antigen presentation by DM and DO clearly present a method of controlling the immune response and preventing autoimmune disease.

Zhiping Pang, PhD
Dr. Pang’s laboratory studies the neural basis of the regulation of feeding, satiety, metabolism and obesity. His studies may provide insights into the neural causes and consequences of childhood obesity. He has also developed novel techniques for deriving neuronal cells from primary skin cells providing novel opportunities to study the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, including pediatric developmental disorders and autism.

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Richard A. Drachtman, MD
Richard A. Drachtman, MD, is professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and resident member and interim chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Drachtman specializes in pediatric cancers, sickle cell disease, and Hodgkin’s disease. He is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest pediatric cooperative cancer research entity conducting trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), helping to design clinical trials for children affected by cancer. Dr. Drachtman also is involved with trials in Hodgkin’s disease, an affliction which is common in adolescents. He is on the NCI-Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board, reviewing NCI-sponsored pediatric clinical trials to ensure that they are conducted in a safe and scientifically sound fashion. Many of these national trials are available at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, where the team is able to translate these research findings and directly apply them to patient therapies.

Dr. Drachtman also has an interest in benign hematology and in sickle cell disease. He serves as the director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where children with sickle cell disease benefit from the expertise of an entire team dedicated to their care.

Joseph Barone, MD
Joseph Barone, MD, is surgeon-in-chief at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and director of itsPediatric Continence Center. Dr. Barone also is professor of surgery and chief of urology and pediatric urology, at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Barone overseas the clinical practice and research initiatives in pediatric urology, which involves the diagnosis and treatment of urologic problems in children from birth to early adulthood. Dr. Barone’s research, which has been published in numerous peer-review journals, focuses on urinary incontinence in children, including genetic and environmental causes, which has resulted in studies that provide evidence-based strategies to control day and night wetting. Recent findings have linked second-hand cigarette smoke with moderate to severe irritative bladder symptoms in children. Dr. Barone’s research also has indicated that breast feeding infants longer than three months may protect against bed-wetting during childhood.

The pediatric urology clinical practice offers treatment of hernia and hydrocele, vesicoureteral reflux, ureteropelvic junction obstruction, hypospadias, voiding dysfunction and infection. For children who wet, the pediatric urology program offers a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment program, one of a few such programs in the country.

Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey

Jay Tischfield, PhD, MPH
Jay Tischfield, PhD, MPH, professor of genetics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, directs the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey and is Rutgers’ Duncan and Nancy Macmillan Distinguished Professor of Genetics. He also holds appointments at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as professor of pediatrics and psychiatry.

Dr. Tischfield’s lab studies genomic stability and the genetics of complex human diseases with emphasis on the molecular genetics of mental disorders (autism, Tourette Syndrome), addiction and alcoholism. He is among the top five percent of National Institutes of Health-funded researchers for more than 35 years, with more than $250 million in total funding.

Dr. Tischfield also leads RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the world’s largest university-based biorepository, the mission of which is to understand the genetic causes of common, complex diseases and to discover diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR researchers collaborate in the public and private sectors throughout the world, providing the highest quality biobanking services and biomaterials, as well as scientific and technical support. RUCDR Infinite Biologics, which is part of the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, has served as the National Institutes of Mental Health’s primary facility for genetic analysis since 1998.

Learn more about Dr. Tischfield’s research at hginj.rutgers.edu.

Patient Stories

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    Rishi
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  • “Sickle cell disease may seem like it’s a heavy burden, but with the right medical attention and a positive attitude, it doesn’t hold me back from achieving things in my life."

    Pauline
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