Department of Pediatrics

Primary Interests


Carol J. Baker, M.D.
Dr. Baker is principal investigator of the Maternal Immunization Component of the Baylor Vaccine Trial Evaluation Unit, which is conducting epidemiologic and phase 1 studies of vaccine preventable infections in pregnant women and their very young infants (e.g., pertussis). She also directs the immunology reference laboratory for testing of serum for quantity of group B streptococcal CPS-specific IgG for a phase 3 trial to prevent GBS colonization in young women and is investigating the role of CPS-specific IgG in disease susceptibility. Finally, she supervises a number of clinical studies relating to healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial agent utilization in a children’s hospital.

Judith R. Campbell, M.D.
Dr. Campbell’s research focuses on epidemiology and prevention of neonatal infectious diseases. Specifically, her major interests are in the investigation and prevention of healthcare-associated infections and epidemics in neonatal care units. She is also interested in vaccine development, delivery and policy.

Gail J. Demmler, M.D.
Dr. Demmler conducts longitudinal studies on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, neurodevelopmental and audiologic outcomes of children born with congenital cytomegalovirus infection and disease. She also studies the clinical manifestations of viral disease in children and evaluates the clinical and diagnostic utility of a variety of rapid viral detection tests.

Morven S. Edwards, M.D.
Dr. Edwards is investigating host factors predisposing infants or adults to developing invasive group B streptococcal infection, particularly those caused by nontypable strains of GBS that have contributed increasingly to disease burden in recent years. She also is an investigator, involved in serological analysis, in an investigation designed as a surrogate efficacy trial to determine whether immunization with a candidate type III GBS polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine will prevent acquisition of rectovaginal colonization with GBS.

C. Mary Healy, M.D.
Dr. Healy is interested in investigating maternal immunization as a possible preventive strategy. Dr. Healy is also auditing the impact of fluconazole prophylaxis on invasive candidiasis in extremely low-birth-weight neonates.

Kristina Hulten, Ph.D.
Dr. Hulten’s research focuses on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. By using molecular epidemiology methods, she investigates the clonal distribution of S. aureus in relation to disease, both in the community and the hospital environmentHer studies also aim at describing genetic virulence elements that may be important in the pathogenicity of circulating community-acquired MRSA.

Sheldon L. Kaplan, M.D.
Dr. Kaplan’s research focuses on antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, community-acquired infections caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus, new antibiotics for children, and a meningococcal surveillance study among ten children’s hospitals.

Katherine Y. King, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. King's research is focused on the bone marrow response to infection and inflammation. They have found that Mycobacterium avium infection leads to proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells via an interferon-gamma-mediated process. Further insight into the effects of inflammatory cytokines on hematopoietic stem cells may lead to a better understanding of infection-related bone marrow suppression and acquired aplastic anemia syndromes.

Edward O. Mason, Jr., Ph.D.
Dr. Mason’s laboratory serves as the reference and database center for eight pediatric hospitals coordinating the epidemiology of pneumococcal infections, serotyping, and antibiotic resistance since 1993. In April 2001, the group of pediatric hospitals was expanded to include two other centers to survey meningococcal infections in children. Recent studies include the surveillance of community-acquired S. aureus infections in children and the molecular basis of virulence of these bacteria. The laboratory is also investigating the antibacterial properties of newly developed antimicrobial compounds.

Flor D. Muñoz, M.D.
Dr. Muñoz’s research is aimed at understanding the epidemiology and prevention of respiratory pathogens such as influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, and B. pertussis in infants and children. She is evaluating new vaccines and antiviral drugs for infants, children and adolescents, including vaccines that could be used for maternal immunization for the protection of infants.

Debra L. Palazzi, M.D.
Dr. Palazzi is a member of the International Pediatric Fungal Network and is participating in a multi-center study evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetics of micafungin in children and adolescents with invasive candidiasis. Dr. Palazzi has developed a web-based tutorial for infectious disease fellows focusing on the topic of Prevention of Infectious Diseases. She is evaluating how usage of this tutorial affects the fellows’ performance on their in-training examination.

Pedro A. Piedra, M.D.
Dr. Piedra's major research efforts are aimed to reduce respiratory virus illness burden in infants, children, and the community through successful vaccination programs. His research has focused on influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus viruses and human metapneumovirus. He has been involved in phase I, II, III and IV clinical trials in the development of the live attenuated influenza vaccine for use in children and in a community-based/school-based influenza vaccination program to protect children and the community (herd protection) against influenza. He is also interested in understanding the pathophysiology, immunobiology, and prevention of respiratory syncytial virus disease.

Jeffrey R. Starke, M.D.
Dr. Starke is involved in on-going studies of the genetics of human response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Working with Drs. Ed Graviss and James Musser, Dr. Starke is enrolling families in an examination of specific alleles in the NRAMP and vitamin D receptor genes to determine if they affect the clinical expression of tuberculosis in children. Preliminary results show a high degree of correlation between specific mutations and development of pulmonary tuberculosis in infants and children.

Jesus G. Vallejo, M.D.
Dr. Vallejo’s research efforts are aimed at understanding the role of Toll-like receptors in cardiovascular diseases such as sepsis-induced myocardial dysfunction and viral myocarditis. In particular, he is investigating the role of TLR3 and TLR4 in the pathogenesis of viral myocarditis. He is also evaluating the role of human mutations in TLR3 and TRIF in the host’s susceptibility to viral myocarditis using genetically manipulated mice.