Department of Pediatrics

Primary Interests


Primary Faculty


Debra L. Palazzi, M.D, M.Ed.
Dr. Palazzi's research interests include antimicrobial stewardship and diagnostic stewardship.  She participates in the Sharing Reports for Pediatric Stewardship (SHARPS) Collaborative and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study on de-implementation of unnecessary surgical antibiotic prophylaxis in children.

Claire E. Bocchini, M.D.
Dr. Bocchini’s research interests include the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in immunocompromised children, including children who undergo hematopoietic stem cell and solid organ transplants.  She has also led projects assessing and addressing vaccine hesitancy, especially in families of immunocompromised children.  Finally, Dr. Bocchini conducts research aimed at ameliorating nonmedical drivers of health in families of children who are immunocompromised or have other chronic medical conditions.

Judith R. Campbell, M.D.
Dr. Campbell’s primary interests are in the epidemiology and prevention of healthcare associated infections.  Specifically, she investigates risk factors for and prevention of healthcare-associated infections in high-risk patients, such as premature neonates, immunocompromised hosts, and those with complex medical conditions.  She is especially interested in multi-disciplinary collaboration projects across several subspecialties to implement evidence-based quality improvement initiatives.

Gail J. Demmler-Harrison, M.D.
Dr. Demmler-Harrison’s research focuses on congenital and neonatal infections.  She conducts studies on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and neurodevelopmental, ocular, and audiologic outcomes of children born with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and disease, and the impact of this congenital infection on personal and family life, society, and the health care system.  She also is involved in research and development studies for rapid diagnosis of congenital and neonatal infections, and newborn screening for congenital CMV. She also participates in multicenter clinical trials evaluating antiviral treatment of congenital CMV.

Ankhi Dutta, M.D.
Dr. Dutta’s clinical research mainly focuses on fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts and fever of unknown origin.  She is passionate about medical education and faculty development initiatives which include innovations in team training, communication, and leadership.  She has received educational grants from the Center for Research, Innovation and Scholarship in Medical Education at Texas Children Hospital, to promote team training and teamwork education among health care workers.

Morven S. Edwards, M.D.
Dr. Edwards’s areas of interest and investigation include congenital Chagas disease and group B streptococcal (GBS) infections in both children and adults with the aim of furthering progress toward making vaccines to prevent invasive GBS disease a reality.

Catherine Foster, M.D.
Dr. Foster's research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of healthcare-associated infections, including central-line associated bloodstream infections and catheter associated urinary tract infections.  She has investigated the prevention of Staphylococcus aureus device related infections and has also completed individual case reports, case series, and literature reviews on a variety of pediatric infectious disease topics.  

C. Mary Healy, M.D.
Dr Healy’s primary interest is in vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly in preventing infections through maternal immunization and other strategies focusing on preventing infection in young infants and children.  She is a co-investigator on the Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) where, among others, she studies the prevention and treatment of respiratory pathogens such as COVID-19, influenza, pertussis, Mpox, tuberculosis and other pathogens.  She is also working on factors that impact vaccine hesitancy and communication around vaccines with colleagues at Texas Children’s Hospital and through a longstanding, ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas School of Public Health, she studies methods to increase vaccination rates through clinic- and system- based strategies and incorporating behavioral science theory.

Galit Holzmann-Pazgal, M.D.
Dr. Holzmann-Pazgal’s interests include patient safety, quality, and infection prevention.  She provides infection prevention and ID clinical leadership at TCH West Campus community hospital.  She has been engaged in pandemic response initiatives at the hospital and community level.  At the national level, she chairs the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society and is engaged in the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Kristina Hulten, Ph.D.
Dr. Hulten’s research focuses on gram-positive bacteria, in particular Streptococcus pneumoniae.  She is involved with projects predominantly describing serotype distributions and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of isolates obtained from pediatric patients with invasive pneumococcal disease or otitis media.  Other projects strive to understand the contemporary serotypes of colonization isolates in young children.

Sheldon L. Kaplan, M.D.
Dr. Kaplan’s research focuses on the epidemiology, treatment and prevention of community-acquired infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus.

Katherine Y. King, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. King's research is focused on investigating the effects of infection and inflammation on hematopoietic stem cell biology.  These findings will have implications for prevention and treatment of blood disorders related to inflammatory conditions, stem cell transplant outcomes, and immunity.  For more information, please see the Katherine King Lab.

Katherine P. Lemon, M.D., Ph.D.
The long-term goal of Dr. Lemon’s research is to identify bacterial strains and compounds that will lead to new ways to prevent and treat infections caused by the common nasal pathobionts Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae and to mitigate the severity of viral respiratory tract infections.  To accomplish this, the KLemon Lab identifies factors that mediate microbe-microbe and microbe-epithelial interactions in human nasal microbiota using human nasal epithelial organoids and human nasal bacterial strains.

Lucila Marquez, M.D.
Dr. Marquez is an attending physician in pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, and practices primarily at the Medical Center Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Marquez cares for children with a range of infectious diseases both in the inpatient and outpatient setting.  Additionally, she is the Associate Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention at Texas Children’s Hospital and in this role addresses issues such as catheter-associated bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and exposures to and outbreaks of infections in the hospital system.  She is passionate about medical education and teaches a variety of learners including medical students, residents and fellows at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.  She has national roles in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Education Committee and the American Academy of Pediatrics PREP Infectious Diseases Editorial Board.

Jonathon C. McNeil, M.D.
Dr. McNeil’s research seeks to understand the clinical and molecular epidemiology as well as optimal management of bacterial infections in children with a focus on gram-positive pathogens.  Specific areas of interest include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and S. anginosus group epidemiology in children, the management and outcomes of osteomyelitis and septic arthritis, bacterial head-and-neck infections, healthcare-associated infections, and Haemophilus influenzae disease.  Dr. McNeil has received research support through NIH, AHRQ and industry partnerships.  Dr. McNeil has a history of mentoring trainees at all levels including medical and allied health students, residents, and fellows.

Elizabeth A. Moulton, M.D.
Dr. Moulton's research focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of viral, fungal, and multi-drug resistant bacterial infections in transplant patients.  She specifically studies Epstein-Barr virus, adenovirus, and other respiratory pathogens.  She also participates in pediatric clinical trials of new antivirals and vaccines.  

Flor D. Muñoz-Rivas, 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.

Erin Nicholson, M.D.
Erin Nicholson, MD is a physician scientist with a primary interest in respiratory viral infections in young children.  She conducts phase I, II, and III vaccine trials as well as researching potential biomarkers and their associations with respiratory virus severity.  An additional area of interest for her is understanding why respiratory viruses cause such a broad spectrum of severity in children without risk factors.  To do this she collaborates with Dr. Pedro A. Piedra, Dr. Vasanthi Avadhanula and Dr. Gina Aloisio in their development of the respiratory organoid model.  Dr. Nicholson also collaborates with several Baylor College of Medicine entities including the NIH Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit and she also leads the clinical and translational research hub for the Pandemic Threat Technology Center at BCM.

Liset Olarte, M.D., M.S.c.
Dr. Olarte’s research focuses on the impact of pneumococcal vaccines in invasive disease in children. Recent projects have sought to understand the prevalence of pneumococcal colonization in different pediatric populations. She has participated in the evaluation of higher-valency pneumococcal conjugate vaccines for infants. In addition, she is committed to advance diversity and equity in healthcare. She serves in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society International Affairs Committee and in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Inclusion, Diversity, Access & Equity Task Force. 

Ryan H. Rochat, M.D.
Dr. Rochat is a pediatric infectious disease physician with an interest in informatics and long-term outcomes in congenital infections.  He conducts studies on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and neurodevelopmental outcomes of children born with congenital syphilis.  He is also involved in a multicenter clinical trial directed towards rapid diagnosis of congenital syphilis.  He currently runs a congenital syphilis clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital which seeks to normalize the evaluation and management of children with congenital syphilis and provide excellence in patient care, but also provide a useful resource to providers, the community, and local health departments.

Daniel Ruderfer, M.D.
Dr. Ruderfer’s general research interest is on viral infections in immunocompromised hosts.  His primary research efforts are aimed at understanding the clinical impact and risk factors for developing BK Virus infection in bone marrow and solid organ transplant recipients.  He is also involved in vaccine research looking at the effectiveness of immunizations on solid organ transplant recipients.

Jeffrey R. Starke, M.D.
Dr. Starke's main clinical interests are in childhood tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections.  Recent studies have centered on the epidemiology, clinical presentations, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of tuberculosis in the United States.  He is heavily involved with guideline writing groups for the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Thoracic Society, Infectious Disease Society of America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization with special attention to the pediatric portions of these guidelines.

Margaret G. Taylor, M.D.
Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on antimicrobial stewardship, penicillin allergies, and quality improvement.  She is developing an outpatient antimicrobial stewardship program for the Texas Children’s Health Plan and has helped establish a collaborative penicillin allergy de-labeling program at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Kristen Valencia Deray, M.D.
Dr. Valencia Deray's research interest is to contribute to evidence-based data on infectious diseases in solid organ transplant recipients to maximize their health outcomes.  Specifically, her research focuses on epidemiology and long-term outcomes of viral infections in pediatric solid organ transplant recipients.

Jesus G. Vallejo, M.D.
Dr. Vallejo’s clinical and academic interests include general pediatric infectious diseases, health care disparities and medical education.  He has a research interest in sepsis, viral myocarditis, and device-related infections.  He has been actively involved in Undergraduate Medical Education across Baylor and nationally.  Dr. Vallejo serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Admissions in the School of Medicine.

Joint Faculty

Andrea T. Cruz, M.D.
Dr. Cruz's research interests include clinical prediction rules, risk stratification of the febrile neonate, sepsis management, and childhood tuberculosis.  Her current areas of focus are shared decision-making in the management of the febrile young infant, outcomes in childhood pneumonia, and differentiation between viral and bacterial pathogens using bioassays in conjunction with clinical findings to identify children at very low risk for bacterial infections in whom antibiotics are unlikely to be beneficial.

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 vaccine development and therapeutics against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus and other respiratory viruses.  With the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic his laboratory has expanded to study SARS-CoV-2 biology including the molecular epidemiology, immunity, and disease pathogenesis.  Recently his laboratory has developed a novel human nose organoid (HNO) platform that recapitulates the complexity of the respiratory epithelium.  The adult and pediatric human nose organoid derived air-liquid interface cultures are being used to unravel the mechanisms underlying the pathobiology of respiratory viral infections, and for studying vaccines and therapeutics.

Jill E. Weatherhead, M.D., Ph.D., CTropMed
Dr. Weatherhead’s research focuses on host – parasite interactions that lead to end-organ disease.  Dr. Weatherhead’s translational research laboratory investigates the mechanisms of parasitic larval migration through the host and anti-parasite immunity.  The goal of the Weatherhead lab is to characterize parasite pathogenesis and identify targets for the development of novel diagnostic tests and preventative interventions like vaccines that are urgently needed to reduce the burden of parasitic infections in children around the world.