Laboratories & Research Groups

Our expanding Institute is home to faculty who are subject matter experts in diverse areas of multidisciplinary research, including allergy and asthma, cardiovascular disease, neurodevelopmental disorders, obesity and diabetes, and more. Physician-scientists and scientists at MCHDI work in a multidisciplinary manner with researchers and physicians in various departments and institutes at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Together, we strive toward the objectives of developing robust paradigms for understanding the effects of genetics and environment on the health of infants, children and adolescents, and personalizing pediatric medicine through genetics and genomics.

The past decade has witnessed unprecedented advances in our understanding of diseases primarily affecting infants, children, and adolescents. The engine for the rapid discovery of the causes of pediatric disorders has been genomics, particularly the deciphering of the complete DNA code of the human genome. Thousands of simply inherited medical traits, many described decades or even centuries before, have now been explained. Armed with the knowledge of root cause, translational researchers have developed genetic tests to hone diagnostic and prognostic accuracy as well as innovated with therapies that improve the quality and length of the lives of youngsters once tragically limited.

Many of the greatest challenges to human health, particularly illnesses of childhood, have strong genetic components but are not inherited in simple patterns. Until now, such disorders have defied scientific inquiry. The most recent technologic advances, particularly for DNA sequencing, have brought us to a breathtaking juncture: It is now possible to sequence all of the protein-encoding portions of the human genome in a matter of days and widely anticipated that entire human genomes will be affordably decodable in just a few years.

With great genomic advances come remarkable translational research possibilities. Prevalent pediatric diseases such as neurodevelopmental disorders and certain birth defects, which exhibit complex genetic patterns, are becoming tractable for gene discovery efforts. Pharmacogenomics—the study of how genes control the efficacy and side effects of particular drugs—will drive tailored therapy for common pediatric illnesses such as infections requiring antibiotics and highly specialized care such as chemotherapy for childhood leukemias. The interface between a child’s genetic make up and his/her environment, important for increasingly prevalent conditions such as asthma and obesity, can be explored robustly.

Members of our team are actively advancing both research and treatment in pediatric health sciences across our many leading-edge laboratories.

Lautenberg Laboratory

Manish Arora, PhD, BDS, MPH, Jia Chen, ScD, Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH and Rosalind J. Wright, MD, MPH, conduct research in The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, investigating the entry point and impact of childhood exposure to hazardous substances.

Bieker Laboratory

James J. Bieker, PhD, and members of the Bieker Lab are working to identify a novel, erythroid-specific gene, EKLF,  which may play a pivotal role in at least one hemoglobin disorder.

Berin Laboratory

Researchers in the Berin Laboratory. founded by M. Cecilia Berin, PhD, are investigating the immune basis of food allergy to understand allergen properties, reactive mechanisms, individual risk factors, and how the medical community might learn to manipulate human immune responses in order to eradicate this growing health concern.

Bogunovic Laboratory

Under the direction of Dusan Bogunovic, PhD, the Bogunovic Laboratory focuses on studying the human immune system using immunogenomic, molecular biology, cellular biology, immunology, and clinical tools. We aim to improve understanding of the human immune system by studying individuals with severe clinical presentations of infections usually causing mild or no clinical disease.

Brown Laboratory

Brian D. Brown, PhD, and his team at the Brown Laboratory are working with microRNA biotechnology, conducting immunology gene therapy to regulate autoimmune disease at the molecular level.

Bunyanich Laboratory

The Bunyavanich Laboratory team of researchers is conducting epidemiologic studies of asthma and allergic diseases in well-characterized cohorts and investigating genome-wide associations between asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis. We explore gene by environment, genomic data, microbiomics, and epigenomics related to asthma and allergies, under the direction of Primary Investigator Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH.

Buxbaum Laboratory

Through cell and molecular biology, genetics, genomics, and the use of animal models, the Buxbaum Laboratory of Molecular Neuropsychiatry studies human psychiatric and neurological diseases under the direction of Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD.

Cagan Laboratory

Ross L. Cagan, PhD, spearheads research in his Cagan Laboratory, seeking to achieve significant long-term advances in cancer and diabetes patient survival through genetic and drug-screening approaches using the fruit fly Drosophila.

Casaccia Laboratory

Patrizia Casaccia, MD, PhD, leads her team in the Casaccia Lab in integrating state-of-the-art technologies, animal models, and drug discovery to promote a Center of Excellence for myelin repair.

Dubois Laboratory

Nicole Dubois, PhD, and members of the Dubois Lab are exploring both the development and the disease process related to the human heart.

Krauss Laboratory

Robert S. Krauss, PhD, and his team study pattern formation and cell differentiation during development and tissue regeneration in the Krauss Lab.

Loos Laboratory

Ruth Loos, PhD, leads the Loos Lab in the study of genes that increase the risk of obesity and related traits that may influence one’s genetic susceptibility.

Morishita Laboratory

Hirofumi Morishita, MD, PhD, leads the Morshita Lab in studies of perceptual and cognitive development.

Pinto Laboratory

Dalila Pinto, PhD, leads the Pinto Lab in exploring foundations and treatments of autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, and epilepsy.

Rendl Laboratory

Part of The Black Family Stem Cell Institute, the Rendl Lab studies the formation and function of stem cell niches under PI Michael Rendl, MD.

Paisan-Ruiz Laboratory

Coro Paisan-Ruiz, PhD, leads the Paisan-Ruiz Lab, elucidating the molecular basis underlying and contributing to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonian-like syndromes, and essential tremor.

Wang Laboratory

Jianlong Wang, PhD, leads the Wang Lab, studying the molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and reprogramming. Insights from these studies will facilitate efficient derivation/generation and optimal propagation of embryonic/induced pluripotent stem cells (ESCs/iPSCs) for their safe application in disease therapeutics and regenerative medicine.

Pediatric Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program

Vilma Gabbay, MD, MS, and her team are committed to advancing the understanding, evaluation, and treatment of young patients struggling with a range of mental health conditions, through the Pediatric Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program.

Transdisciplinary Center on Health Effects of Early Environmental Exposures

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH, and his team at the Transdisciplinary Center on Health Effects of Early Environmental Exposures aim to understand how environmental exposures in early life influence health, development, and risk of diseases across the lifespan.