Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine; Pediatrics; Behavioral Medicine; Nutrition
My primary research focus is on infant health, specifically infant nutrition and physical activity and enriched home environments. My research aims to identify how infant-toddler eating behaviors affect obesity later in life and how early interventions can protect those at risk from obesity. Ultimately, my work will help promote healthy, active lifestyles for families. The motivation to eat varies among individuals. As food is more reinforcing to individuals with obesity, studying the origin of food reinforcement can provide important steps in obesity prevention. I strive to understand the causes of infant obesity and preventative measures that will decrease the risk of obesity during infancy and later life stages. My laboratory recently developed a paradigm to measure infants’ motivation to eat compared to their motivation to engage in other activities. This paradigm uses a computerized task during which infants press a button to earn reward in the form of the infant’s favorite food and a non-food alternative (e.g., playing with bubbles, listening to music). My studies suggest that the reinforcing value of the non-food alternative may drive the motivation to eat, thus infancy weight gain. To support the importance of the reinforcing value of non-food alternatives, my colleagues and I have shown that strengthening the non-food alternative at home can reduce the motivation of food. I am also currently involved in a large, randomized-control trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine the effect of a two-year music enhancement program on altering infants’ motivation to eat. I mentor students from UB’s Honors College and its pre-medicine and nutritional sciences programs. I invite interested students to work with me in my research, including data collection and preparation. I help students develop their research, analytical and writing skills to prepare them for their professional goals. Students who work with me on research projects also will gain experience in interpersonal interaction by working with families who participate in my studies.
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine; Neonatology; Pediatrics; Cell growth, differentiation and development; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Cell Cycle
As a neonatologist working in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), I care for the sickest and most premature infants. At the Oishei Children’s Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, I collaborate with fellows, residents, medical students, nurse practitioners, nurses — and other health care professionals involved in the care of infants in the NICU — to help these fragile infants overcome severe challenges to grow and thrive. My research is focused on improving the quality of life of newborns. My studies in the area of resuscitation and pulmonary hypertension are nationally recognized. I operate one of the few centers in the country that includes a newborn lamb model with which to conduct research in the areas of resuscitation, delayed cord clamping and asphyxia. I have done extensive study in hypertension in term and premature neonates, resuscitation (relating to heart rate and oxygen exposure) and long-term effects of hyperoxia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. My upbringing in India has given me a deep appreciation for global health issues relating to maternal and child health. That has spurred me to try to develop low-cost technologies to improve neonatal and child health in developing countries, with an emphasis on resuscitation and birth asphyxia. I mentor fellows and help them learn the skills and techniques they need to be successful neonatologists, either in an academic setting or in private practice. I utilize the flipped classroom, delivering instruction online outside of class and moving “homework” into the classroom. I provide fellows with the freedom and independence to succeed by offering opportunities to learn and practice technical skills and by guiding fellows’ growth with timely feedback. I have more than 50 publications to my credit, and I make it my business to help fellows get their own research published. My guidance helps fellows give successful presentations at regional and national conferences. In fact, my trainees have received multiple awards for their research presentations at the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research meetings over the years. I am committed to my fellows’ success as the next generation of compassionate, competent neonatologists.
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine; Neonatology; Pediatrics
As a neonatologist working in Western New York’s most advanced neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)--at the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital--I care for critically ill preterm and term newborn infants. My expertise includes caring for extremely premature infants and the associated comorbidities that often come with premature birth as well as hypoxic respiratory failure, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and pulmonary hypertension. My research focuses on comparing the use of vasopressin and epinephrine during neonatal resuscitation in a translational ovine model. My goal is to understand the physiology of pulmonary transition at birth in asphyxia and to compare the effectiveness of epinephrine and vasopressin during resuscitation. The results of this study will have a pronounced clinical impact by improving resuscitation guidelines that hasten recovery and reduce death and neurological disability following birth asphyxia. I also conduct clinical research, in our mother-baby unit, on the use of oral dextrose gel in the treatment of neonatal hypoglycemia. The results thus far have shown reduction in NICU admissions for neonatal hypoglycemia, which prevents separating mothers from their babies. Interested fellows and residents are welcome to work in our sheep lab and conduct basic science research with me. They are also welcome to participate in my clinical studies and quality improvement projects. I teach medical students, pediatrics residents and neonatal-perinatal medicine fellows. When on service, I teach the residents and fellows during daily morning bedside rounds. I assess my trainees’ level of knowledge; based on that, I teach them about our patients’ clinical conditions, their diagnoses and the care they will need. I also teach my trainees various procedures such as umbilical line and peripheral arterial line placements and endotracheal intubation and chest tube placements. I also give core lectures to the residents and fellows. During didactic teaching, I include multiple choice questions to get an idea of where my trainees stand--and then I build upon my presentations to address specifically the needs of my trainees. Most of my teaching is interactive; I believe in engaging my students and trainees as much as possible in critical thinking and active discussion so that they can absorb and retain knowledge.