The research of Robert J. Kahoud, M.D., focuses on the prevention and treatment of brain injury in critically ill infants and children. Patients who have survived critical illnesses such as severe infection, head trauma, respiratory failure or prolonged seizures often have neurological deficits that decrease quality of life. By integrating cellular and molecular experiments in vitro with translational approaches in vivo, Dr. Kahoud seeks to understand how systemic inflammation negatively impacts neural network function, brain development and long-term neurocognitive outcomes. The underlying goal of his research program is to discover novel neuroprotective and neuroregenerative therapies to improve functional outcomes for children in the pediatric intensive care unit.
- Cell-based assays. In collaboration with Charles L. Howe, Ph.D., Dr. Kahoud is developing cell-based assays to screen for individual and combinatorial effects of inflammatory mediators, sedative medications, and other ICU therapeutics on the function of neural networks.
- Age-related serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers. In collaboration with Sean J. Pittock, M.D., Dr. Kahoud is interested in the identification of age-related serum and CSF biomarkers to enhance individualized approaches to therapeutic intervention in acutely ill pediatric patients.
- Brain injury patterns, inflammatory responses and cognitive outcomes. In collaboration with Eric T. Payne, M.D., and Charles L. Howe, Ph.D., Dr. Kahoud characterizes brain injury patterns, inflammatory responses and cognitive outcomes of developmental differences in infants, children and adults using genetic, neuroimaging, electrophysiological and neurobehavioral assays.
- Delirium in pediatric ICU patients. In collaboration with Sheri Crow, M.D., and Aleksey Matveyenko, Ph.D., Dr. Kahoud identifies and characterizes the risk factors for delirium in pediatric ICU patients, focusing on circadian rhythm disturbances and the impact on cognitive outcomes.
Significance to patient care
There is growing evidence demonstrating that reduced mortality in the pediatric intensive care unit as a result of advances in medical care is offset by an increase in morbidity and that children with brain injuries are at especially high risk of poor outcomes. By identifying fundamental mechanisms of brain injury during critical illness, Dr. Kahoud's research will facilitate the discovery of age- and disease-specific therapies to protect and restore normal brain function and reduce morbidity in pediatric patients.