Pediatric Research

Discover, Validate, Translate

Mission: Increase our understanding of basic mechanisms relevant to pediatric disease, discover and validate new therapies, translate these innovative approaches to optimize the health outcomes for children and their families.

Pediatric Research Goals

  • Establish a culture that values basic science, clinical and translational research, and innovation as essential to deliver the best care for children.
  • Expand our research enterprise activities across a broad landscape of topics relevant to our patients.
  • Collaborate across disciplines, schools, and institutions to build unique programs.
  • Recruit, train, and support academic investigators.
  • Expand our research funding every year.


Basic science research relevant to children occurs in the:


Clinical and translational research is conducted in our:   

What is Clinical Research?

Trainee research

Our pediatric training programs include clinical, translational or basic research training. Advanced research training also occurs through the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Collaborating throughout the university

Our faculty members collaborate on research throughout the university, working with investigators from the schools of Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, Education and Human Development, Nursing and Public Health Information Sciences; the College of Business; Speed School of Engineering; Brandeis School of Law; and the Kent School of Social Work.

Child and Adolescent Health Research Design and Support Unit


Child and Adolescent Health Research Design and Support (CAHRDS) Unit of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Louisville School of Medicine exists to improve effectiveness, quality, safety and delivery of health care and promote optimal health for all children in Kentucky. The Unit will support missions of the University of Louisville, School of Medicine, and the Department of Pediatrics through the application of pediatric health services research. We define health services research as follows:

Health services research is a multidisciplinary field of study that aims to understand factors that influence child and adolescent health, which include individuals, families, communities, and organizations. Areas of study may include health behaviors, social determinants of health, access to care, care quality, health care costs, resource utilization, and system structures, processes, and policies.


The faculty and staff of the CAHRDS Unit are guided by values of 1) improving child health and well-being through developing evidence that identifies best practices, 2) pursuing scientific rigor with integrity and accountability, and 3) building collaborative and inclusive University and community partnerships.


With the mindset of "what is best for children," the CAHRDS Unit expects to produce excellent research that serves the health and well-being of children, their families and communities, and our colleagues who provide health care services to them.

Programs and Studies

Kentucky Antibiotic Awareness Program

Louisville Twin Study

To Request Assistance

Please submit an email to:   and include the following:

  • Name
  • division 
  • general description of the project
  • what services you think you will need and 
  • deadline (if applicable).

We look forward to working with you.

Kosair Charities Pediatric Clinical Research Unit


The Kosair Charities Pediatric Clinical Research Unit (KCPCRU) is the region’s first state-of-the-art clinical facility dedicated solely to conducting inpatient and outpatient pediatric clinical pharmacology studies.The primary mission of the KCPCRU, which opened in May 2002, is three-fold: research (clinical and translational), clinical service, and education/training. Over 1,000 subjects have been enrolled in clinical trials since 2002.

The clinical facilities of the KCPCRU (approximately 4,000 square feet) are located on the second floor of Norton Children’s Hospital. There are three private inpatient rooms dedicated solely for infants, children and adolescents participating in clinical pharmacology and device research studies.The fully-equipped nursing unit has facilities for phlebotomy and urine collection. The unit also contains a specimen processing laboratory, satellite research pharmacy, patient kitchen and playroom equipped with age-appropriate toys, books and games.The KCPCRU also has several core laboratories that support the translational science mission of the center. These include the Bioanalytical and Pharmacogenetics Core Facilities within the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Proteomics Core Laboratory within the Department of Medicine.

Why join a clinical research study?

There are frequent questions asked about conducting research in children. Children and Clinical Studies is a website that provides parents and children with the information they need to understand clinical research and make informed decisions about participating in a study. It can also assist primary caregivers in answering patients' questions about research as it provided key concepts of pediatric clinical research. The NIH has also created a video about Children and Clinical Studies that you can view here.

If you want to learn more about current or past clinical trials across the United States, please visit

And if you want to learn more about pediatric trials, please visit the Pediatric Trials Network  or NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

KCPCRU studies

These studies are conducted by a multi-disciplinary team within the UofL Department of Pediatrics and represent the collaboration and commitment to Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology research among basic and applied scientists within and external to the Department of Pediatrics. Approximately 150 – 200 subjects are enrolled into KCPCRU clinical/translational research trials annually.

Children are being enrolled in genotyping and phenotyping studies to evaluate the effect of genetics on drug metabolizing enzymes and key pathogenic mediators of disease.

We are also studying medication for:

  • Sedation
  • Pain Control
  • Infections
  • Hypertension
  • Septic shock
  • Asthma
  • Platelet inhibition
  • Gastric esophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Post operative nausea/vomiting
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Diabetes

Pediatric Research Institute


Working under the leadership of Lu Cai, M.D., Ph.D., the Pediatric Research Institute's mission is to improve children's health, development and well-being through high-quality research. At present, support is directed toward providing infrastructure support for promising pediatric scientists and pioneering new research directions. We intend to achieve maximum return on what constitutes a currently small but growing investment in pediatric research, while implementing a "bench to bedside" philosophy.

We currently house excellent research programs in  Sleep Neurobiology and JuvenileDiabetes. We are expanding our scope to include tumor biology and outcomes research. Moreover, all of the programs housed here have the potential for expansion through collaborative research.

We are located in the Baxter Research Building on the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus. Our facility aids research by providing state-of-the-art equipment and a laboratory design that maximizes efficiency and supports innovation. Through common areas like informal lounges, we also provide the means for collaboration among researchers from various disciplines. The 30,000 square foot research floors feature three core laboratories and 18 laboratories measuring 880 square feet each. Annual support for Pediatric Research Institute investigators totals more than $5 million, with a substantial amount of the funding coming from the National Institutes of Health.

We are dedicated to the discovery of fundamental problems associated with pediatric disease. It is a core departmental function that will only grow in importance. Each year, our faculty produces significant peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, scientific presentations, books, and book chapters—43 in 2013. We have four endowed chairs of pediatric research.