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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Research Team

premature infant gastrointestinal health

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Dr. Katherine Gregory, Ph.D., RN is an associate professor at the Connell School. She received her master's degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and doctorate from Boston College in 2005. Dr. Gregory's clinical background is as a neonatal intensive care nurse. Her research interests pertain to preterm infant nutrition, growth, and development. She is especially interested in the attributes of the premature gastrointestinal system and development of immunity. Dr. Gregory is also a nurse scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where she conducts her clinical research. In this role, she also collaborates with clinical staff on a variety of research initiatives and evidence based practice endeavors.

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Dr. Allan Walker, M.D. is the director of the Mucosal Immunology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics at HMS. Dr. Walker, a pediatric gastroenterologist, has led a long and robust program of research focused on the development of gastrointestinal host defenses, particularly as they pertain to the role of enteric nutrients. He has studied the passive and active properties of human breast milk, specifically in the premature infant as it relates to NEC. Dr. Walker has also developed human models of intestinal development (cell lines, organ cultures, microUssing chambers and fetal intestinal xenografts) to determine the effect of protective nutrients (pre- and probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, etc.) on stimulating mucosal defenses in the immature intestine and in preventing neonatal diseases. A major commitment of his laboratory is to train clinical/ postdoctoral fellows in clinical translational research.

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Dr. Linda J. Van Marter, M.D., M.P.H. is an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, chair of the perinatal section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, director of clinical research in the Newborn Medicine Division at Harvard, and an attending neonatologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital, Boston. She earned her master's in public health degree from Harvard School of Public Health, with a primary focus in epidemiology. Dr. Van Marter's primary research emphasis is in neonatal epidemiology, and her research has been funded by NIH/ NHLBI. She is an expert in biologic sample acquisition obtained from low gestational age infants in the clinical setting as evidenced by a specimen bank of urine and tracheal aspirate specimens from more than 1000 infants born below 29 weeks' gestation. Dr. Van Marter has extensive experience mentoring neonatal fellows and neonatal nurses on several research initiatives.

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Dr. Bruce Kristal, Ph.D. is a molecular biologist, expert in metabolomics and biological informatics. He is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, appointed in the department of neurosurgery and surgery, and on the board of directors of the Metabolomics Society. His laboratory has three main arms of focus: metabolomics, bioinformatics/data mining, and the study of mitochondrial disease. Dr. Kristal has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and is currently funded by the National Institutes of Aging and through the genes/environment initiative RFA.