ABOUT THE RESEARCHER

OVERVIEW

My research tries to identify why very preterm newborns are at high risk for brain damage. My goal is to identify exposures whose elimination or minimization might reduce the risk for this brain damage and its consequences. I had been the principal investigator of the 14-center ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns) study, a prospective epidemiologic study of 1,500 infants born before the 28th week of gestation.

The ELGAN investigators seek to identify changes that occur before the brain ultrasound abnormalities that predict motor, cognitive, perceptual and behavior dysfunctions in these children. Much of this study relies on biomarkers measured in the placenta, umbilical cord and blood. Each of the proteins assessed has a role in inflammation, which is linked to oligodendrocyte damage and/or dysfunction or to processes that ameliorate damage/dysfunction.

By identifying biomarkers that indicate increased risk of cerebral damage, the ELGAN study should enable researchers to better design clinical trials of measures to reduce the occurrence of early brain damage and later developmental disabilities.

 

BACKGROUND

Alan Leviton received his MD from SUNY-Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, College of Medicine. He trained in medicine at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, in neurology at the Barnes Hospital/Washington University program in St. Louis, MO in neuropathology at Children's Hospital, and in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.