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Researcher | Research Overview

Dr. Lisa Bartnikas is a Pediatric Allergist/Immunologist and clinical researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital with a particular interest in pediatric food allergy, especially as it relates to management and school policies.

Dr. Bartnikas is an NIH-funded investigator and her primary research focus is understanding the safety and psychosocial impact of school food allergy policies. This study prospectively evaluates the impact of school food allergy policies on environmental food allergen levels, rates of allergic reactions, and psychosocial stress in schoolchildren. This study is unique and novel because it will be the first to evaluate the impact of school policies on allergic reactions, psychosocial distress and environmental food allergen levels. Her initial data provided the first report of school peanut-free policies in Massachusetts and the impact of policies on epinephrine administration. She has published additional research on racial and socioeconomic differences in school peanut-free policies. Results from her ongoing research may lead to future clinical trials designed to prevent exposure and reduce allergic reactions and psychosocial distress. Trials to reduce the risk of allergic reactions and psychosocial distress would greatly impact society by informing school policies for children with food allergies.

Dr. Bartnikas also has a research interest in food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), with a focus on understanding the disease phenotypes and associated morbidity. She published one of the largest reports of the demographics of FPIES in a multi-center cohort, as well as the first study to comprehensively describe the psychosocial impact of FPIES on children and caregivers. In addition to her focus on food allergy clinical research, she maintains ongoing research interests in mechanistic aspects of allergic and immunologic diseases. She has investigated the role of IL-6 blockade in treatment of severe persistent asthma with evidence of TH2/TH17 inflammation, as well as the immunologic phenotypes and mechanisms of STAT2 deficiency, STAT3 gain-of-function, heterozygous FOXN1 variants, and pulmonary manifestations of CTLA-4 haploinsufficiency and LRBA deficiency. Dr. Bartnikas is also an investigator in several asthma clinical trials at Boston Children’s Hospital.

She is active in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) national organization and created and co-chairs the Psychosocial Impact of Food Allergies workgroup within the Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee of the AAAAI. This workgroup published a study evaluating allergists’ knowledge and assessment of bullying among their food-allergic patients. The workgroup also recently completed a report describing the development of age-specific food allergy patient education handouts, highlighting important safety and psychosocial issues at each developmental stage.

Active Projects

2019-2024 - Evaluating the Impact of School Nut-Free Policies
NIH/NIAID K23 1 K23 AI143962
Role: Principal Investigator (with Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul as mentor)
The goal of this mentored career development award is to determine the impact of school nut-free policies on rates of allergic reactions, environmental nut protein levels and psychosocial distress.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Bartnikas received her AB in Biology from Harvard College in 2001, graduating magna cum laude with highest honors. She received her MD from Boston University School of Medicine in 2005. She completed residency in Pediatrics at the Boston Combined Residency Program in 2008 and fellowship training in Allergy/Immunology at Boston Children’s Hospital from 2008-2011. She received a Certificate in Applied Biostatistics through the Harvard Catalyst Education Program (2019-2020), which provided training in biostatistics in medical research. Dr. Bartnikas is on staff as an Allergist/Immunologist at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Bartnikas is passionate about understanding the role of environmental exposures in childhood food allergy and anaphylaxis. Her long-term goal is to develop evidence-based policies to promote the safety and psychosocial well-being of children with food allergies.

Researcher | Publications