Current Environment:

Researcher | Research Overview

My research is focused on the nutritional and metabolic aspects of critical illness in children, aimed at identifying and implementing optimal nutrition therapies that improve clinical outcomes. With intramural and extramural support, I have systematically conducted investigations to address knowledge and evidence gaps in the field. Some of our original observations and contributions to the literature include the following i) prevalence of both underfeeding and overfeeding (calories) in the intensive care unit, ii) role of targeted indirect calorimetry to guide optimal energy intake, iii) inadequacy of protein intake in critically ill infants and children worldwide; iv) unintended cumulative deficits of protein and muscle loss; v) protein requirement during critical illness; vi) tools to examine of protein flux, metabolism, balance and the lean body mass; vii) bedside body composition measurement; viii) barriers to and strategies for optimal enteral nutrition, ix) delayed gastric emptying during critical illness, and x) best-practice algorithms for optimal bedside nutrient delivery.

My group has extensive experience with stable isotope methodology for protein turnover, body composition, total body water and energy expenditure determination in humans and animal models. We perform studies that use a variety of body composition analysis techniques, including BIA, BIS, muscle ultrasound, and DXA.

We have demonstrated the impact of individualized diet (optimized energy and protein intake based on measured energy expenditure and protein requirements) in chronically ventilated children. We are currently conducting a randomized controlled double-blind trial of antacids versus placebo, in infants with congenital heart disease, exploring the safety profile and impact on gastrointestinal microbiome of withholding antacids in this group. I have completed 3 large international studies of nutrient intake in over 3000 mechanically ventilated children from 90 PICUs (from over 15 countries) and demonstrated significant associations between nutrient delivery and outcomes such as mortality and acquired infections. These studies have helped establish a platform for future multicenter intervention trials.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Mehta completed his residency at the Boston Combined Pediatric Residency Program, and Fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a Faculty member in the Critical Care Medicine, and Senior Associate in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. His prior training includes pediatric and critical training in the United Kingdom. As the founder and Director of the Critical Care Nutrition Program, he leads a group of multidisciplinary researchers in conducting clinical and translational studies in this field. He has received awards for outstanding research contributions from leading organizations including the World Federation of Pediatric and Intensive Care Societies (WFPICCS), the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (ASCCA). In 2014, he received the " Stanley Dudrick Research Scholar Award" from the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). He currently serves as the President of ASPEN.


  1. Young Investigator Award, presented by the American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists for Outstanding Investigative Research. "Pharmacokinetic considerations during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation". ASCCA 2006 annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

Researcher | Publications