Kling Research Group

Our lab’s research goals have been to investigate the developmental and nutritional regulation of red blood cell production. This research is important because anemia complicates the clinical care of nearly 30,000 premature neonates in the US annually and effective strategies for combating anemia must be developed. Ill premature neonates develop severe anemia, requiring multiple red blood cell transfusions. Erythropoietin, the primary endocrine hormone stimulating red blood cell production, is deficient in premature neonates. The drug, erythropoietin, although effective in adult patients, is less so in premature neonates. Our research seeks to determine why erythropoietin therapy is so ineffective in premature infants.

Our research approach is three-pronged:

  • First, we are investigating the interactions of iron and erythropoietin in at-risk neonatal and infant erythropoiesis. Delivery of sufficient iron is critical to red blood cell production. Unlike other patient populations, in early infancy, no marker of poor iron delivery exists and we are examining several options. We are studying the biomarkers to identify those with low iron status.
  • Second, we are studying the non-erythropoietic effects of iron deficiency because iron is critical to all organ development. We are studying both brain and kidney development.
  • Third, we are investigating the non-traditional roles of erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is an iron-regulated protein, including in early development. In early development, we are exploring whether erythropoietin’s erythropoietic role is relatively less important than its other roles. Because erythropoietin exerts local effects, we are examining the effects of erythropoietin in other tissues (e.g. intestine and brain).

Research News

  • 2022 Shapiro Summer Research Program faculty mentors, research projects announced

    A cohort of first-year medical students were matched with fourteen pediatric faculty mentors for the 2022 Shapiro Summer Research Program. The Shapiro Summer Research Program provides opportunities for medical students to participate in eight- to …

  • Pamela Kling expands study of SSRIs and beta blocker use during pregnancy

    Pamela Kling, MD, professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, received a $13,524 one-year award from the UnityPoint Health–Meriter Foundation for her project, “SSRI exposure during gestation: Earlier birth, low birth weight or small for gestational age …

  • What We Published In May 2020

    Al Dhaheri N, Wu N, Zhao S, Wu Z, Blank RD, Zhang J, Raggio C, Halanski M, Shen J, Noonan K, Qiu G, Nemeth B, Sund S, Dunwoodie SL, Chapman G, Glurich I, Steiner RD, Wohler …

  • Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book Now Available

    The Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book is now available. University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics faculty, staff, fellows and residents submitted over 50 research abstracts for the virtual conference, which is taking place May 26-29, 2020. …

  • What We Published in April 2020

    1. Ascierto PA, Fox B, Urba W, Anderson AC, Atkins MB, Borden EC, Brahmer J, Butterfield LH, Cesano A, Chen D, de Gruijl T, Dillman RO, Drake CG, Emens LA, Gajewski TF, Gulley JL, Stephen …

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Pamela Kling
Pamela J. Kling, MD