Pediatric Research


Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH is a health services and outcomes researcher for children with disabilities. She collaborates with researchers at Pitt, across the country and around the world to study how to optimize the health, functioning and well-being of children with disabilities. Her PhD thesis examining the family impacts of childhood disability won an international prize for excellence.

Amery Treble-Barna, PhD aims to understand the various developmental, neuropathological, environmental, and genetic factors that interact to produce neurobehavioral phenotypes. In line with this goal, she has established a programmatic line of research studying children with spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM) and children who sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her research program is guided by five central objectives:

  1. Characterize neurobehavioral outcomes;
  2. Identify underlying neural correlates and pathophysiological mechanisms;
  3. Illuminate the moderating role of the family environment in promoting neurobehavioral function and recovery;
  4. Elucidate genetic and epigenetic influences on neurobehavioral function and recovery;
  5. Inform improved prognostic tools and novel interventions. Through the study of congenital and acquired childhood brain disorders, she aims not only to elucidate general principles of typical and atypical brain function, but also to increase understanding of specific conditions such that findings can be translated into improved clinical care.


Jessica Jarvis, PhD, is a rehabilitation scientist with a clinical background as a music therapist working in pediatric critical care. She works within multidisciplinary teams and uses quantitative and qualitative approaches in her program of research to address two main lines of inquiry: (1) determining trajectories of functional recovery post-pediatric critical illness for children and their families; and (2) developing mechanistic, nonpharmacologic interventions to improve PICU and post-PICU functioning. Dr. Jarvis recently completed a T32 fellowship which included testing the feasibility of a music therapy intervention to decrease stress and pain during mechanical ventilation in the PICU, to potentially alleviate the need for sedatives and remediate the psychologic sequela of pediatric critical illness.