Research Programs

Over 140 investigators, 500 staff and numerous trainees contribute to the seven programs in basic research and translational medicine and ten centers of excellence. A primary goal of the research center is to facilitate the ability of its membership to perform research leading to the most advanced pediatric health care.

Cancer Biology and Epigenomics 

The scientific objectives of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program include the identification of molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis, metastasis and development of drug resistance. The program is strengthened by its members’ multidisciplinary expertise in clinical, translational and basic cancer research.


Clinical and Translational Research 

The mission of the Clinical and Translation Research Program (CTR) is to provide a synergistic mechanism for the entire Children’s Memorial research enterprise to accelerate the delivery of translational and clinical research to our patients. CTR provides support to multidisciplinary teams from all departments at Children’s Memorial Hospital and the research center who are involved in translational and clinical research.


Developmental Biology  

The Developmental Biology Program focuses on mechanisms of genetic fate specification in early human development. We examine pattern formation, the process by which cells organize to form structures that develop into a normal body; stem cell biology; and allocation and assortment of cells in organ development.


Human Molecular Genetics  

The Human Molecular Genetics Program strives to nurture a world-class center of translational genetic medicine, with innovative basic science generating new routes to therapy for inherited diseases. We benefit greatly from close collaborations with other research center programs, and are an integral part of the Northwestern University genetics community. Our investigators study genetic diseases that affect the function of the brain, nervous and neuromuscular systems; the lungs and digestive system; and that cause cancer.

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Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research 

The scientific mission of the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program (CHR) is to address important clinical and public health problems of children, using state-of-the-art epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory methodology and interdisciplinary collaborations.



Scientists in the Neurobiology Program engage in research to define molecular processes critical to development, degeneration and regeneration of cells in the nervous system, with the aim of developing novel therapies for diseases and injuries of the human nervous system.

Neural Repair Club 
Pediatric Oncology

Providing the very best care includes the relentless pursuit of new ways to cure cancer and hematological diseases. Every day we are working toward that goal through clinical trials, translational research and bench science. The Pediatric Oncology Program works in tandem with all branches of the research enterprise at Children’s Memorial and collaborates throughout the worldwide hematology and oncology research community in order to expedite discoveries that will result in improved therapies and treatment methods for our patients.

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