Research Milestones

From 1960 to Present


First description of the medical consequences of child abuse (The Battered Child Syndrome) (early 1960s)

Performed the first pediatric liver transplant in the world (1963)

William K. Frankenburg, MD, and Josiah Dobbs, PhD, publish the Denver Developmental Screening Test, the first developmental screening tool for use during well-child care visits (1967)


Arnold Silverman, MD, Claude Roy, MD, and Frank Cozzetto, MD, author the first textbook on pediatric gastroenterology (1971)

K. Michael Hambidge, MD, ScD, demonstrates the importance of zinc deficiency in infants and children (1970s)

Participated in clinical trials leading to the licensure of new pediatric vaccines, including Haemophilus influenza and meningococcus (1970s)

Stephen Goodman, MD, PhD describes Glutaric Aciduria Type I (1975)

The description of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) by James Todd, MD, and colleagues (1978)


The first statewide newborn screening program for cystic fibrosis in the U.S. (1982)

Discovering the effects of Zinc and Vitamin E nutritional deficiencies in infants and children by Ronald Sokol, MD, and Mary Anne Guggenheim, MD, (1983)


First description of Kawasaki Syndrome (1976) in the U.S. and clinical trials, leading to its successful treatment with IVIG (1990s)

Groundbreaking research in the treatment of hemophilia and blood-clotting disorders (1980s and 1990s)

John Kinsella, MD, Steven Neish, MD, Elizabeth Shaffer, MD, and Steven Abman, MD, report methods to save newborns with severe lung disorders, including the treatment of pediatric pulmonary hypertension by using a non-invasive method of inhaled nitric oxide (1992)

Pioneering pediatric AIDS research, as one of a handful of AIDS clinical trial groups in U.S. (1993)

Harley Rotbart, MD, develops polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tool for diagnosing enteroviral infections, opening the door for many other PCR-based tests (1995)


Kurt Stenmark, MD, and Maria Frid, PhD, are the first to identify that pulmonary artery endothelial cells can become smooth muscle cells, advancing understanding of pediatric pulmonary hypertension (2002)

Nancy Krebs, MD, and colleagues publish the seminal study Prevention of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity as part of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition (2003)

Cara Mack, MD, establishes the immunologic basis for liver injury in biliary atresia (2004)

The Cystic Fibrosis Center participated in early research and drug trials for Kalydeco, the first drug that treats the underlying causes of CF (2006)

The development and licensure of a new shingles vaccine (2006)

Marilyn Manco-Johnson, MD, and associates publish research demonstrating the efficacy of prophylactic Factor VIII in improving quality of life for boys with severe hemophilia (2007)


Frank Accurso, MD, and colleagues publish “Effect of VX-770 in persons with cystic fibrosis and the G551D-CFTR mutation,” the first large-scale clinical trial of a drug that can improve lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis (2010)

Joel Friedlander, DO, Robin Deterding, MD, Emily DeBoer, MD, Jeremy Prager, MD, and David Fleischer, MD, establish the nation’s first pediatric clinical program for unsedated transnasal esophagoscopy (2015)

Kevin Messacar, MD, Samuel Dominguez, MD, PhD, and Kenneth Tyler, MD, lead the University of Colorado physician research team confirming linkage between enterovirus D68 and acute flaccid myelitis (2018)

International clinical trials directed by a Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders team from 2012–2018 lead to FDA approval of three new drugs for four different childhood cancers: Blinatumomab for B-cell ALL; Brentuximab for Hodgkin’s disease and anaplastic large cell lymphoma; and Ipilimumab for pediatric melanoma. 

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