Michael R. DeBaun, MD, MPH
Michael R. DeBaun, MD Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Pediatrics Director, Vanderbilt-Meharry Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease at Vanderbilt University Children's Hospital. He received a MD and Masters in Health Service Research from Stanford University and a MPH in epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health as part of his fellowship in Epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute. He is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. Dr. DeBaun directs the Sickle Cell Medical Treatment and Education Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dr. DeBaun’s efforts regarding hematology have focused on understanding the etiology, pathogenesis and management of cerebrovascular injury in children with sickle cell disease. He was among the first clinical investigators to document carefully the epidemiology, cognitive and clinical significance of silent cerebral infarcts in children with sickle cell anemia and to demonstrate that both size and location of cerebral infarcts result in specific cognitive loss in children. With his leadership, these studies subsequently led to the basis of the first international clinical trial in sickle cell disease, Silent Cerebral Infarct Multi-Center Trial. The overall goal of the trial is to determine whether blood transfusion therapy will decrease further neurological morbidity in children with silent cerebral infarcts, and if so, the magnitude of this benefit. In oncology, Dr. DeBaun has focused on understanding the epidemiology, optimal management and molecular basis for overgrowth syndromes associated with cancer in children, specifically Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). Dr. DeBaun established an international BWS registry. His work has elucidated the epidemiology of cancer risk and has provided the first evidence based guidelines for cancer screening in this population. The clinical work has been coupled with careful molecular genetic analysis documenting phenotype and epigenotype correlations, including cancer. Dr. DeBaun and his colleagues were the first to describe the association between in vitro fertilization (IVF), congenital malformation syndromes and epigenotype mutations in children born after IVF.