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Children’s of Alabama and UAB Department of Pediatrics Announce Opening of Expanded Child Health Research Unit

BIRMINGHAM - Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Pediatrics announce the opening of the new Child Health Research Unit (CHRU) on the third floor of Dearth Tower at Children’s.

The CHRU is a partnership between Children’s, the UAB Department of Pediatrics and the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) to meet the growing needs of pediatric researchers. The expanded unit will reduce barriers for Children’s and UAB researchers to conduct rigorous clinical and translational research in childhood diseases.

“The CHRU is a crucial tool that enables pediatric investigators to improve our understanding of childhood diseases and bring new therapies to children. I am proud of the role that Children’s of Alabama plays in child health in this state, the region and beyond,” said Mitchell B. Cohen, M.D., Chair, UAB Department of Pediatrics and Physician-In-Chief, Children’s of Alabama.

The facility has more than 2,500 square feet of space and includes a reception area, triage room, six exam rooms, office and conference space, workspace with monitors, a lab with centrifuge and freezer, and a storage room for equipment.

“This new physical unit will allow pediatric investigators and research coordinators to execute safe and age-appropriate clinical research protocols in children. We needed an expanded research unit because we are growing and increasing our role in new knowledge discovery to understand, prevent and treat childhood diseases, and improve the health of the children of Alabama,” said Cohen.  

 “The unit is essential for UAB to translate scientific discovery toward improved health across the lifespan, which is a goal of the CCTS,” added Robert Kimberly, M.D., School of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research and CCTS Director.

Research teams have already expressed interest in the new unit for studies including epilepsy patients, the natural history of Rett Syndrome, and the efficacy of maternal immunization with a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine during pregnancy on infants.

“I anticipate that with the opening of the new CHRU pediatric research space, the pace of new discovery at Children’s of Alabama and the UAB researchers who work here will be greatly enhanced. This state-of-the-art facility provides investigators and their staffs with access to premier space to perform all aspects of their clinical research.  More importantly, it provides convenience and comfort to the families that participate in that research, who are entrusting the most precious people in their lives – their children – to our care,” said David Kimberlin, M.D., Professor/Co-Director, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research.

The CHRU has supported studies within the Divisions of Hematology-Oncology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Pulmonary and Rheumatology.  The current unit located on the seventh floor of Dearth Tower will become the Satellite CHRU. It will focus on the robust portfolio of pulmonary research, while the new third floor unit will provide much-needed space for other investigators. 

“Children’s is pleased to have the CHRU on our campus offering opportunities to better understand diseases affecting our patients and to collaborate with our academic partner, UAB.  The CHRU will allow researchers to expand investigations into various conditions and diagnoses which should lead to even better outcomes for the patients for whom it is our privilege to provide care,” said Mike Warren, CEO, Children’s of Alabama.

The CHRU will host an open house in May to celebrate the opening of the unit. For more information on the CHRU, visit

Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by US News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 46 other states and seven foreign countries last year, representing more than 676,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at