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The Children's Research Institute

Research Profile

Research Interests

  • Viral Infections
  • Central nervous system infection
  • Congenital infection

Education & Training

  • B.A., Chemistry/Psychology, Boston University, Boston, MA, (1984-1988)
  • M.D., Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, (1988-1992)
  • Residency, Pediatrics, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA, (1992-1995)
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado/Children's Hospital of Colorado, Denver, CO, (1996-1999)
  • M.S., Clinical and Translational Research, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, (2011-2013)

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Biography

Roberta Lynn DeBiasi, M.D., M.S., is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Diseases and Co-Director of the Congenital Zika Program at Children’s National Health System. She holds appointments as tenured Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences as well as Principal Investigator in the Center for Translational Research at Children’s Research Institute.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University, she received a Doctorate in Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and completed internship and residency in Pediatrics at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. She completed her fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado/Denver Children’s Hospital and served on the faculty for ten years in Denver, prior to joining Children’s National/GWU in 2005.Dr. DeBiasi treats normal and immunocompromised children hospitalized with severe infections at Children’s National Medical Center. She leads the CNHS Ebola and Emerging Infections Task Force and co-leads the CNHS Congenital Zika Program, interfacing with regional, national and international authorities in these roles.

Dr. DeBiasi’s research expertise includes basic science as well as clinical/translational research. She serves as Principal Investigator for research and clinical trials focusing on severe and emerging viral infections affecting pregnant women, neonates, immunocompromised hosts, and normal children. Specific areas of research include: NIAID/NIH Collaborative Antiviral Study Group funding to study maternal herpes simplex virus shedding at delivery using rapid diagnostics; natural history of neonatal herpes simplex virus infection; pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antiviral therapy in premature infants with congenital cytomegalovirus infection; and antiviral treatment of sensorineural hearing loss following congenital cytomegalovirus infection. She also directs studies focused on novel antiviral and plasma treatments for severe hospitalized influenza and parainfluenza infection, funded by both NIH/NIAID, as well as industry sponsors.

She is Co- Director of the Congenital Zika Program at Children's National which includes research protocols in the US and Colombia focused on prenatal imaging, testing, genetics and virologic aspects of congenital Zika infection. She leads the CNHS Ebola response and is Co-PI for federal funding to support Ebola preparedness. In addition, Dr. DeBiasi’s research portfolio includes a study evaluating the burden of pediatric Lyme disease, as well as long-term outcomes of Lyme infection in children. She is also involved in emergency investigational new drug (IND) acquisition of agents for treatment of severe viral myocarditis, encephalitis, and malaria. She is site PI for a PCORI- funded multicenter clinical trial evaluating optimal management of refractory Kawasaki Disease.

Dr. DeBiasi has authored over 70 original research, review articles, and book chapters. She greatly enjoys teaching and mentoring graduate and medical students, residents, and fellows in the classroom, the hospital wards, and in research. She is also actively engaged in continuing medical education for community physicians, outreach to the community, and educating the public via media appearances on NPR radio, local and national newspaper and television.

Research & Publications