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Women in Medicine & Science Committee Faculty Highlight Series Alison J. Carey, MD

Alison J. Carey, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics

Read her profile

What brought you to Drexel?

When I was completing my fellowship in neonatology, I was looking for an academic position where I could practice neonatology in a well-respected hospital and perform high-quality infectious disease research. Drexel offered both of these things in their Departments of Pediatrics (St. Christopher's Hospital for Children) and Microbiology and Immunology.

What is your current research of clinical interest or administrative interest?

My current research focuses on the neonatal immune system. I have developed a preterm animal model of influenza infection in order to further delineate what makes infants exquisitely sensitive to infections. We are currently investigating potential therapeutic options to ameliorate the robust inflammatory response neonates mount when challenged with an infection.

Is there a professional or personal accomplishment which you would like to share?

I have been extremely lucky to have strong mentorship from both the Department of Pediatrics (Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos, MD) and Department of Microbiology and Immunology (Peter Katsikis MD, PhD). Under their guidance, I was able to develop a new animal model and produce sufficient preliminary data in order to secure a Mentored Physician Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) from the NIH this past spring. This award will help me to bridge to an independent research career over the next several years.

Is there something outside of work that inspires you or about which you are passionate?

The greatest source of inspiration for my research are the NICU patients and their parents. I am consistently amazed with how tenacious and strong a two-pound infant can be. Neonatology is a comparatively new field in medicine and there are many knowledge gaps, which makes it fertile ground for research.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

A career in medicine and science is a marathon, not a sprint, and so pacing yourself is of critical importance. My three children are a constant reminder to pause and enjoy life.

Do you have current mentees? Graduate students, post-doctoral students, medical students, residents or fellows?

Yes, I do. I have been mentoring a young woman for the past two years, who is now a member of Drexel College of Medicine's Class of 2018. She worked in my lab for a year and also shadowed me in the NICU for a month. I have also served as a mentor to several of the neonatology fellows at St. Christopher's Hospital. It's fulfilling to help people navigate choosing the right path in medicine because there are countless options.

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