Matthew Laughon: PTN Principal Investigator at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

Matthew Laughon is on a mission to improve children’s health. An associate professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, he not only cares for patients in the North Carolina Children’s Hospital Newborn Critical Care Center, but he also serves as a member of the PTN Steering Committee and as principal investigator of the network’s Pharmacokinetics of Antistaphylococcal Antibiotics in Infants trial and Pharmacokinetics of Sildenafil in Premature Infants trial. These studies will provide important information about drugs that are used in hundreds of infants every day.

Outside of the Pediatric Trials Network, Dr. Laughon also devotes time to clinical trials sponsored by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network, including studies of hydrocortisone, therapeutic hypothermia, and the management of the patent ductus arteriosus. Furthermore, he has played key roles in earlier NIH-sponsored studies of drugs commonly used in pediatric medicine—meropenem (member, Safety Committee) and fluconazole (chair, Data and Safety Monitoring Board).

Thankfully, with so many balls in the air at any given moment, he has a lot of help. In particular, Dr. Laughon is thankful for the staff of the Pediatric Trials Network: Katherine Berezny and Maurine Morris at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, who have been essential to getting the antistaphylococcal and sildenafil trials off the ground; Dave Seigel at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who coordinates activities at the National Institutes of Health; and Ravinder Patel at Emmes, who keeps tabs on data coordinating efforts.

There’s no shortage of help on the home front either. The Laughon household includes wife Sarah, who is a psychiatrist, children Madeleine (age 13) and Christopher (age 11), a cat named Jake, and a dog named Persephone. And in those scant minutes of the day when he’s not working on research or spending time with his family, Dr. Laughon strives to keep fit at his local CrossFit gym.