Bernadette M. Levesque, MD
|Hospital Title||Assistant in Medicine|
|Academic Title||Instructor in Pediatrics|
|Bernadette M. Levesque|
|Location||St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center|
Dr. Levesque’s research focuses on regulation of prenatal and post-natal lung development, use of biomarkers in early diagnosis of chronic lung disease and retinopathy of prematurity, interplay of clinical management approaches and neonatal outcomes, and clinical quality improvement research.
Lung development begins early in gestation and continues until at least 2-3 years of age. Disruptions in lung development can result in lung malformations, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), and lung hypoplasia as well as subsequent exercise intolerance, lifelong reduction in alveolar number, and impaired pulmonary function in adulthood. Understanding the mechanisms of both prenatal and post-natal lung development offers an opportunity to better understand the etiology of lung disease and to develop new treatments. Dr. Leveque’s research has focused regulation of lung development by transcription factors, hormones, and growth factors. Her research to date has aimed to better understand the very early stages of lung development, explore clinically evident gender differences in lung development, and assess the contribution of mechanical forces in regulation of angiogenesis in the lung.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is critical for lung vascular development and alveolarization and for development of the retina. Under the mentorship of Dr. Donald Ingber of the Children’s Hospital Boston Vascular Biology Program, Dr. Levesque studied the impact of mechanical forces on VEGF production in the lung. This led to a productive collaboration with Dr. Linda Van Marter and the Newborn Medicine SCOR group that aims to develop a simple urine test to identify newborn infants who are at high at risk for developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and/or retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). While still early in its development, this test could offer insight into the impact of clinical management variables, such as the use of mechanical ventilation, on postnatal lung and eye development and may offer an opportunity for early preventive treatment for BPD and/or ROP.
While Dr. Levesque is fascinated by the biology and pathophysiology that underlies neonatal lung disease, she also recognizes the importance of the practical application of advances in neonatal research to clinical care. As such, her current projects also focus on clinical quality improvement efforts with a particular focus on neonatal respiratory management.
About Bernadette Levesque
Education and Training:
1987, B.S Biology, Philosophy, St. John’s University (Magna Cum Laude)
1991, M.D Albany Medical College
1991-1994 Residency in Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical Center
1995-1998 Fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Tufts Medical Center
2002-2004 Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, Children’s Hospital Boston (M.E. Sunday, PI)
Member and past Secretary, Vice Chairperson, and Chairperson of New England Association of Neonatologists
Member, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Levesque BM, Kalish LA, LaPierre J, Welch M, Porter V. Impact of Implementing 5 Potentially Better Respiratory Practices on Neonatal Outcomes and Costs. Pediatrics 2011 Jul;128(1):e218- 26. Epub 2011 Jun 13
- Levesque BM, Zhou S, Shan L, Johnston P, Kong Y, Degan S, Sunday ME. NPAS1 regulates branching morphogenesis in embryonic lung.; Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2007;36(4):427-34
- Levesque BM, Vosatka RJ, Nielsen. Dihydrotestosterone stimulates branching morphogenesis, cell proliferation, and programmed cell death in mouse embryonic lung explants. Pediatr Res 2000;47:481-91
Levesque BM, Pollack P, Griffin BE, Nielsen HC. Pulse oximetry: What’s normal in the newborn nursery? Pediatr Pulmonol 2000;30(5):406-12