About the Institute

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Research Institute Leaders

D. Brent Polk, MD

Deputy Director
Richard Simerly, PhD

Vice-Chair, Research
Michele Kipke, PhD

Originally established in 1992, The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Research Institute became The Saban Research Institute following a $40 million gift in support of pediatric research made by Cheryl Saban, PhD, Haim Saban and the Saban Family Foundation. The Saban Research Institute is one of the few freestanding research centers in the U.S. where scientific inquiry is combined with clinical care and is devoted exclusively to children.

According to the Children’s Hospital Association, The Saban Research Institute  of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles ranks eighth in the nation among children’s hospitals in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. 

Our goal is to improve the health and wellness of children through a combination of basic, clinical and translational studies. Research is performed at the lab bench, in the clinic and in the community. And because of where we are located – Los Angeles, CA – the second largest city in the United States, with one of the largest and most diverse populations of children in the world, our community spans the globe.

In our clinical programs, we focus on the individual child. In our community-based programs we study disease entities and conditions effecting populations that range from autism to obesity. In programs like the Critical Care Telemedicine project, we work toward addressing our responsibilities to the international community. We start with treating an individual child, then the community, and finally, the world.

Currently, our research program is built around seven thematic areas. This diverse program allows us to bring together multidisciplinary teams to address issues of child health and disease susceptibility.

Our interdisciplinary, interdepartmental work at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles centers around these major scientific priorities:

Through strategic recruitment, we are continuing to develop and expand our innovative and integrated translational research programs in Developmental Neuroscience and Diabetes and Obesity.

These areas of research focus were created based on an interdisciplinary model. As we try to unravel complicated conditions like cancer, obesity, and autism, we have learned that they are multifactorial. These conditions cannot be tracked back to one single gene or a single bacterium. We are finding that often there is a combination of genetics, physiology and environment and that to better understand these conditions we must approach them in an interdisciplinary way.

Current interdisciplinary projects involve our USC faculty at The Saban Research Institute and at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as well as other collaborators at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, California Institute of Technology and at other institutions around the world.

Our overarching goal is to improve the health and wellness of children, so we would rather prevent disease than treat it. Through our multidisciplinary partnerships between physicians, bench scientists, and representatives from other scientific disciplines, we are striving to identify risks at the genetic level so that early intervention is possible.

We are at an important crossroads in medicine and by effectively harnessing the available technologies linked to our large and uniquely diverse childhood population in Los Angeles, we will be at the forefront of ushering in a new era in child health.