Director, Residency Program – IMPACT Global Health Track
Director, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program
Attending Physician

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC
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Pia S. Pannaraj, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and Infectious Disease Specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She serves as the Director of the Pediatric Immunization Advancement Laboratory and CHLA’s Pediatric Global Health Education Program.

Dr. Pannaraj’s global research focuses on maternal and infant vaccinations, optimizing vaccination strategies in the community setting, and improving vaccine immunity.  She seeks to better understand infant immune development, responses to mucosal vaccination, and the influence of breast milk and gut microbes on immune responses.

Dr. Pannaraj serves on the Board of Directors for the California Immunization Coalition and has been appointed to an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) expert panel for a Global Immunizations Initiative. She is invited to lecture nationally and internationally on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, maternal vaccinations, neonatal health and the microbiome.

Dr. Pannaraj completed her Infectious Diseases fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and Master of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She finished medical school and residency training in pediatrics at University of California, San Diego. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics and Biology from the University of Chicago.

Clinical Interests

Global Health


Medical School: 

University of California, San Diego


University of California, San Diego


University of California, San Diego


Baylor College of Medicine



Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics; Infectious Diseases, American Board of Pediatrics; American Society of Tropical Medicine, Hygiene Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler’s Health

Professional Memberships: 

American Academy of Pediatrics; American Medical Association; Infectious Disease Society of America: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene: Association of Pediatric Program Directors


National Institutes of Health K23 Child Health Research Career Development Award, 2013-2018 American Academy of Pediatrics and United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Campaign Minigrant Award, 2013; Thrasher Research Fund Award, 2009-11


Change in Saliva RT-PCR Sensitivity Over the Course of SARS-CoV-2 Infection. JAMA. 2021 Aug 13. Online ahead of print. View in Pubmed

Increased viral variants in children and young adults with impaired humoral immunity and persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection: A consecutive case series EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr 26; 67:103355. View in PubMed

In-depth analysis of laboratory parameters reveals the interplay between sex, age, and systemic inflammation in individuals with COVID-19 Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Apr; 105:579-587. View in PubMed

Saliva Is a Promising Alternative Specimen for the Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Children and Adults J Clin Microbiol. 2021 01 21; 59(2). View in PubMed

The Microbiota of the Human Mammary Ecosystem Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020; 10:586667. View in PubMed

Beyond the Bacterial Microbiome: Virome of Human Milk and Effects on the Developing Infant Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2020; 94:86-93. View in PubMed

Contributions to human breast milk microbiome and enteromammary transfer of Bifidobacterium breve PLoS One. 2020; 15(1):e0219633. View in PubMed

Intervention to reduce carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in a neonatal intensive care unit Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020 06; 41(6):710-715. View in PubMed

SENTINEL1: Two-Season Study of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Hospitalizations among US. Infants Born at 29 to 35 Weeks' Gestational Age Not Receiving Immunoprophylaxis. Am J Perinatol. 2020 03; 37(4):421-429. View in PubMed

Early exposure to antibiotics in the neonatal intensive care unit alters the taxonomic and functional infant gut microbiome J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Nov 19; 1-9. View in PubMed

Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Children's Hospitals: 2014-2017 Pediatrics. 2019 09; 144(3). View in PubMed

Impact of Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Confirmed Hospitalizations on Caregivers of US Preterm Infants Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2019 07; 58(8):837-850. View in PubMed

Vaccine health beliefs and educational influences among pediatric residents Vaccine. 2019 02 04; 37(6):857-862. View in PubMed

Mother's Milk: A Purposeful Contribution to the Development of the Infant Microbiota and Immunity Front Immunol. 2018; 9:361. View in PubMed

Quantification of variation and the impact of biomass in targeted 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies Microbiome. 2018 09 10; 6(1):155. View in PubMed

Shared and Distinct Features of Human Milk and Infant Stool Viromes Front Microbiol. 2018; 9:1162. View in PubMed

Meta-analysis of effects of exclusive breastfeeding on infant gut microbiota across populations Nat Commun. 2018 10 09; 9(1):4169. View in PubMed

Association Between Breast Milk Bacterial Communities and Establishment and Development of the Infant Gut Microbiome JAMA Pediatr. 2017 07 01; 171(7):647-654. View in PubMed

Research Interests: 

Vaccines, Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Maternal Immunizations, Herd Immunity, Microbiome

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