Gregory Heldt, MD is a board-certified in pediatric and is a Professor in Pediatrics at UC San Diego. Dr. Heldt's research interests concern surfactant replacement therapy, new methods of mechanical ventilation, and the pathogenesis of Group-B Beta-hemolytic Streptococcal (GBS) sepsis.
Lab Focus: Surfactant Function and Replacement Therapy
The Heldt Lab was involved in the development of the synthetic surfactant KL-4 and performs both routine assays of pre-production surfactant and basic investigations into surfactant function. These include determination of alveolar expansion and surfactant distribution using a pleural window and video microscopy, static and dynamic mechanics measurements, the effects of different ventilatory pressure strategies in the first breaths of life, and surfactant-inhibition studies. Dr. Heldt has formed a number of collaborations with industry to develop a new ventilator for producing synchronized mechanical ventilation, neural-activated ventilation, and proportional-assist ventilation. Basic physiology studies in the laboratory are being directly translated into clinical protocols for testing these modalities of ventilation in infants. He is also developing a reflectance type of pulse oximeter. In collaboration with Dr. Victor Nizet, he is investigating the basic mechanisms of GBS sepsis using newborn rabbits. In both short- and long-term experiments, the role of lung defenses, as modulated by surfactant is being studied. He is also studying the role of adhesion molecules in the lungs as a mechanism of defense.