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Researcher | Research Overview

Our laboratory works to understand the pathological basis of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the means by which biological vulnerabilities intersect with environmental risk factors, putting infants at risk for sudden and unexpected death. We focus predominately on brain and brainstem mechanisms involved in homeostasis including serotonin, a neurotransmitter found by the laboratory to be abnormal in the brainstem of some SIDS infants. We have also reported evidence of hippocampal abnormalities in SIDS infants; abnormalities that we are pursuing with neuropathological and genetic approaches. New directions in our research include the potential role of peripheral and central inflammatory and biochemical mediators in the brainstem dysfunction in SIDS.

Parallel to our work in the brain, we are also working to identify biomarkers of SIDS risk. Most recently, we have reported elevated levels of serum serotonin in SIDS infants, a finding that suggests peripheral serotonin as one such biomarker.

Our laboratory works in close collaboration with clinicians developing translational approaches to Sudden and Unexpected Death in Pediatrics (SUDP) and molecular geneticists and physiologists studying animal models related to SIDS.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Robin Haynes received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Wake Forest University Medical School where she trained in the mechanisms of oxidative stress and free radical injury. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Hannah Kinney as a post-doctoral fellow to investigate the role of oxidative stress in premature brain injury. She continued in the laboratory of Dr. Kinney as an Instructor to train in the areas of human brain development and neuropathology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Upon the retirement of Dr. Kinney, Dr. Haynes assumed the role of Principal Investigator of the laboratory and continues to focus her research on the pathology underlying SIDS.


Researcher | Publications