Meet Our Staff

Program Director

Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH
Program Director, Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Chambers, Program Director of Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository, is a professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego and Director of Clinical Research for Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. She is a perinatal epidemiologist, whose research is focused on environmental exposures and pregnancy and child health outcomes, including birth defects. She co-directs the Center for Better Beginnings in the Department of Pediatrics at UCSD and is the Program Director of MotherToBaby California – an information-based service providing individualized risk assessments for people who are pregnant and their providers in the State of California. She is a founding principal investigator for the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS) which is the first national system to evaluate medication and vaccine safety in human pregnancy, currently funded by the US DHHS, CDC, FDA and the National Vaccine Program Office.  She headed the National Children’s Study San Diego site, and has conducted extensive research on improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Dr. Chambers’ currently funded research activities include a set of North American cohort studies evaluating the impact of autoimmune diseases and the medications used to treat them on pregnancy outcomes, a California Native American Research Center project testing the effectiveness of a web-based vs. a peer health educator model for preventing risky alcohol consumption in people of childbearing age, a comparative effectiveness study of asthma medications in pregnancy, a North American-wide fetal safety study of influenza vaccine and antiviral drugs used in pregnancy, and a study to establish the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for the first time in the U.S. Her international clinical research projects are focused on addressing medication and vaccine safety in pregnancy as well as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and involve studies focused on prevention and intervention in Ukraine, Russia, South Africa, with collaborations in Australia and Poland.

Co-Program Director

David Boyle, BA
Co-Program Director, Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Biorepository
Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine
Co-Director, Translational Research Technology Division, Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute
University of California, San Diego

David Boyle, Co-Program Director of Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Biorepository, is an internationally recognized researcher in the development and application of biomarker analysis to clinical research, in particular synovial pathology in rheumatoid arthritis. In his role as co-director of the Translational Research Technology (TRT) Division, he has guided and transformed it into a one-stop shop of flexible laboratory-based services for translational studies. Under his leadership, the TRT laboratories have provided services for over 99 biomarker projects, performed more than 18,000 biomarker assays, and processed more than 19,000 biosamples. He has been instrumental in establishing the biorespository storage for the Mommy’s Milk samples and works closely with Dr. Chambers to lead the evaluation of best practices for collection, storage and analysis of samples to inform biorepository methods for a number of similar repositories being established throughout the world.

Steering Committee

Phillip Anderson, PharmD, FCSHP, FASHP
Health Sciences Clinical Professor
University of California, San Diego

Philip O. Anderson, Pharm.D., FCSHP, FASHP is a Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pharmacy at the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences where he heads the course on drug information.

Dr. Anderson has lectured and published extensively on drug use during chestfeeding including in professional journals and textbooks, including original research on drug excretion into human milk. Dr. Anderson founded the LactMed® database, which is part of the National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET family of databases. He continues to write all LactMed® records and to expand the database. He has authored the medication appendix to the popular handbook, The Nursing Mothers’ Companion, as well as the drugs and breastfeeding list on BabyCenter.com. Dr. Anderson is a member of the Editorial Board of the professional journal, Breastfeeding Medicine, and writes a monthly column on medication use during chestfeeding for the journal. He has also been a consultant to the US Food and Drug Administration on the topic of drug labeling with respect to use during lactation.

Brookie Best, PharmD, MAS
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pediatrics

Associate Dean for Admissions and Outreach
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Brookie Best specializes in pharmacokinetics–the processes by which a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated by the body–and pediatric clinical pharmacology research. Her research efforts have focused on studying anti-HIV drugs in infants, children, adolescents, non-pregnant adults, and pregnant adults. She also studies drugs used to treat Kawasaki disease, the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. She has specific interests and expertise in maternal-fetal clinical pharmacology, therapeutic drug monitoring of antiretrovirals, antiretroviral pharmacogenomics, and penetration of antiretrovirals into the central nervous system.

Lars Bode, PhD, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Neonatology and Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
President, International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML)

Dr. Lars Bode is Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology and the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine (http://www.bodelab.com). He is also President of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) and serves on the Editorial Board for the journal Advances in Nutrition.

Dr. Bode received both his Master of Science and PhD degree in Nutritional Sciences from the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany and completed a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, studying the effects of Human Milk Oligosaccharides on selectin-mediated cell-cell interactions in the immune system. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California, he was appointed as Staff Scientist in 2006. During that time he made major contributions in elucidating the central role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans and heparin in pathogenesis and therapy of protein-losing enteropathy. Dr. Bode was recruited to the University of California, San Diego in 2009 and is since leading a research program dedicated to investigating human milk oligosaccharide biosynthesis and potential benefits for infant health and development. Dr. Bode also serves on the Steering Committee of the San Diego Breast Milk Tissue Repository and leads the development of the Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (MoMI CoRE) in San Diego.

Eyla Boies​, MD, FAAP
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Boies is a board-certified pediatrician who has provided primary care for infants, children and adolescents through all of their developmental stages. Her areas of clinical expertise include assisting parents who are experiencing difficulties chestfeeding their newborns and parental vaccine uncertainty, and her research interests include pediatric infectious diseases and premature infant nutrition. Dr. Boies established and continues to serve as medical director of the Premature Infant Nutrition Clinic where recently discharged premature infants and their mothers are evaluated and receive help in breastfeeding while assuring proper growth and nutrition.

Jae Kim, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

University of California, San Diego

Jae Kim is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego with dual appointments in the Divisions of Neonatology and Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. He received his medical degree and PhD from the University of Toronto in Canada. His special areas of clinical and research interests include neonatal nutrition, neonatal bowel injury, bedside ultrasound and resuscitation. His current active research centers on optimizing human milk feeding for the premature infant, pioneering the use of bedside ultrasound in the NICU and innovation in resuscitation in resource limited settings. He is the Director for the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program at UC San Diego and the Nutrition Director of an innovative, nationally recognized multidisciplinary program to advance premature infant nutrition at UC San Diego called SPIN (Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition). He is the co-author of the book, Best Medicine: Human Milk in the NICU.

Victor Nizet, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Basic Research, Department of Pediatrics
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Nizet is Chief of the Division of Host-Microbe Systems and Therapeutics, a unique Division in the UCSD Department of Pediatrics that brings together a diverse group of scientists and physicians for interdisciplinary research on the interactions of humans and the microbial world in both health and disease. Fundamental principles of microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, the “-OMICs” (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and the human microbiome) and state-of-the-art systems biology are focused on the pathogenesis of common childhood infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders, to inspire innovative discovery programs and translational studies of new drugs and interventions to restore optimal health in childhood and throughout life. Dr. Nizet’s interests lie in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of bacteria and the immune system, with a special focus on invasive and antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Jason Sauberan, PharmD
Clinical Research Pharmacist
Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns

Jason is an experienced Neonatal-Perinatal clinical pharmacist.  He currently serves as Clinical Research Pharmacist with the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns in San Diego, California. Jason’s main research and practice interests include drugs in human milk and pediatric infectious disease therapy, drug formulations, medication safety, and drug information. He is an assistant author of the National Library of Medicine’s LactMed database, co-editor of the AAP Nelson’s Guide to Pediatric Antimicrobial Therapy, and author of the neonatal-pediatric dosing tables in the AAP Red Book. He has spoken to numerous groups locally and nationally on medication use during lactation, he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards  for MothertoBaby California and Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository, and is a member of the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition.

Lisa Stellwagen, MD, FAAP
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Stellwagen is a pediatrician, neonatal hospitalist, and the Medical Director of the Newborn Service at UCSD Health. Her clinical areas of interest are infant nutrition, human milk feeding, and common medical issues in the newborn period, and her research interests include human milk quality and storage, maternal milk production, and promoting human milk feeding – in both term and pre-term infants – to improve infant outcomes.

Dr. Stellwagen led the team that resulted in UCSD Health’s Baby Friendly Certification in 2006 and recertification in 2011; she continues to work on quality improvement in the chestfeeding program. Dr. Stellwagen and colleagues started the UCSD SPIN (Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition) Program in 2008, which brings together the lactation service, dietary service, occupational and physical therapy, NICU nurses and physicians in a multidisciplinary team to improve neonatal nutrition and human milk feeding in the NICU setting. In 2017 Dr. Stellwagen and fellow Mommy’s Milk Steering Committee member Dr. Jae Kim launched the development of the San Diego Mother’s Milk Bank, with aims to improve provision of donor milk in Southern California.

Staff

Kerri Bertrand, MPH
Research Manager
University of California, San Diego

Kerri Bertrand is the Research Manager for the UCSD Breast Milk Biorepository study. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2010 and received a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from San Diego State University in 2013.

As the Research Manager for the UCSD Breast Milk Biorepository study, Kerri is responsible for the recruitment and enrollment of people who are chestfeeding, collection of biospecimens, preparation of human milk samples for freezing, data entry, review of medical records, report generation, presentations, community outreach, and grant proposals. She looks forward to working closely with the community to contribute to the research already being done in the maternal and child health field!

Kerri was born and raised in East Hampton, New York and moved to San Diego with her husband, Lee, in 2011.  They welcomed a baby girl, Summer Rose, into the world in September 2015.  In her spare time, Kerri likes to be outdoors and enjoys going to the beach, hiking, camping, and exploring new areas.

Haley Henry, BS
Pyschometrist
University of California, San Diego

Haley Henry is a psychometrist for the Developmental Follow-Up Program at UCSD. Previously, she served as a Clinical Research Specialist at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh where she also worked as a research assistant. Haley plans to continue contributing to research that seeks to improve the developmental outcomes of children.

Kelly Kao, BA
Program Manager
University of California, San Diego

Kelly is the Program Manager at MotherToBaby California. She has been with MotherToBaby California since 1993. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of California, San Diego with minors in Biology and Spanish Literature. She became interested in prenatal environmental exposures that cause birth defects and long-term developmental effects when she took a Sociology of Law course that examined the death penalty case of a man who was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). She actively demonstrates her dedication to educating the community about prenatal environmental exposures through her outreach activities, lectures, and research projects.

Violet Webb, MS.Ed.
Pyschometrist
University of California, San Diego

Violet Webb is a Psychometrist and Research Associate in the Developmental Follow-Up Program at MotherToBaby. She attended San Francisco State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In 2017, she went on to receive her Masters of Science and Advanced Certificate in Educational Psychology from CUNY Brooklyn. Violet is passionate about working with children and contributing to the research that will provide insight about child development. Her goal is to provide assessments that are both fun and comfortable for parent and child.

Sample Storage

Altman Clinical and Translation Research Institute (ACTRI) Biorepository 

Mommy’s Milk samples are housed at the ACTRI Biorepository, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Grant UL1TR000100 of CTSA funding prior to August 13, 2015 and is currently supported by Grant UL1TR001442 of CTSA funding beginning August 13, 2015 and beyond. For more information on the ACTRI Biorepository.