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 pregnant women 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 women 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.

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 breastfeeding including in professional journals and textbooks, including original research on drug excretion into breastmilk. 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 Dr. Anderson is a member of the Editorial Board of the professional journal, Breastfeeding Medicine, and writes a monthly column on medication use during breastfeeding 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 women. 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 ( 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.

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.

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 breast 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.


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 breastfeeding mothers, collection of biospecimens, preparation of breast 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.

Mallory Boutin, MA 
Research Coordinator
University of California, San Diego

Mallory Boutin is the Research Coordinator for the UC San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego Division of Neonatology. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2008 and received a Master’s in Public Health with a dual concentration in Community/Population Health and Epidemiology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2012.  In her role with the Division of Neonatology, Mallory is responsible for the management and execution of the Division’s various clinical and translational research activities. In her free time, Mallory enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and their English Bulldog.

Elise Deibert
Research Assistant
University of California, San Diego

Elise Deibert is a Research Assistant the UCSD Breast Milk Biorepository Study. She is responsible for recruiting, consenting and interviewing breastfeeding women as well as the collection of biospecimens.

Elise previously worked as a Workers’ Compensation insurance underwriter. When she returned to the workforce after raising her family, she has worked for the U.S. Census Bureau, National Children’s Study and Ready, Set, Go: San Diego (a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder study). Elise is a San Diego native but lived in Coeur d’Alene, ID for 8 years.

Kara Sunderland, BSN,RN, PHN, IBCLC, MLD Therapist
Research Lactation Consultant Nurse
University of California, San Diego

As a Research Lactation Consultant Nurse for the UCSD Division of Neonatology and the Bode Lab, Kara provides care to research subjects as well as coordinates and manages clinical research studies.

Jolene Borchelt, MSW
University of California, San Diego

Jolene Borchelt is a child psychometrist at the Center for Better Beginnings. She graduated from UMass Boston in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and went on to Simmons College where she graduated with a Masters in Social Work in 2014. Jolene moved to San Diego from Boston, MA in 2014 with her husband, cats, and chinchillas.

As part of the neurodevelopmental follow-up program, Jolene sends, receives, and scores questionnaires and completes face-to-face assessments with children. She loves that her job allows her to meet with moms and kids and follow their development over time.