Research at Children’s

How We Improve the Present and Future

Researcher in LabResearch is an important part of the Children’s mission.  We work with our neighboring academic and scientific institutions to answer to the most difficult childhood medical conditions through research. Those institutions include:

Our research collaborations are made possible through a growing amount of funding. Children’s is affiliated with Emory University’s Department of Pediatrics, one of the fastest growing recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in the country.

To further support this level of research, we have a 200,000-square-foot health sciences research building just steps away from our Egleston hospital.

For additional information about research at Children's, please contact us by submitting our online form. For a complete listing of clinical trials available at Emory University, visit



    Avi Gates, an active, independent 3-year-old, does not have autism. But for two years, she was a participant in an autism research study aimed at changing the very nature of the disease. Learn why Avi's parent's chose to participate in autism research at Marcus Autism Center.


Common Questions About Pediatric Research

  • What is research?

      Research is done to help answer a question. At Children’s, our research studies try to answer questions about the health of infants, toddlers, adolescents and teens. Some involve a medical treatment, such as a drug or a test, while others do not. 

      By using what we find out through research, we provide quality care to our patients and work to ensure that doctors and staff at Children’s are informed about the most current treatments. Funding for research comes from many sources, including donations.

  • What are clinical trials?

      A clinical trial is a research study that involves a medical treatment. It looks at the safety or success of a drug, device or medical procedure. The goal of a clinical trial is to use what is learned to improve care or find a cure. 

      Sometimes the words “research study” and “clinical trial” are used to mean the same thing. Other words that might be used are clinical study, drug study, research protocol, experimental trial, medical research or drug trial.  A researcher or investigator performs the clinical trial.

  • Why is it important for children to enroll in research?

      Research studies are the building blocks that lead to medical breakthroughs and cures. New studies build on the results of past research studies and current treatments. Most clinical trials use adults, and the products of them aren’t made with children in mind. 

      Clinical research with children allows us tailor our treatments for them. This means finding ways to make medicine easier for kids to take and finding treatments for conditions that only affect kids.

      While most studies are not done to help a specific child, there are still benefits to participating in research. The potential benefits include helping future generations, having access to new treatments, and having closer monitoring or testing.

  • How is research different from care?

      Sometimes it can be hard to see the difference. The people, setting and treatments may be the same. But the purpose of each is different.

      Research is done to help find an applicable treatment for a large population with a certain condition. It also helps answer questions that will affect the future of these populations. Standard care generally focuses on individual needs.

  • How can I participate?

      Children’s has many clinical research studies that are currently enrolling patients. The doctors and nurses at Children’s can help you gather the information you need to locate a study that is right for your child. 

      You can ask your child’s doctor if a research study might be right for your child. Your child’s doctor is a good resource to discuss enrollment in research studies because he or she knows your child and his health history.

      Visit to find a Children’s clinical trial. Search for “Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta” and your child’s condition.

  • How is my child protected during a research study?

      Research can have risks, but there are many people that review a study in detail before any children are enrolled. Most research studies go through multiple stages of testing before the procedure or medication can be used on children.

      At Children’s, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must look at and approve a research study before it can start. The IRB makes sure the patient’s rights and welfare are protected. It includes doctors, nurses, psychologists and statisticians among others who make sure research is done the right way. 

      Researchers at Children’s follow clearly defined government rules for protecting patients enrolled in research. There are special protections for children that are involved in research.  

  • What should I expect?

      Researchers will explain the study to you and your child and answer any questions you may have. As part of this process, called “informed consent”, you may be asked to read and sign a consent form that describes:

      - The purpose of the study
      - Procedures, risks and benefits
      - Alternatives to participating
      - The cost of taking part in the study
      - Who to contact with questions or problems

      During the study, researchers will review the information learned from the study. They will tell you if they find that it is not safe for your child to continue in the study. If this happens, your child will be taken out of the study immediately.

      You can take your child out of the research study at any time. Your access to standard care for your child will not change in any way if you decide to remove your child from the study. 

  • What are the possible benefits and risks of research?

      Research gives us information that may help improve the health, medical care or quality of your child’s life. The research study is not a guarantee that your child’s health will improve. 

      You are encouraged to talk with your child, your child’s doctor and your family members before deciding to take part. You are also encouraged to ask questions.  Some questions you may want to ask about a treatment include:

      - Which treatment do you advise and why?
      - What is the chance the treatment will work?
      - How will we know if the treatment works?
      - What are the known risks of the treatment?
      - How long will the treatment last?
      - How much will the treatment cost and who will pay for it?
      - How can I help prepare my child for the treatment?
      - What alternatives are available for my child?

Video: Brain Tumor Research

Brain Tumor ResearchView

Doctors at Children’s are collaborating on several research projects for pediatric brain tumors including the Tumor Excavation Project, which could be a game-changer for kids and teens who have tumors that are considered inoperable. Our goal is try to move deep-seeded tumors to a place where they can be operable or killed. 


Video: Meet Sarah: A Diabetes Research Participant

Meet Sarah: A Diabetes Research ParticipantView

Every day, more than 6,000 children and young adults in Georgia with diabetes go to school, play sports, have friends and do pretty much everything they did before they found out they had diabetes. Children's sees about 400 newly diagnosed patients with diabetes every year, caring for nearly 4,000 families.


More Information

For Professionals

Learn more about the Pediatric Research Center and access additional information and resources.