Bro. Dr. Michael R. DeBaun, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, Biostatistics and Neurology
Attending Physician, Division of Hematology-Oncology
Unit Leader, Patient-Oriented Research

Dr. DeBaun is a native St. Louisan who attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in chemistry, graduated with honors, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.  He then attended Stanford University Medical School where he received his M.D. and his Master’s Degree in Health Services Research. 

Dr. DeBaun returned to St. Louis in 1987 for a pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. There he was selected as a Pediatric Chief Resident and later Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellow. He was subsequently awarded an Epidemiology Fellowship by the United States Public Health Service, which allowed him the opportunity to earn a Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene.

Dr. DeBaun’s efforts regarding hematology have focused on understanding the etiology, and management of cerebrovascular injury in children with sickle cell disease. Dr. DeBaun collaborates with a multi-disciplinary team of investigators from Washington University, including Desirée White PhD-Psychology, Michael Noetzel MD, Neurology, and Robert McKinstry MD, PhD Neuroradiology; James Casella MD, Hematology, Johns Hopkins, and Bruce Barton PhD, Statistics, Baltimore. With his leadership, this team of investigators received funding for the first NIH-sponsored international clinical trial in sickle cell disease, the Silent Cerebral Infarct Multi-Center Trial.

Also in hematology, Dr. DeBaun’s scientific effort has focused on determining the epidemiology, clinical significance and genetic basis for asthma in children with sickle cell anemia. Currently Drs. DeBaun and Strunk (pediatric pulmonology) along with other colleagues at Washington University (Drs. Province, Castro and An), with colleagues at Case Western Reserve (Drs. Redline Rosen, Villella and Craven), and University College London (Drs. Kirkham and Stocks) have developed the first longitudinal cohort of children with sickle cell anemia that are carefully evaluated with repeated pulmonary function tests. This multi-disciplinary team was the first to demonstrate that asthma increases mortality and morbidity in individuals with SCD.

In oncology, Dr. DeBaun has focused on understanding the epidemiology, optimal management and molecular basis for an overgrowth syndrome associated with cancer in children, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). In 1994, Dr. DeBaun established the International BWS Registry. The clinical investigation has been coupled with molecular genetic analysis performed by Dr. Andrew Feinberg from Johns Hopkins. Together they were the first to describe epigenotype and phenotype associations, including cancer and the first to describe the association between in vitro fertilization (IVF), congenital malformation syndromes and epigenotype mutations in children born after IVF.

Since, 1996, Dr. DeBaun has mentored multiple medical students, fellows and faculty in the skill of clinical and translational research. In 2003, Dr. DeBaun became the Program Director for the Doris Duke Clinical Fellowship Program at Washington University School of Medicine, an intensive one year program for medical students to conduct clinical research. In 2002, after a generous donation from John and Allison Ferring, he created The Ferring Scholar Program, a three-year program tailored for talented high school students to have an in depth mentored research experience at Washington University School of Medicine. The program has mentored two cohorts of students over the last six years with a total of 10 young men and 15 young women.

  • B.S., Howard University, 1982 (Chemistry)
  • M.S., Stanford University, 1987 (Health Services Research)
  • M.D., Stanford University, 1987
  • M.P.H., The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, 1993 (Epidemiology)

  • Pediatric Resident, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, 1987-1990
  • Pediatric Chief Resident, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, 1991-1992
  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellow, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, 1990-1993
  • United States Public Health Service Epidemiology Fellowship, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., 1992-1996

Licensure and Board Certification
  • Missouri License, 1991
  • American Board of Pediatrics, 1992
  • American Board of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 1994

  • Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Award, 1999-2004
  • Clinical Teacher of the Year Award, Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, 2002 and 2008
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation Induction, 2006
  • Burroughs Wellcome Translational Research Award, 2007-2012
  • American Association of Physicians Induction, 2008
  • National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, 2009

The following is an article on Bro. DeBaun that appeared in The Oracle, Summer 2007 issue:  Article on Bro. Mike DeBaun

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