Rebecca A. Simmons, MD

Rebecca Simmons, MD, is an attending neonatologist with the Division of Neonatology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Areas of Expertise: Developmental aspects of glucose transport, Intrauterine growth retardation and diabetes
Locations: Main Campus; CHOP Newborn Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)

  • Background

    I am a neonatologist interested in fetal growth retardation. Studies suggest that intrauterine growth retardation is associated with a higher risk of obesity, insulin resistance and adult-onset diabetes. My colleagues and I have developed an intrauterine growth retardation model that shows the development of insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. My goal is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the development of diabetes.

    In the lab, we are currently focusing on mitochondrial dysfunction in the b-cell. We are measuring mitochondrial function in pancreatic islets and the gene expression and activity of several enzymes that are key to energy production. We will soon determine whether our animal models develop hepatic insulin resistance. Also, in collaboration with Drs. Franz Matschinsky and Morris Birnbaum at the University of Pennsylvania, a variety of experimental techniques are used, including perfusion studies of isolated islets, measurements of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and utilization using radiolabeled glucose analogs, in vivo euglycemic clamp and oral glucose tolerance studies, RT-PCR, differential display PCR, and Northern and Western Blot analyses.

  • Education and Training

    Medical School

    MD - University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ


    Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL
    Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL


    Pediatrics - University of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, AZ


    Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA

    Board Certification

    Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

  • Titles and Academic Titles

    Attending Neonatologist

    Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

  • Departments and Services
  • Research Interests
  • Publications



    Tran PV, Kennedy BC, Lien YC, Simmons RA, Georgieff MK. Fetal iron deficiency induces chromatin remodeling at the Bdnf locus in adult rat hippocampus. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Dec 17:ajpregu.00429.2014. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00429.2014. [Epub ahead of print]. Read the abstract.


    Simmons RA: Preclampsia and prematurity as precursors to adolescent obesity. J Pediatr 162: 889-890, 2013.

    Simmons RA: Programming of DNA methylation in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 56: 947-948, 2013. Invited commentary.


    Pinney SE, Simmons R: Metabolic programming, epigenetics, and gestational diabetes mellitus. Curr Diab Rep 12: 67-74, 2012.

    Simmons RA: Developmental Origins of Diabetes: The Role of Oxidative Stress. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 26: 701-708, 2012, NIHMS 375424.


    Simmons RA: Abnormalities of Fetal Growth in Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. SU Devaskar, CA Gleason (eds.). WB Saunders, Philadelphia, Page: 51-59, 2011.

    Simmons RA: Cell glucose transport and glucose handling during fetal and neonatal development. Fetal and Neonatal Physiology Fourth Edition. R Poin, W Fox, S Abman (eds.). Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, Page: 560-568, 2011.

    Simmons R: Epigenetics and maternal nutrition: nature v. nurture. Proc Nutri Soc 70: 73-81, 2011.

    French HM, Simmons RA: Infant of a Diabetic Mother in Rudolph's Pediatrics, 22nd edition. Rudolph's Pediatrics. C Rudoloh, G Lister, A Gershon, L First, A Rudolph (eds.). McGraw-Hill, New York, 2011.


    Sen S, Simmons RA. Maternal Antioxidant Supplementation Prevents Adiposity in the Offspring of Western diet-fed Dams. Diabetes. Epub 2010 Sep 7.  Read the abstract.