I am a neonatologist interested in cardiac development, particularly in the development of the conotruncal region of the heart. Neural crest cells, which migrate to the developing heart from the neural tube, are essential for normal conotruncal development. Disruption of the normal migration or function of these cells in animal models recapitulates many of the features of DiGeorge syndrome seen in humans, including conotruncal cardiac defects such as persistent truncus arteriosus and interrupted aortic arch.

One focus of my research program is to understand how neural crest cells interact with other cells in the developing outflow tract during conotruncal development. A second focus of my research program is to elucidate the role of members of the Sox family of transcription factors, particularly Sox4 and the closely related transcription factor Sox11, in cardiac development. I have recently cloned the Sox4 gene and am using a variety of techniques, including in situ hybridization and expression of sense, antisense and dominant negative Sox gene transcripts by adeno- and retroviruses to study the function of Sox4 and Sox11 during cardiac development.

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX


Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH


University of California at San Francisco, CA

Board Certification

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine – American Board of Pediatrics
Pediatrics – American Board of Pediatrics

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Neonatologist

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

Departments and Services




Luo J, Shepard S, Nilan K, Wood A, Monk HM, Jensen EA, Harrington AT, Maschhoff K, Kirpalani H, Feng Z, Zhang H. Improved growth and developmental activity post tracheostomy in preterm infants with severe BPD. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2018 Jul 3. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24087. [Epub ahead of print] Read the abstract.