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Michael S. Caplan , MD

Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
Chief Scientific Officer, Research Institute
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

Contact Information


  • Undergraduate: BS, Biology, University of Illinois, 1980
  • Medical School: MD, Medicine, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, 1984
  • Residency: Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 1985-1987
  • Fellowship: Neonatology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 1987-1989

Research and Academic Interests

  • To understand the pathophysiology of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis, and to design specific strategies to prevent the disease.
  • To determine human milk factors that benefit neonatal outcomes and intestinal health.

Honors and Awards

  • Graduated with honors, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, 1984
  • Best Resident Teacher, 1984-1985
  • Kenney Award, Best Fellow Presentation, Midwest Society of Pediatric Research, 1989
  • Sutherland Award, Best Research Presentation by Young Faculty, Midwest Society of Pediatric Research, 1991
  • NIH Clinical Investigator Award, 1993-1998
  • Research Scholar Award, Women’s Auxiliary, Evanston Hospital Corporation, 1995-1998
  • Jonas Salk Health Services Award, March of Dimes, 2000
  • Research Career Development Award, Evanston Northwestern Hospital, 2004
  • NIH Study Section Permanent Member, Gastrointestinal Mucosal Pathobiology, 2006-2010
  • Program Chairman, NIH/NICHD Neonatal Research Network, , 2006-2011
  • Co-Chair, NICHD Symposium: New Frontiers for Neonatal NEC, June 2006
  • Member, NIH Pediatric Therapeutic Panel, Grant Reviewer, 2014-2017
  • Co-Chair, International Neonatal Consortium Task Force, NEC, 2017-


  • Mead Johnson Nutritionals: (Caplan Co-PI): DHA supplementation in ELBW infants. 2017-2019, $175,000
  • NIH: ECHO Grant (Caplan Co-PI): Early microbiome and developmental outcomes. 2016-2021

Scholarly Work

Publications in Peer-Review Journals:

  • Robinson DT, Caplan M, Carlson SE, Yoder R, Murthy K, Frost B: Early docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acid supplementation in extremely-low-birth-weight infants. Pediatr Res 80: 505-510, 2016.
  • Rodriguez N, Vento M, Claud E, Caplan M: Oropharyngeal administration of mother’s colostrum, health outcomes of premature infants: study protocol for a randomized trial. Trials 16: 453-458, 2015.
  • Rodriguez N, Caplan M: Oropharyngeal Administration of Mother’s Milk to prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis in extremely low-birth-weight infants: Theoretical Perspectives. J Perinat Neonat Nurs 29: 81-90: 2015.
  • Robinson D, Caplan M: Linking fat intake, the intestinal microbiome, and necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants. Pediatr Res 77:121-126, 2015.
  •  Frost B, Jilling T, Maheshwari A, Caplan M: Maternal breast milk transforming growth factor beta and feeding intolerance in preterm infants. Pediatr Res 76: 386-396, 2014.
  •  Carlisle E, Poroyko V, Caplan M, Alverdy J, Morowitz M, Liu D: Murine gut microbiota and transcriptome are diet dependent. Ann Surg 257: 297-294, 2013. 
  • Wu, S, Chiu, H, Chen, A, Lin, H, Lin, H, Caplan, M: Efficacy of different probiotic combinations on death and necrotizing enterocolitis in a premature rat model. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 57: 23-28, 2013.
  • Robinson, D.T., Carlson, S, Frost, B, Caplan, M: Docosahexaenoic and arachidonic Acid levels in extremely low birth weight infants with prolonged exposure to intravenous lipids, J Pediatr 162 (1): p. 56-61, 2013.
  • Rodriquez NA, Groer MW, Zeller JM, Engstrom JL, Fogg L, Du H, Caplan MS: A randomized controlled trial of the oropharyngeal administration of mother’s colostrum to extremely low birth weight infants in the first days of life. Neonatal Intensive Care 24 (4): 31-35, 2011.
  • Carlisle EM, Poroyko V, Caplan MS, Alverdy JA, Liu D: Gram negative bacteria are associated with the early stages of necrotizing enterocolitis. PLoS ONE; 6 (3): e18084, 2011.
  • Soliman T, Michelsen C, Crothers T, Arditi M, Lu J, Qu X, Caplan MS, Jilling T, Platelet-Activating Factor induces TLR4 expression in intestinal enterocolitis. PLoS One; 5(10): e15044, 2010.
  • Lu J, Pierce M, Franklin A, Jilling T, Stafforini D, Caplan MS: Dual Roles of PAF-acetylhydrolase in a neonatal model of necrotizing enterocolitis. Pediatr Res 2010: 68: 225-230.
  • Chaaban, H Lim Y-P, Caplan MS, Padbury J: Inter-alpha Inhibitor Protein Level in Neonates Predicts Necrotizing Enterocolitis. J Pediatr 2010: 157: 757-761.
  • Caplan, MS: Probiotic and prebiotic supplementation for the prevention of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis. J Perinatol 2009: 29: S2-6.
  • Lu J, Li D, Jilling T, Caplan M. Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation alters pro-inflammatory gene expression and reduces the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis in a neonatal rat model. Pediatr Res 2007; 61:427-432.
  • Jilling T, Simon D, Lu J, Meng FJ, Li D, Schy R, Thomson RB, Soliman A, Arditi M, Caplan MS. The roles of bacteria and TLR4 in rat and murine models of necrotizing enterocolitis. J Immunol 2006; 177:3273-82. 
  • Jilling T, Lu J, Jackson M, Caplan MS: Intestinal epithelial apoptosis initiates gross bowel necrosis in an experimental model of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis. Biol Neonate, 85: 159-166, 2004.
  • Caplan MS, Miller-Catchpole R, Kaup S, Russell T, Lickerman M, Amer M, Xiao Y, Thomson R: Bifidobacterial supplementation reduces the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis in a neonatal rat model. Gastroenterol 117: 577-583, 1999.
  • Caplan MS, Lickerman M, Adler L, Dietsch GN, and Yu A: The role of recombinant platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase in a neonatal rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis. Pediatr Res 42: 779-883, 1997.
  • Caplan MS, Hedlund E, Adler L, Lickerman M, Hsueh W: The PAF receptor antagonist WEB 2170 prevents neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis in rats. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 24: 296-301, 1997.
  • Caplan MS, Hedlund E, Adler L, Hsueh W: Role of asphyxia and feeding in a neonatal rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis. Pediatr Pathol, 14: 1017-1028, 1994.
  • Caplan, MS, Sun XM, Hsueh W, Hageman, JR: The role of platelet activating factor and tumor necrosis factor in neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis. J Pediatr 116: 906-964, 1990.


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