Anyone who has known a child born with a congenital disorder, paralyzed in an accident or challenged by a complex medical condition knows that hope and healing are inseparable. The dream that scientific breakthroughs will give doctors the tools and medicines needed to cure disease is a real one. At Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, David Pleasure, M.D., Director of Research, leads doctors and scientists as they work collaboratively to find new ways to heal children with complex medical needs.

Research studies are headquartered in the Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (IPRM), a joint project of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Located inside the Northern California Shriners Hospital, the IPRM is home to an international team of scientists devoted to bringing discoveries from the research laboratory to the bedside. There questions are many and include:

  • Is the ability to fight disease linked to genetic makeup?
  • How does folate, a B vitamin, help prevent spina bifida?
  • Can prescription drugs one day be used to prevent the development or the effects of cerebral palsy?
  • Can genetic testing be used to determine the most effective drug therapies?

We do not know precisely when the answers to these and other questions will come, but we can rest assured that the research taking place today will positively impact the lives of children for generations to come.

Quest for Cures

Researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California are conducting studies on the following topics:

  • Bone Abnormalities
  • Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cleft Lip & Palate
  • Hand Function
  • Neural Development
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Tumor Formation

Addressing the Critical Needs of Children

Survival rates for burn victims have improved dramatically over the past 40 years. Doctors and scientists at Shriners Hospitals are responsible for many of the advances in pediatric burn care. Studies underway encompass everything from how the body reacts to severe stress to diagnostic tools that can be used at the bedside when treating critically injured children. Topics under investigation include Individual Response to Drugs, Organ Failure, Environmental Influences and Bedside Diagnostics.


Those working collaboratively in the IPRM to advance the care of children include:

  • 14 Principal Investigators
  • 14 Pre-Doctoral Fellows
  • 12 Post-Doctoral Fellows
  • 1 Medical Student

Research Funding

Research is supported by Shriners Hospitals for Children and grants from others, including:

  • 7 National Institute for Health (NIH) Grants
  • 2 Department of Defense Grants
  • 1 National Science Foundation Grant
  • 1 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Grant
  • 11 Shriners Basic Science Grants
  • 4 Shriners Fellowship Grants
  • Participate in 8 Shriners Clinical Research Grants, and are organizers of 1 of the 6 grants

Fund for Innovation

The Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association- through their Accelerate Hope campaign – has pledged  $1,000,000 over ten years to pediatric research at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California. This endowment will be used to establish the Fund for Innovation, designed to accelerate hope for injured and sick children throughout the region who receive treatment at no charge. The fund, which was established in 2013, allows doctors and scientists in the Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (IPRM) to work collaboratively in their quest for cures. Scientific and clinical research studies underway in the IPRM provide new hope for children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, brachial plexus birth palsy, cleft lip and palate, burns, spinal cord injuries and other pediatric conditions.


David E. Pleasure, M.D.

Director of Research

Dr. Pleasure

As Director of Research at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, David E. Pleasure, M.D., has focused much of his clinical training in neurology, specifically in neural development and regeneration.