Utpal Bhalala, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Anesthesia

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics

Utpal Bhalala began working as a pediatric intensivist in the Johns Hopkins PICU in May of 2012. Together with a team of dedicated nurses, residents, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers, he takes care of critically ill children and their families. He treats all kinds of children but has a special interest in pediatric cardiac critical care. He is working with Dr. Betsy Hunt to evaluate in-hospital cardiac arrest with the goal of improving outcomes. He finds it very rewarding to take care of the sickest patients and to help parents manage the recovery of their child.

Dr. Bhalala is the Johns Hopkins site PI for a multicenter NIH-funded trial called THAPCA—Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest. In this clinical research project, he is investigating the effect of cooling on neurologic outcomes in pediatric patients who have experienced cardiac arrest. In conjunction with this trial, he has a K12 NIH grant to study how cooling affects neuroinflammation in an animal model of cardiac arrest and resuscitation. He will use the results of his clinical work to guide the direction of his laboratory work in a “bench-to-bedside-to-bench” translational research model.

Dr. Bhalala’s research is still in the early stages. He is working closely with Drs. Raymond Koehler, Lee Martin, and Sujatha Kannan to define basic fundamental questions about the neruoinflammatory pathway of neuroinjury after cardiac arrest while trying to determine if any anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory therapies can serve as neuroprotective strategies. The work has huge potential because many diseases have been linked to immune dysregulation and inflammation. Currently he is looking only at inflammation and immune changes in the brain. However, he would also like to study peripheral immune response to neuronal injury and how modulating the peripheral immune system could promote neurologic recover. A large component of inflammation and immune dysregulation outside the brain is thought to affect the brain itself after cardiac arrest.

Dr. Bhalala received his undergraduate degree at the University of Mumbai in India and attended medical school at Seth G.S. Medical College in Mumbai.