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2716 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
United States

Research Topics
Kevin Downes, MD
Kevin Downes

The research interests of Dr. Downes focus on antimicrobial clinical pharmacology and pharmacoepidemiology in children with a goal to identify novel approaches to optimize efficacy, minimize toxicity, and limit antimicrobial resistance from antibiotics.



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The research conducted by Dr. Downes combines methodologies of pharmacoepidemiology and clinical pharmacology with the goals of maximizing antibiotic treatment efficacy, decreasing adverse events, and reducing antibiotic resistance. First, he seeks to better understand the epidemiology of antimicrobial-associated acute kidney injury (AKI) in children. AKI is associated with increased in-hospital mortality and development of chronic kidney disease in children, but there are few effective strategies to prevent or mitigate nephrotoxic AKI. Identification of factors associated with AKI during antimicrobial treatment can provide a means for risk stratification, promote more vigilant monitoring, and facilitate selection of alternative antimicrobials or avoidance of modifiable risk factors, when possible.

His second area of research surrounds the use of novel AKI biomarkers to improve antibiotic administration in critically ill children. Dr. Downes believes that novel AKI biomarkers can facilitate individualized antibiotic dosing. Since AKI biomarkers detect kidney injury prior to commonly used biomarkers (creatinine) and more accurately reflect kidney function, his hypothesis is that these biomarkers can be used to tailor the dosing of renally eliminated medications, such as vancomycin, and promote safer and more effective use.

Lastly, Dr. Downes is interested in antimicrobial pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD), primarily in critically ill children. Earlier achievement of therapeutic targets of antibiotics improves outcomes in children with sepsis. Due to the physiologic changes associated with sepsis and sepsis recovery, there is large variability in antibiotic exposures achieved among children in the intensive care unit. This variability can contribute to suboptimal drug concentrations or increased risk of toxicity. He is conducting studies to describe the population PK of various antibiotics in children and develop methods for personalized, Bayesian dosing of antibiotics in critically ill patients.

Education and Training

BA, Amherst College (Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought), 2001

MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2008

Fellowship, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Pediatric Developmental and Clinical Pharmacology), 2014

Titles and Academic Titles


Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Core Faculty, Clinical Futures

Core Faculty, Center for Clinical Pharmacology

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005-

Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, 2009-

Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2011-

International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring & Clinical Toxicology, 2018-

American College of Clinical Pharmacology, 2019-

Professional Awards

Max Kade Fellowship, American Austrian Foundation, 2008

Herbert and Faye Moskowitz Prize for Clinical Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2008

Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award Program, Thrasher Research Fund, 2012

Award for Excellence in Teamwork in Quality Improvement, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2014

IDWeek 2014 Trainee Travel Grant, 2014

Publication Highlights

Downes KJ, Ellis D, Lavigne S, Bryan M, Zaoutis TE, Fisher BT. The use of echinocandins in hospitalized children in the United States. Med Mycol. 2018 Sep; (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 30265325
Downes KJ, Cowden C, Laskin BL, Huang YS, Gong W, Bryan M, Fisher BT, Goldstein SL, Zaoutis TE. Association of Acute Kidney Injury With Concomitant Vancomycin and Piperacillin/Tazobactam Treatment Among Hospitalized Children. JAMA Pediatr. 2017 Dec; 171(12): e173219, Dec 4 2017. PMID: 28973124
Downes KJ, Weiss SL, Gerber JS, Klieger SB, Fitzgerald JC, Balamuth F, Kubis SE, Tolomeo P, Bilker WB, Han X, Nachamkin I, Garrigan C, Han JH, Lautenbach E, Coffin SE, for the CDC Prevention Epicenters Program. A Pragmatic Biomarker-Driven Algorithm to Guide Antibiotic Use in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: the Optimizing Antibiotic Strategies in Sepsis (OASIS) Study. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2017 Jun; 6(2): 134-141
Downes KJ, Dong M, Fukuda T, Clancy JP, Haffner C, Bennett MR, Vinks AA, Goldstein SL. Urinary Kidney Injury Biomarkers and Tobramycin Clearance among Children and Young Adults with Cystic Fibrosis: a Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Jan; 72(1): 254-260. PMID: 27585963
Downes KJ, Hahn A, Wiles J, Courter JD, Vinks AA. Dose optimisation of antibiotics in children: the application of pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics in paediatrics. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2014 Mar; 43((3)): 223 - 30. PMID: 24389079