Who’s Who: Cynthia Blanco, MD

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Cynthia Blanco, M.D. conducts clinical and translational research focused on the effects of environmental exposures in utero and neonatal populations. These exposures can lead to changes in glucose metabolism early in life which can increase the risk of developing obesity and diabetes. Dr. Blanco has also led several multi-center trials investigating the use of bio-engineered human milk to improve growth in vulnerable populations.

An important application of her research work is the infusion of nutrients into the body through an IV to prevent malnutrition particularly when absorption is dysfunctional. Although lifesaving in infants, prolonged use of parenteral nutrition can lead to serious long-term effects increasing risk for parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis (PNAC) and liver transplants. Dr. Blanco lead a clinical study showing that IV fish oil emulsions were associated with the resolution of PNAC, had no acute adverse events and prevented potential liver transplants and death associated with this condition. This seminal trial contributed to the FDA approval of Omegaven, a fish oil emulsion for pediatric patients with PNAC.

In addition to her research, her passion and vision led to the founding of the Neonatal Nutrition and Bone Institute at University Health. This unique center is one of few in the US that can complete full metabolic analyses. She has also re-structured and re-vamped the Neonatal Transport Team and University Health to increase neonatal transports from 12 in 2005 to consistently over 100 annually, in just 5 years.

Dr. Blanco holds the Greehey Family Foundation Chair in Neonatology Research and is a professor of pediatrics at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. She is the Director of the Neonatal Nutrition and Bone Institute and Co-Medical Director of Neonatal Transport at University Health. She received her MD at the Universidad de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico; her residency in Pediatrics at Texas Tech University; her fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the UT Health San Antonio; and a Masters in Clinical Investigation from UT Health San Antonio. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, both by the American Board of Pediatrics.

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