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Katherine Chetta M.D.

Katherine E. Chetta M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

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  • Assistant Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Pediatrics
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Education & Training:

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2005, B.S. in Chemistry
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 2009, M.D.
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 2013, Residency in Pediatrics
University of Texas Health & Science Center, Houston, TX, 2016, Clinical Fellowship in Neonatology


Research Interests:

I have a long-standing interest in contributing to the field of neonatal nutrition by investigating how human milk promotes optimal outcomes. My research goal is to develop a human milk-based research program using advanced gastrointestinal models. As an Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, under the dual mentorship of pioneering Vitamin D expert Dr. Carol Wagner and surfactant A protein expert Dr. John Baatz, I am studying the release of free fatty acid in stored human milk and subsequent formation of cytotoxic lipid-protein complexes, namely HAMLET, or human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumors. The current hypothesis is that HAMLET has negative effects toward preterm gastrointestinal epithelium. To test this hypothesis, we are investigating how HAMLET affects in vitro models of preterm intestinal tissue. Using myriad approaches, we are studying the role of HAMLET in preterm diets on the digestive tract. With NIH K23 funding support, my research team will be in a strong position to successfully develop a high impact human milk bioactivity research program at the Medical University of South Carolina, within the Division of Neonatology and the Darby Children’s Research Institute.



Highlight Publications:

1. Chetta KE, Hair AB, Hawthorne KM, and Abrams SA, (2015), Serum phosphorus levels in premature infants receiving a donor human milk derived fortifier, Nutrients, 7(4):2562-2573, PMID: 26912036.


2. Murphy HJ, Hair AB, Chetta KE, Bruno AM, Hawthorne KM, and Abrams SA, (2016), Delayed Introduction of Parenteral Phosphorus is Associated with Hypercalcemia in Extremely Preterm Infants, J Nutr., 146(6):1212-1216, PMID: 27146915. 


3. Newton DA, Baatz JE, Chetta KE, Walker PW, Washington RO, Shary JR, and Wagner CL, (2022), Maternal Vitamin D Status Correlates to Leukocyte Antigenic Responses in Breastfeeding Infants. Nutrients, 14(6):1266.


4. Murphy HJ Engevik MA, Stripe L, Baatz JE, Wagner CL, and Chetta KE (2022), Identifying single-strain growth patterns of human gut microbes in response to preterm human milk and formula. Food & Function, 13(10): 5571-5589, PMID: 35481924.