Melissa Bates, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 408 FH​
Phone: 319-335-7972
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

In the United States, 12.8% of babies are born preterm, translating to ~500,000 live births per year.  The implementation of surfactant as a routine treatment and improvements in ventilator strategies have dramatically improved survival in even very low birth weight infants.  However, little is known about the long-term consequences of therapeutic strategies, which include mechanical ventilation with positive end expiratory pressure, supplemental oxygen, and permissive hypercapnia. The overall goal of our research program is to understand the life-long consequences of prematurity, and therapeutic strategies provided during this critical developmental window, on cardiac, vascular, and metabolic function. It is our overall hypothesis that experiences early in life may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, like diabetes.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Carson KR, Bates ML, Tomasson MH. The skinny on obesity and plasma cell myeloma: a review of the literature. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2014 Aug;49(8):1009-15. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2014.71. Epub 2014 May 12.
  • Bates ML, Farrell ET, Eldridge MW. Abnormal ventilatory responses in adults born prematurely. N Engl J Med. 2014 Feb 6;370(6):584-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1311092.
  • Bates ML, Pillers DA, Palta M, Farrell ET, Eldridge MW. Ventilatory control in infants, children, and adults with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2013 Nov 1;189(2):329-37. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Jul 22.


We are passionate about understanding the long-term health risks that individuals born prematurely may face, including their risk of developing diabetes. Because the survival of very premature infants is a very recent phenomenon, we  have little idea how prematurity and exposure to early life oxygen stress might impact metabolism and see a critical need to better understand their physiology.