Spotlights is a series in which the Department of Pediatrics highlights the special work, awards and honors of our faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows. Join us in congratulating our dedicated team!
Pooja Varshney, M.D., doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet. Varshney is an associate professor of pediatrics and practices at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, specializing in pediatric allergy, asthma and immunology, with food allergy as her primary clinical and research focus.
As the principal investigator of several clinical trials, she is deeply involved in creating new solutions for children with severe food allergies.
Varshney led Dell Children’s participation in the PALISADE study, which resulted in approval of the first treatment for food allergy using oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy. Patients with a peanut allergy are at risk for unpredictable and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions. “Oral immunotherapy is a treatment that can reduce the risk and severity of an allergic reaction with accidental peanut ingestion,” Varshney says.
Her team also studies epicutaneous immunotherapy in young children, investigating a different route of desensitizing the immune system.
Varshney’s team is launching several new projects including a study of probiotics in infants for food allergy prevention and a multidisciplinary eosinophilic esophagitis clinic in partnership with Chantal Casadonte, M.D. A collaboration with Sujit Iyer, M.D., is examining the impact of an anaphylaxis pathway in improving the care of children presenting to the emergency department.
Varshney is the medical director of the Food Allergy Center at DCMC, which has been designated a Clinical Research Center of Distinction in the Food Allergy Research and Education Clinical Network. She has collaborated with local school districts to study anaphylaxis management in schools and serves on the Texas Department of Health Services Stock Epinephrine Advisory Committee, identifying unmet needs and shaping policy regarding epinephrine use in day cares, schools and other group settings.
We’re proud to have Varshney as a key member of our Dell Med and Dell Children’s Medical Group family.