Dr. de Ferranti is interested in describing, identifying, and evaluating and treating atherosclerotic risk factors during childhood to reduce cardiovascular disease burden during adulthood. She divides her time between clinical and implementation research, directing the Preventive Cardiology Clinic and providing clinical care for both preventive cardiology and congenital heart disease patients. Her research has included epidemiology, nutrition and pharmaceutical clinical trials, and more recently qualitative and modeling projects, and quality improvement. She developed a definition of pediatric metabolic syndrome, described its prevalence using national survey data (Circulation 2004) and applied the definition to subsequent NHANES data looking at the association with CRP in childhood (Clin Chem 2006). Her first clinical research project, “Inflammation in Children at High Risk for Atherosclerotic Disease”, laid the ground work for a nutritional intervention that was supported by an Eleanor and Miles Shore Scholarship, and subsequently by NHLBI through the K23 mechanism. This project, “Nutritional Treatment of Adolescents at Increased Risk for Early Atherosclerosis: an RCT,” was the first feeding study conducted at Boston Children's Hospital, and the first of its kind in overweight adolescents.
Other clinical research has evaluated high dose omega-3 fatty acids for treating pediatric hypertriglyceridemia using a double blind placebo controlled RCT design (Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2014), supervised physical activity including novel gaming exercises in inner-city elementary students (in preparation). Hypertriglyceridemia (Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2010), vitamin D and long-term statin use in childhood. Current projects include “Promoting physical activity in adolescents at risk for early atherosclerosis” (enrolling), “Comparative effectiveness of adolescent lipid screening and treatment strategies”, a novel qualitative and quantitative project using patient interviews, evidence based synthesis and decision modeling funded by PCORI, several projects on cholesterol screening in primary care (PCP Lipid SCAMP) and in adults with congenital heart disease (funded by New England Congenital Cardiology Research Foundation). She is co-Chair of a randomized placebo controlled pharmaceutical trial of dyslipidemia of obesity in childhood (Pediatric Heart Network) that is in protocol development, and is involved in several observational studies of vascular stiffness in coarctation and childhood obesity at Boston Children's Hospital.