F. Sessions Cole, MD

Approved Mentor (Primary, Mentoring Committee)

Sessions Cole, MD, is the Park J. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Children’s Health, Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, and Interim Chief of the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine. A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Cole began his academic medical career as an Instructor of Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, after completing pediatric residency and a neonatal-perinatal fellowship at the same institution. He joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine and the medical staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1986.

Cole’s primary research efforts focus on discovering the genetic causes for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and for birth defects. His work has led to both neonatal and prenatal diagnosis of inherited forms of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and to treatment with lung transplantation. Cole and his colleagues have helped to make the Washington University School of Medicine/St. Louis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Lung Transplant Program the largest and most experienced program in the world.

A champion of the family, Cole has also revolutionized the role parents play in the health and recovery of their newborns. His model for Family Centered Care has become a benchmark for NICU best practices across the country and was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article.

Cole has also led and reviewed research for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), including the IOM’s landmark 2006 report Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences and Prevention and the NICHD Consensus Conference on Use of Inhaled Nitric Oxide in Premature Infants. He currently serves as Principal Investigator for the Washington University Clinical Site of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (U01 HG010215). He has personally mentored more than 40 neonatal-perinatal fellows, pediatric residents, and medical students many of whom have become leaders in academic pediatrics and neonatology.

His expertise on subjects including premature birth, pre-conception planning, and assisted reproductive technologies have been chronicled in Pregnancy and Parenting magazines, ABC news, and the Wall Street Journal.