Kara L. Calkins, MD
Accepting new patients

Kara L. Calkins, MD


Dr. Kara Calkins has been a UCLA faculty member since 2009. She provides critical care to infants at the neonatal intensive care units at Mattel Children's Hospital and UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. Dr. Calkins earned her bachelor's degree at the University of California Davis and her medical degree at the University of California Irvine. She completed her pediatric residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and her fellowship training in Neonatal Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Calkins also completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Research as part of the Specialty Training and Advanced Research and Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles.

Dr. Calkins has served as the principal investigator for several grants, including grants from the Gerber Foundation andNIH/NIDDK. Dr. Calkins' research career is dedicated to better understanding how nutrition impacts growth, body composition, metabolism, and specific liver diseases, including intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Dr. Calkins' early research focused on the safety and efficacy of fish-oil containing lipid emulsions. Her original research was used for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for intravenous fish oil (Omegaven ®) for the treatment of intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD), which can lead to liver failure and the need for a liver transplant. Dr. Calkins is currently collaborating with magnetic resonance scientists to develop and validate free-breathing MR technology for the assessment of liver disease and body composition in children of all ages. Dr. Calkins has over 40 peer-reviewed publications, reviews, and book chapters. Dr. Calkins is committed to mentoring future pediatric physician-scientists, and promoting an innovative research environment that fosters inclusion and inquisition.




Medical Board Certifications

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics, 2010
Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics, 2006


Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, 2009


Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2006


Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2004


MD, UCI School of Medicine, 2003

Hospital Affiliations



  1. Calkins KL, Dunn J, Shew S, Reyen L, Farmer D, Devaskar S, Venick R. Pediatric intestinal failure associated liver disease is reversed with six months of intravenous fish oil. JPEN Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2013, PMID 23894176.
  2. Levit O, Calkins KL, Gibson LC, Kelley-Quon LI, Elashoff DA, Grogan T, Ning Li, Bizzarro MJ, Ehrenkranz RA, Low dose intravenous soybean oil emulsion for prevention of cholestasis in preterm neonates. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2014. PMID 24963025.
  3. Calkins KL, Havrenk T, Kelley-Quon L, Cerny L, Flores M, Shew SB. Low dose parenteral soybean oil for the prevention of parenteral nutrition associated cholestasis with gastrointestinal disorders: a multi-center randomized controlled pilot study. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2015 May 29, PMID 26024828.
  4. Wang C, Venick RS, Shew SB, Dunn JCY, Reyen L, Gou R, Calkins KL. Long-term Outcomes in Children with Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease Treated with a Six-Month Course of Intravenous Fish Oil Followed by Resumption of Intravenous Soybean Oil. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2018 Aug;43(6):708-716. PMID 30411372.
  5. Ong M, Venick RS, Shew SB, Dunn JCY, Reyen L, Grogan TR, Calkins KL. Intravenous Fish Oil and Serum Fatty Acid Patterns in Pediatric Patients with Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease, JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2019 Aug;43(6):717-725. PMID: 30900274.
  6. Heck JE, Huang X, Calkins KL, Sun Y, Olsen J, Ritz B, Hansen J. Phototherapy and childhood cancer: shared risk factors, Int J Cancer 2019 Oct 8. PMID: 3159330.
  7. Ly K, V Armstrong T, Yeh J, Ghahremani S, Kim GH, Wu H, Calkins KL. Free-Breathing MRI Assessment of Body Composition in Healthy and Overweight Children, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2019 Jun;68(6):782-787. PMID 30789865.
  8. Gura K, Premkumar MH, Calkins KL, Puder M. Efficacy and Safety of Intravenous Fish Oil Monotherapy as a Source of Calories and Fatty Acids in Pediatric Patients with Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease, J Pediatr 2020 Feb. PMID: 32059815.
  9. Calkins KL, Thamotharan S, Dai Y, Ghosh S, Devaskar SU. MicroRNA-122 Reflects Liver Injury in Children with Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease. J Nutr 2020 Feb. PMID 32072161.
  10. Wu AJ, Lee DJ, Li F, Tobin NH, Aldorovandi GM, Shew SB, Calkins KL. Impact of Clinical Factors on the Intestinal Microbiome in Infants with Gastroschisis. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2020.


  • Aetna
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Centivo
  • Cigna
  • First Health
  • Health Net of California
  • Interplan (part of HealthSmart)
  • L.A. Care
  • MultiPlan
  • UFCM Health System
  • Prime Health Services
  • Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
  • UnitedHealthcare

The list of health care plans above may not be comprehensive and could change. 
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  • Super Doctors® Southern California 2023, 2024
  • Top Doctors, Los Angeles Magazine, 2023
  • Top Doctors, Los Angeles Magazine, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Castle Connolly Regional Top Doctor, June 2020
  • Travel Childcare Award, UCLA Faculty Diversity and Development, January 2013
  • Outstanding Investigator Award, Western American Federation of Medical Research, January 2013