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Robert D. Christensen

Robert D. Christensen, MD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments Primary - Pediatrics

Divisions: Neonatology

Academic Office Information

Board Certification

  • American Board of Pediatrics (Pediatrics)
  • American Board of Pediatrics (Sub: Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine)
  • National Board of Medical Examiners

Robert D. Christensen, MD is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division Chief of Neonatology and Division of Hematology/Oncology Dr. Christensen received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, he completed his Pediatric residency at Stanford University Hospital, and his Neonatology and Hematology fellowships at the University of Utah. He was Chief of the Division of Human Development and Aging at the University until 1993 when he was appointed Chief of the Division of Neonatology at the University of Florida. After 9 years he was appointed Lewis A. Barness Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, and Physician-in-Chief of All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Before being recruited back to the University of Utah School of Medicine in January 2015, Dr. Christensen served as Director of Neonatology Research for Intermountain Healthcare and Medical Director of Neonatology for the Urban North Region.

His research involves Clinical Neonatal Hematology and Transfusion Medicine. Dr. Christensen was funded by the NIH for over 20 years for his studies in fetal and neonatal hematopoiesis, and he has served as a March of Dimes Study Section Member continuously for the past 22 years. He is the author of two textbooks on neonatal hematology, has written over 150 book chapters for medical books, and has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals.

Education History

Fellowship University of Utah
University of Utah
Residency Stanford University Hospital
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Undergraduate University of Utah

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Pakdeeto S, Christensen TR, Bahr TM, Gerday E, Sheffield MJ, Christensen KS, Supapannachart S, Nuntnarumit P, Sukwiset S, Ohls RK, Christensen RD (2021). Reference intervals for end-tidal carbon monoxide of preterm neonates. J Perinatol, 42, 116-120.
  2. Bahr TM, Carr NR, Christensen TR, Wilkes J, OBrien EA, German KR, Ohls RK, Ward DM, Christensen RD (2021). Early iron supplementation and iron sufficiency at one month of age in NICU patients at-risk for iron deficiency. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 90, 102575.
  3. Bahr TM, Henry E, Christensen RD, Minton SD, Bhutani VK (2021). A New Hour-Specific Serum Bilirubin Nomogram for Neonates ≥35 Weeks of Gestation. J Pediatr, 236, 28-33.e1.
  4. Bahr TM, Christensen TR, Henry E, Wilkes J, Ohls RK, Bennett ST, Ward DM, Pysher TJ, Christensen RD (2021). Neonatal Reference Intervals for the Complete Blood Count Parameters MicroR and HYPO-He: Sensitivity Beyond the Red Cell Indices for Identifying Microcytic and Hypochromic Disorders. J Pediatr, 239, 95-100.e2.
  5. Bahr TM, Shakib JH, Stipelman CH, Kawamoto K, Lauer S, Christensen RD (2021). Improvement Initiative: End-Tidal Carbon Monoxide Measurement in Newborns Receiving Phototherapy. J Pediatr, 238, 168-173.e2.
  6. Gerday E, Brereton JB, Bahr TM, Elmont JO, Fullmer S, Middleton BA, Ward DM, Ohls RK, Christensen RD (2020). Urinary ferritin; a potential noninvasive way to screen NICU patients for iron deficiency. J Perinatol, 41(6), 1419-1425.
  7. Shah P, Cannon DC, Lowe JR, Phillips J, Christensen RD, Kamath-Rayne B, Rosenberg A, Wiedmeier S, Patel S, Winter S, Baker S, Ohls RK (2021). Effect of blood transfusions on cognitive development in very low birth weight infants. J Perinatol, 41(6), 1412-1418.
  8. Bahr TM, Ward DM, Jia X, Ohls RK, German KR, Christensen RD (2021). Is the erythropoietin-erythroferrone-hepcidin axis intact in human neonates? Blood Cells Mol Dis, 88, 102536.
  9. Wiedmeier SE, Bahr TM, Ohls RK, Christensen TR, Baer VL, Ilstrup SJ, Cail K, Christensen RD (2020). Exchange transfusion for hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia: could some be averted by emergent administration of an inhibitor of bilirubin production? J Perinatol, 41(4), 860-864.
  10. Bahr TM, Agarwal AM, Christensen RD (2020). Does heterozygosity for UGT1A1 *28 convey increased risk for severe neonatal jaundice? J Perinatol, 41(4), 658-660.
  11. Bahr TM, Baer VL, Ohls RK, Christensen TR, Ward DM, Bennett ST, Christensen RD (2020). Reconciling markedly discordant values of serum ferritin versus reticulocyte hemoglobin content. J Perinatol, 41(3), 619-626.
  12. DAmato G, Faienza MF, Palladino V, Bianchi FP, Natale MP, Christensen RD, Giordano P, Del Vecchio A (2020). Red blood cell transfusions and potentially related morbidities in neonates under 32 weeks' gestation. Blood Transfus, 19(2), 113-119.
  13. Konana OS, Bahr TM, Strike HR, Coleman J, Snow GL, Christensen RD (2020). Decision Accuracy and Safety of Transcutaneous Bilirubin Screening at Intermountain Healthcare. J Pediatr, 228, 53-57.
  14. Bahr TM, Lozano-Chinga M, Agarwal AM, Meznarich JA, Gerday E, Smoot JL, Taylor A, Christensen RD (2020). Dizygotic twins with prolonged jaundice and microcytic, hypochromic, hemolytic anemia with pyropoikilocytosis. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 85, 102462.
  15. Hulse W, Bahr TM, Fredrickson L, Canfield CM, Friddle K, Pysher TJ, Ilstrup SJ, Ohls RK, Christensen RD (2020). Warming blood products for transfusion to neonates: In vitro assessments. Transfusion, 60(9), 1924-1928.
  16. Hulse W, Bahr TM, Morris DS, Richards DS, Ilstrup SJ, Christensen RD (2020). Emergency-release blood transfusions after postpartum hemorrhage at the Intermountain Healthcare hospitals. Transfusion, 60(7), 1418-1423.
  17. Bahr TM, Henry E, Hulse W, Baer VL, Prchal JT, Bhutani VK, Christensen RD (2020). Early Hyperbilirubinemia in Neonates with Down Syndrome. J Pediatr, 219, 140-145.
  18. Christensen RD (2019). Medicinal Uses of Hematopoietic Growth Factors in Neonatal Medicine. Handb Exp Pharmacol, 261, 257-283.
  19. Bahr TM, Shakib JH, Stipelman CH, Kawamoto K, Cail K, Lauer S, Christensen RD (2020). Improving the Bilirubin Management Program in the Newborn Nursery: Background, Aims, and Protocol. Neonatology, 117(3), 358-364.
  20. Bahr TM, Judkins AJ, Christensen RD, Baer VL, Henry E, Minton SD, Gerday E, Bennett ST (2019). Neonates with suspected microangiopathic disorders: performance of standard manual schistocyte enumeration vs. the automated fragmented red cell count. J Perinatol, 39(11), 1555-1561.
  21. Fustolo-Gunnink SF, Roehr CC, Lieberman L, Christensen RD, Van Der Bom JG, Dame C, Del Vecchio A, Keir AK, Curley A, Stanworth SJ, Lopriore E (2019). Platelet and red cell transfusions for neonates: lifesavers or Trojan horses? Expert Rev Hematol, 12(10), 797-800.
  22. Bahr TM, DuPont TL, Christensen TR, Rees T, OBrien EA, Ilstrup SJ, Christensen RD (2019). Evaluating emergency-release blood transfusion of newborn infants at the Intermountain Healthcare hospitals. Transfusion, 59(10), 3113-3119.
  23. MacQueen BC, Christensen RD, Baer VL, Ward DM, Snow GL (2019). Screening umbilical cord blood for congenital Iron deficiency. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 77, 95-100.
  24. Bahr TM, Christensen RD, Ward DM, Meng F, Jackson LK, Doyle K, Christensen DR, Harvey AG, Yaish HM (2019). Ferritin in serum and urine: A pilot study. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 76, 59-62.
  25. Rets A, Clayton AL, Christensen RD, Agarwal AM (2019). Molecular diagnostic update in hereditary hemolytic anemia and neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Int J Lab Hematol, 41 Suppl 1, 95-101.
  26. Judkins AJ, MacQueen BC, Christensen RD, Henry E, Snow GL, Bennett ST (2018). Automated Quantification of Fragmented Red Blood Cells: Neonatal Reference Intervals and Clinical Disorders of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Patients with High Values. Neonatology, 115(1), 5-12.
  27. Bahr TM, Christensen RD, Agarwal AM, George TI, Bhutani VK (2019). The Neonatal Acute Bilirubin Encephalopathy Registry (NABER): Background, Aims, and Protocol. Neonatology, 115(3), 242-246.
  28. MacQueen BC, Christensen RD, Yost CC, Gordon PV, Baer VL, Schlaberg R, Lowe J (2018). Reference intervals for stool calprotectin in preterm neonates and their utility for the diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis. J Perinatol, 38(10), 1379-1385.
  29. Christensen RD, Agarwal AM, George TI, Bhutani VK, Yaish HM (2018). Acute neonatal bilirubin encephalopathy in the State of Utah 2009-2018. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 72, 10-13.
  30. Bhutani VK, Maisels MJ, Schutzman DL, Castillo Cuadrado ME, Aby JL, Bogen DL, Christensen RD, Watchko JF, Wong RJ, Stevenson DK (2018). Identification of risk for neonatal haemolysis. Acta Paediatr, 107(8), 1350-1356.
  31. Meznarich JA, Draper L, Christensen RD, Yaish HM, Luem ND, Pysher TJ, Jung G, Nemeth E, Ganz T, Ward DM (2018). Fetal presentation of congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type 1 with novel compound heterozygous CDAN1 mutations. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 71, 63-66.
  32. Christensen RD, Baer VL, MacQueen BC, OBrien EA, Ilstrup SJ (2018). ABO hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn: thirteen years of data after implementing a universal bilirubin screening and management program. J Perinatol, 38(5), 517-525.
  33. Maheshwari A, Patel RM, Christensen RD (2017). Anemia, red blood cell transfusions, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Semin Pediatr Surg, 27(1), 47-51.
  34. Carroll PD, Livingston E, Baer VL, Karkula K, Christensen RD (2018). Evaluating Otherwise-Discarded Umbilical Cord Blood as a Source for a Neonate's Complete Blood Cell Count at Various Time Points. Neonatology, 114(1), 82-86.

Case Report

  1. Bahr TM, Knudsen MC, Lozano-Chinga M, Agarwal AM, Meznarich JA, Ohls RK, Christensen RD (2020). Infantile Pyknocytosis: End-Tidal CO, %Micro-R Measurements, Next-Generation Sequencing, and Transfusion Avoidance with Darbepoetin. Biomed Hub, 5(3), 227-234.
  2. Bahr TM, Lozano-Chinga M, Agarwal AM, Meznarich JA, Yost CC, Li P, Reading NS, Prchal JT, Christensen RD (2020). A Novel Variant in G6PD (c.1375C>G) Identified from a Hispanic Neonate with Extreme Hyperbilirubinemia and Low G6PD Enzymatic Activity. Neonatology, 117(4), 532-535.
  3. Bahr TM, DuPont TL, Morris DS, Pierson SE, Esplin MS, Brown SM, OBrien EA, Ilstrup SJ, Christensen RD (2019). First report of using low-titer cold-stored type O whole blood in massive postpartum hemorrhage. Transfusion, 59(10), 3089-3092.
  4. Judkins AJ, MacQueen BC, Christensen RD, Comstock J, Mao R, Flores-Daboub J (2018). Non-Immune Hydrops, Hypotonia, Encephalopathy, and Liver Failure with Novel Compound Heterozygous AHCY Mutations. Neonatology, 114(4), 337-340.


  1. Song J, Christensen RD, Thiagarajan P, Prchal JT (2021). Does neocytolysis exist after descent from high altitude? Acta Physiol (Oxf), 233(3), e13713.


  1. Bahr TM, Henry E, Christensen RD, Minton SD, Bhutani VK (2021). Reply. [Letter to the editor]. J Pediatr, 237, 317-318.
  2. Meznarich JA, Rets A, Agarwal AM, Christensen RD, Reading NS, Kuypers FA, Prchal JT (2021). Novel, de novo, beta-globin variant with decreased oxygen affinity (HBB:c.317T>A, "Hemoglobin St. George") in a healthy child with low oxygen saturations and anemia. [Letter to the editor]. Am J Hematol, 96(12), E448-E450.
  3. Bahr TM, Benson AE, Kling PJ, Ohls RK, Ward DM, Christensen RD (2021). Maternal obesity and impaired offspring neurodevelopment: could fetal iron deficiency be a pathogenic link? [Letter to the editor]. J Perinatol, 41(5), 1199-1200.
  4. Bahr TM, Kerry BB, Baserga MC, Christensen RD (2020). Improving thermoregulation in transported preterm infants. [Letter to the editor]. J Perinatol, 41(2), 356-357.
  5. Staffa SJ, Joerger JD, Henry E, Christensen RD, Brugnara C, Zurakowski D (2020). Pediatric hematology normal ranges derived from pediatric primary care patients. [Letter to the editor]. Am J Hematol.
  6. Bahr TM, Judkins AJ, Baer VL, Henry E, Grubb PH, Hulse W, Pysher TJ, Bennett ST, Christensen RD (2019). The fragmented red cell count can support the diagnosis of a microangiopathic neonatal condition. [Letter to the editor]. J Perinatol, 40(2), 354-355.
  7. Baer VL, Hulse W, Bahr TM, Ilstrup SJ, Christensen RD (2019). Absence of severe neonatal ABO hemolytic disease at Intermountain Healthcare. Why? [Letter to the editor]. J Perinatol, 40(2), 352-353.

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