null Patricia Fontela, MD, PhD

Scientist, RI-MUHC

Child Health and Human Development Program

Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care, MUHC



child health • critical care • infection • biomarkers • epidemiology

Research Focus

My research focuses on the optimization of antibiotic use in critically ill children with the goal of reducing bacterial resistance in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs). Antibiotic overuse and bacterial resistance are major problems in PICUs. To control antibiotic resistance, it is imperative to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescription and avoid extending treatment duration beyond patients’ needs, as these are associated with selection of resistant bacteria. However, we currently lack objective criteria to guide antimicrobial use and personalize treatment duration in critically ill children. My research program aims to develop innovative interventions to reduce bacterial resistance and antibiotic overuse in PICUs. To do so, I study the clinical utility of using different infection biomarkers to personalize antibiotic use in critically ill children. I aim to develop simple biomarker-based decision-support tools to help physicians to make evidence-based decisions about when to start and stop antibiotics for critically ill children.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Noël KC, Papenburg J, Lacroix J, Quach C, O'Donnell S, Gonzales M et al. International survey on determinants of antibiotic duration and discontinuation in pediatric critically ill patients. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2020;21(9):e696-e706. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002397. PMID: 32639469.

  • Petel D, Winters N, Gore GC, Papenburg J, Beltempo M, Lacroix J, Fontela PS. Use of C-reactive protein to tailor antibiotic use: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2018;8(12):e022133. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022133. PMID: 30580258.

  • Fontela PS, O'Donnell S, Papenburg J. Can biomarkers improve the rational use of antibiotics? Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2018 Aug;31(4):347-352. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000467. PMID: 29794541.

  • Fontela PS, Papenburg J. Procalcitonin and antibiotic use: imperfect, yet effective. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Jan;18(1):11-13. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30593-5. Epub 2017 Oct 13. PMID: 29037959.

  • Fontela PS, Lacroix J. Procalcitonin: is this the promised biomarker for critically ill patients? J Pediatr Intensive Care. 2016 Dec;5(4):162-171. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1583279. Epub 2016 May 9. PMID: 31110901.