Research Center News: Funding

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2013

 
 Kelly Michelson 

Kelly N. Michelson, MD, MPH has received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for a project entitled “Improving communication in the pediatric intensive care unit for patients facing life-changing decisions”. The project will test the impact of an intervention, PICU Supports, on the quality of the decision-making (DM) process. PICU Supports uses a navigator to aid parental DM by addressing parents’ needs, removing communication barriers, enhancing care coordination, and providing emotional support. Michelson’s primary research question is how much PICU Supports improves parental satisfaction with DM. Stakeholders (parents and healthcare team managers - HTMs) will participate in focus groups and working groups to adapt a previously developed intervention into PICU Supports. The experiences of parents and HTMs who receive PICU Supports will be compared to those who receive an education brochure. The study will be conducted at two sites and involve the parents of 404 patients. During the PICU admission the researchers will obtain questionnaire data from parents and HTMs, and collect navigators’ descriptions of PICU communication. After PICU discharge parents will be interviewed and complete an additional questionnaire. Stakeholders will collaborate to implement the study, analyze the data, disseminate results, and plan for future communication improvements.

Michelson is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care and Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a member of the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Research Center.

   
 Ben Katz  

Ben Katz, MD is co-investigator with Leonard Jason, PhD, director of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University, on a study of pediatric chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in a community-based sample. The investigators seek to determine the prevalence of pediatric CFS in a demographically diverse sample of participants unbiased by illness, help-seeking behaviors, or differential access to the health care system. In addition, they will assess orthostatic intolerance symptoms in the sample. The award is from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Katz and Jason have also received an award from NIH to study CFS following infectious mononucleosis in college students.

Katz is Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases at the Feinberg School and a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the research center.

   
Jie Deng, PhD, Research Assistant Professor and Delilah Burrowes, MD, Assistant Professor, both of Radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, have been awarded a Shaw Research Grant in Nursing and Allied Health Professions, entitled “Differentiation between recurrent brain tumor and therapy-induced radiation necrosis using multi-compartment diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging”. The Shaw Research Grant is awarded by the Department of Clinical Education at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Burrowes and Deng are attending physicians in the Department of Medical Imaging at Lurie Children’s.
   
Conrad Epting Conrad Epting, MD, Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at the Feinberg School, attending physician in the Division of Critical Care and Cardiac Critical Care at Lurie Children’s, has received an award from the Children’s Heart Foundation to study transcriptional profiling of pediatric cardiac stem cells. Epting proposes to identify differentially expressed mRNA and microRNA underlying the age-related decline in regenerative potential. Cells will be collected from children of different ages undergoing heart surgery or heart transplant for heart failure. Epting anticipates that stem cells in patients with heart failure, activated by chronic stress, will be reprogrammed to resemble younger cells. He hopes to harness the ability of cardiac stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue through a better understanding of their transcriptional biology. 
 Debra Weese-Mayer

Debra Weese-Mayer, MD, director of the Center for Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics (CAMP) will be co-principal investigator on a study of autonomic nervous system dysregulation in Rett syndrome with Daniel Glaze, MD of Baylor College of Medicine.

Weese-Mayer, Michael Carroll, PhD, Glaze and Jeffrey L. Neul, MD, PhD will be co-principal investigators on a study of an experimental drug in adults with Rett syndrome. The awards are from the .

 
Functional 4D MRI     

Blood flow images from functional four-dimensional
magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
Images courtesy of Cynthia Rigsby, MD.

 

 Cynthia Rigsby, MD and Michael Markl, PhD have received National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to continue development of functional four-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and analytic tools for the comprehensive in vivo measurement and analysis of cardiovascular hemodynamics for the entire heart and surrounding great vessels. The technique can identify distinct flow alterations that correlate with post-surgical cardiovascular geometry in patients with congenital heart disease. Their research has demonstrated strong evidence linking altered cardiovascular geometry in congenital heart disease and manifestation of abnormal vascular hemodynamics and thus risk for vascular remodeling. The aim of the NIH-funded project is to further develop the technique for rapid comprehensive characterization of cardiovascular morphology, function and hemodynamics in adult patients with congenital heart disease that will 1) replace long standard MR examinations and reduce exposure to general anesthesia in pediatric patients and 2) provide new biomarkers for improved outcome prediction for patients with congenital heart disease. 

The project is a collaboration among the Department of Medical Imaging, the Divisions of Cardiology and Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery at  Lurie Children’s and the Department of Radiology at the Feinberg School. Rigsby is professor of Radiology and Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, Vice-chair of the Department of Medical Imaging at Lurie Children’s and a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Research Center.

 Rebecca Ford Paz Rebecca Ford-Paz, PhD has received a minigrant from the Community Engaged Research Center (CERC) that provides protected time to prepare manuscripts from two Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) projects she conducted. CERC and CBPR are part of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Ford-Paz is coordinating psychologist of the Mood and Anxiety Program at Lurie Children’s and assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School.
The new Laboratory for Craniofacial Developmental Biology of the research center has received a research award from the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons to study the impact of fibroblast growth factor receptor blockade on craniofacial development in zebrafish. Michael Gart, a resident in Plastic Surgery at the Feinberg School, is the principal investigator with co-investigator Arun Gosain, MD, head of the Division of Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Lurie Children’s. Key personnel on the project are Jolanta Topczewska, PhD, Elizabeth LeClair, PhD and Jacek Topczewski, PhD. Topczewska is research assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School and director of the new laboratory. LeClair is associate professor in Biological Sciences at DePaul University. Topczewski is director of the Fish Facility at the research center and research associate professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School. All are members of the Developmental Biology Program of the research center. 

 Jhumku Kohtz

Jhumku Kohtz, PhD has been awarded a R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to investigate how the ultraconserved RNA Evf2 regulates gene expression in GABAergic interneuron precursors. Since altered GABAergic interneuron function has been linked to epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia and mental retardation, studies on the normal development of GABAergic interneurons are critical to understanding the molecular basis for multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, ultraconserved long noncoding RNAs have recently been identified in cancer. It is hoped that a better understanding of gene regulation in neuronal subpopulations and cellular growth control will lead to novel therapies for the treatment of human neurological diseases and cancer. Kohtz is research associate professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School and a member of the Developmental Biology Program of the research center.

 Sookyong Koh Sookyong Koh, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, attending physician in the Division of Neurology and the Epilepsy Center at Children’s Memorial, and a member of the Neurobiology Program of the research center was awarded funding from the Medical Research Junior Board Foundation (MRJBF). Koh’s research and clinical work is focused on pediatric epilepsy and her proposal to study the therapeutic efficacy of environmental enrichment in stimulating recovery from early life seizures was selected for the award from a highly talented pool of candidates. The decision of the MRJBF was based both on the quality of Koh’s research and its potential to help the most children.

2011

   
 Mary Beth Madonna Mary Beth Madonna, MD has received a grant of $150,000 from The Super Jake Foundation for neuroblastoma research. The foundation was started by Matthew and Ann Widman, whose son Jake died of neuroblastoma in 2005 at just four years of age.

Neuroblastoma is the most common non-brain solid tumor of childhood which occurs most often in children younger than four. The survival rate for children with aggressive neuroblastoma is less than 40 percent. Although many factors contribute to the high mortality, resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs is a major contributor. Madonna’s innovative research will focus on the mechanisms of this drug resistance, specifically the role of the protein midkine and its receptors in the development of chemotherapeutic resistance in pediatric patients.

“I would like to thank The Super Jake Foundation for its support of my work on drug resistance in neuroblastoma,” said Madonna. “This support is especially important since government funding for research continues to diminish. As the Widmans know all too well, neuroblastoma can be a very aggressive, and deadly, disease. The goal of this
project is to determine what makes neuroblastoma resistant to chemotherapy with the hope that one day we can find new therapies to prevent this phenomenon and help improve survival for children with this disease.”

“Unlike breast cancer and other more common cancers, you rarely hear about pediatric cancer. Perhaps parents are scared into silence, hoping this won’t happen to their child,” said Matt Widman. “But sadly, pediatric cancer takes 12,000 of our children each year. Through this important research and our ongoing partnership with Children’s Memorial Hospital, we hope to take some important steps toward finding a cure for one of the deadliest forms of pediatric cancer.“

- Liz Keating

Arun Sharma

Arun K. Sharma, PhD

Travel award to “2011 Basic Science Symposium: Stem Cells and Urologic Diseases” (American Urological Association and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases);

“Urinary bladder regeneration utilizing spina bifida derived bone marrow stem and progenitor cells” (Children’s Memorial Research Center pilot grant);

“A non-human primate model of urinary bladder regeneration utilizing autologous sources of bone marrow stem cells and a novel elastomeric scaffold” (Children’s Surgical Foundation);

“Elastomeric thin films displaying neural differentiation epitopes seeded with neural progenitor cells to aid in the urinary bladder regeneration for children afflicted with spina bifida” (Children’s Memorial Research Foundation). 

Sharma is Research assistant professor of Urology and a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at the Feinberg School; director of Pediatric Urological Regenerative Medicine in the Division of Urology at Children’s Memorial Hospital; and a member of the Developmental Biology Program of the research center.

 

 Seth Corey

Seth Corey, MD, MPH  

Co-investigator, “Identification of genetic co-modifiers in Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome” (Department of Defense);

Zebrafish model of Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome” (Alex Turnquist Foundation). 

Corey is Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Molecular Biology and Sharon B. Murphy, MD and Steven T. Rosen, MD Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology Research at the Feinberg School; Director of Oncology Research; Co-director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program; Attending physician, Children’s Memorial Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders; a member of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program; and director of the Pediatric Drug Development Center of the research center.

Simone Sredni  Simone T. Sredni, MD, PhD

Study of undifferentiated sarcoma (Rally Foundation). Sredni is Research assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School; and a member of the Chicago City-wide FOCIS Center of Excellence and the Pediatric Neurosurgery Laboratory of the research center. 

   

Debra Weese-Mayer, MD and Linda M. Ernst, MD, MHS, Assistant professor of Pathology at the Feinberg School: Co-investigators, “Stillbirth: Identification of pathologic and genetic risk” (Friends of Prentice). Weese-Mayer is Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School; medical director of the Center for Autonomic Medicine at Children’s Memorial; and a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the research center. 

 MaryBeth Lake  

MaryBeth Lake, MD has been chosen to receive funding as an appointed inaugural member of the Core Faculty Program by the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators and the Augusta Webster Office of Medical Education at Northwestern University. Lake is Associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Director of Education and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

 

Nancy Young

Nancy Young, MD is principal investigator of a study funded by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) entitled “Multimodal tests of spoken word recognition for adults and children”. Karen Iler Kirk, PhD, Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa, is the PI of the parent grant of this multicenter study which involves the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and Indiana University. The goals of this five year study are to develop and validate new audiovisual tests of spoken word recognition for adults and children. Lisa Weber, AuD and Susan Stenz, AuD, members of the Children’s Memorial Hospital Department of Audiology, are the co-investigators who are evaluating subjects using these new testing protocols. Young is Associate professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at the Feinberg School and the Lillian S. Wells Chair in Pediatric Otolaryngology; head, Section of Otology and Neurotology; and Medical director, Audiology and Cochlear Implant Program at Children’s Memorial.

 

Arun K. Sharma, PhD has received funding from Children’s Research Foundation (CRF) for a grant entitled “Elastomeric thin films displaying neural differentiation epitopes seeded with neural progenitor cells to aid in the urinary bladder regeneration for children afflicted with spina bifida”. CRF is a non-profit organization chartered by the states of Illinois and Indiana to support medical research in the diseases of children. Sharma is Research Assistant professor of Urology at the Feinberg School; Director of Pediatric Urological Regenerative Medicine, Division of Urology at Children’s Memorial; and a member of the Developmental Biology Program of Children's Memorial Research Center.

 

2010

 
FY2010 award graphAwards Increase for 2010

During Fiscal Year 2010, Children’s Memorial Medical Center received awards in the amount of $40.3 million which represents a 9.6 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. In the highly competitive environment for grantseeking, the researchers and staff are to be commended for their efforts in submitting proposals and their successes in obtaining external funding. These dollars directly translate into the exciting research that’s being done at Children’s Memorial to further basic science and children’s health, and make it possible for us to continue our dedication to preventing childhood illness, treating pediatric conditions for which cures are not available, and promoting healthier lifestyles.

 

CLOCC logo

 $5.8 Million Awarded to Children’s Memorial Hospital/City of Chicago for Obesity Prevention

September 15, 2010 -- The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) at Children’s Memorial Hospital has announced that it has received $5.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to partner with the Chicago Department of Public Health on obesity prevention. This funding is a portion of $31 million awarded across the country to support public health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition. These awards, funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund included in the Affordable Care Act, are part of the HHS Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program, a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These funds will be used to support initiatives that aim to:

  • Improve access to healthy food and safe opportunities for physical activity at the city and neighborhood level.
  • Employ policy and environmental change strategies to improve safe access to the city's parks, increase retail options available for healthy food purchasing, and help develop tools to integrate urban agriculture and other forms of food production into city and open-space planning across the city, which will ensure equal access to healthy foods for all Chicagoans.
  • Implement a public media campaign will encourage Chicago residents to make healthier choices in conjunction with the environmental changes that will facilitate such choices.

To view a detailed listing of grant awardees, visit http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/recovery/community-awards.htm.

About CLOCC

The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program housed at Children’s Memorial Hospital. It is a data-driven effort that brings together hundreds of organizations and individuals in Chicago, with a common goal of protecting Chicago children from the effects of the obesity epidemic. Its primary focus is on children aged zero to five years, their caretakers, and those who work with their parents and caretakers. CLOCC's work is led by community leaders in the health sector and guided by community-based groups from across the city. The shared work of CLOCC's partners cuts across sectors: medicine, government, corporate, academic, advocacy, and others. Currently, there are over 2,500 participants in CLOCC representing over 900 organizations.

CLOCC is creating and sustaining the types of multi-level collaborations recommended by our nation's health leaders. It has been identified as a leading community model by the Institute of Medicine, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information, contact Chris Kierig, CLOCC Communications Manager, at 312-573-7760 (office) or 773-203-3179 (cell) or visit www.clocc.net.

 Anne Marie Singh Anne Marie Singh, MD has been selected to receive a National Institutes of Health (NIH) KL-2 award from the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) institute. Her research will focus on the pathogenesis of early expressions of atopic disease, focusing on childhood food allergy and eczema. She is Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Feinberg School and an attending physician in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Memorial.

 Lauren Pachman In 2010, Lauren Pachman, MD received an R01 grant from the NIH/National Institute of Nursing Research for her study entitled “Disease chronicity in juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM): Epigenetic clues.” In this study, the quality of life of children with JDM will be correlated with their epigenetic status by testing diagnostic muscle biopsies from untreated children with JDM, boys compared with girls (matched for disease duration) and age-, gender-matched healthy controls. Discovery of specific microRNA and/or methylation markers may be key to repair the vascular damage central to JDM pathology and may lead to more effective medical interventions. Pachman is Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School and director of the Chicago City-wide FOCIS Center of Excellence in Clinical Immunology at the research center. Preliminary data critical to this award was funded by Cure JM Foundation. See also the story under "Philanthropy". 

 Xiao-Di Tan

In 2010, Xiao-Di Tan, MD received a competitive renewal R01 from the NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a study that received a ranking in the second percentile during NIH study section review. Acute intestinal injury contributes to morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients in the intensive care unit and surgical department. Despite medical advances of the past few decades, there remain few effective treatments for this common disorder. Recent findings by the Tan laboratory demonstrate that milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) promotes repair of intestinal lining in sepsis. The aims of the project are to discover the novel mechanistic information that will uncover the crucial role of MFG-E8 in the gut, and that are likely to suggest novel therapeutic strategies for critically ill patients. Tan is Research associate professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at the Feinberg School and a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the research center. He is truly appreciative of the strong support his laboratory has received from the research center and philanthropy.

   
Kelly Michelson, MD, MPH has received a pilot/exploratory grant from the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) entitled “Evaluating family conferences in the pediatric intensive care unit”. She seeks to develop an understanding of the role and impact of family conferences on end-of-life care decision making and ultimately to develop interventions that optimize family-centered communication during family conferences in the pediatric intensive care unit. The NPCRC is committed to stimulating, developing and funding research directed at improving care for seriously ill patients and their families. Michelson is Assistant professor of Pediatrics and associate physician at the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; attending physician in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Memorial; and a member of the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program of Children's Memorial Research Center.  
Jill Weissberg-Benchell Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD has received funding from the Walden W. and Jean Young Shaw Foundation to complete her study on transitioning from pediatric to adult care. The Shaw Research Grants in Nursing and the Allied Health Professions fund nursing and allied health research proposals and are targeted for research projects that have a significant potential to impact patient care. Weissberg- Benchell is Associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School, pediatric psychologist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Children’s Memorial, and a member of the Smith Child Health Research Program of the research center.
Isabelle De Plaen The laboratory of Isabelle De Plaen, MD has received funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for its study entitled “Cell-specific role of NF-KB in necrotizing enterocolitis”. This proposal aims at dissecting the mechanisms leading to necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease with great morbidity and mortality that affects premature babies. It uses genetically manipulated mice to study the role of a factor that regulates the gene transcription of inflammatory substances and contributes to intestinal injury. De Plaen is Associate professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, attending physician in Neonatology at Children’s Memorial, and a member of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the research center. 

Simone Treiger Sredni, MD, PhD, Research scientist in the laboratory of Lauren Pachman, MD, FOCIS Center of Excellence in Clinical Immunogy and the Neurosurgery research laboratory of Tadanori Tomita, MD, has received a second year of funding from the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research

Xiaobin Wang
Xiaobin Wang,
MD, MPH, ScD

NIH Expands Food Allergy Research Program

In July 2010, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), established in 2005, will be funded for five more years. CoFAR will continue to foster new approaches to prevent and treat food allergies and also expand in scope to include research on the genetic causes underlying food allergy and studies of food allergy-associated eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs). Two principal investigators will receive funding under the new CoFAR grant: Hugh Sampson, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York; and Xiaobin Wang, MD, MPH, ScD, of the research center. Wang will lead the CoFAR genetics studies, which will include investigators at Boston University. The name of the study is “Post genome-wide association study of food allergy”. The full press release is available at www.nih.gov/news/health/jul2010/niaid-14.htm. Wang is Professor of Pediatrics and the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Research Professor at the Feinberg School and director of the Smith Child Health Research Program of the research center. 

The Children's Memorial Research Center leadership is pleased to announce the following Bridge Grant Awards:

Awardee

Program

Grant title

Estella Alonso, MD Clinical and Translational Research Functional outcomes in pediatric liver transplantation 
Martha C. Bohn, PhD Neurobiology Bridge funding for development of genetically modified mesenchymal stem cells for Parkinson’s disease 
Udeme Ekong, MD Clinical and Translational Research In vitro surrogates of functional tolerance in pediatric liver transplantation 
Laura Herzing, PhD Human Molecular Genetics Dissecting the role of maternal chromosome 15 duplication in autism 
Marilyn Lamm, PhD Developmental Biology Paracrine hedgehog signaling and the extracellular matrix in prostate cancer bone metastasis 
Marcelo Bento Soares, PhD    Cancer Biology and Epigenomics    A sequence-based strategy for epigenomic analysis of pediatric ependymomas
 

2009

 
JPongracic NIAID Awards Five-Year, $56 Million Contract to Continue Study of Asthma in Inner-city Children

November 6, 2009 — Medical News Today (Source: Julie Wu, NIH/NIAID)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has renewed the contract to continue studying asthma in children living in lower-income, inner-city environments. This five-year, $56 million award will support the Inner-City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), a nationwide clinical trials network to evaluate promising new therapies to reduce asthma severity and prevent disease, and to perform basic research to understand how these therapies work. Investigators at participating sites will develop and conduct clinical trials that evaluate the safety and efficacy of promising immune-based therapies designed to reduce asthma severity and prevent disease. In addition, the researchers will examine what makes inner-city asthma different from that in other environments. Another goal is to determine what causes exacerbations (a worsening of asthma symptoms) and develop appropriate treatments. Jacqueline Pongracic, MD is the principal investigator for Children’s Memorial. Pongracic is head of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Memorial Hospital; Associate professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine; and a member of the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program of Children's Memorial Research Center.
Santhanam Suresh Santhanam Suresh, MD is co-investigator on a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Research Resources entitled: “Development of a small volume sampling technique for fentanyl pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacogenetic analysis in preterm and term neonates with and without cyanotic congenital heart disease”. The principal investigator is Ronald J. Sokol, MD from the University of Colorado, Denver. Suresh is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics at the Feinberg School; Director, Pain Management Service; Director of Research, Department of Anesthesiology at Children’s Memorial; and Associate director of anesthesia research at the research center.

John Crispino

Bento Soares

Vasil Galat

Peter F. Whitington

NIH Challenge Grants awarded to research center investigators

Peter F. Whitington, MD and John Crispino, PhD have been awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research. “Challenge Areas, defined by the NIH, focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. The research in these areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health.” (from http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/challenge_award/)

Crispino’s award is entitled: “Identification of altered molecular signatures of Down syndrome iPS cells” and is in the amount of $1,000,000 over two years. Crispino is Associate professor of Medicine–Hematology/Oncology at the Feinberg School and a member of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program of the research center. His co-investigators are Marcelo Bento Soares, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School; Rachelle and Mark Gordon Endowed Professor and director of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program of the research center; and Vasil Galat, PhD, Research assistant professor and director of the iPS and Human Stem Cell Core facility. Crispino and Soares are members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In order to understand how trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) affects blood cell development, the scientists will analyze gene expression and methylation profiles of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from individuals with and without DS. In addition, they will compare the hematopoietic differentiation potential of these two groups of iPSCs as a way to study the effect of trisomy 21 on blood cell development and disease. iPSCs provide a powerful new tool for performing research on this complex genetic disorder. The project’s longterm goal is to determine which of the microRNAs, mRNAs or methylation differences that are detected in trisomy 21 cells contribute to aberrant hematopoiesis and the predisposition to leukemia in infants and children with DS.

Whitington’s challenge grant is entitled “Serologic test for neonatal hemochromatosis in infants with acute liver failure” and is in the amount of $561,739 over two years. This project seeks to develop an approach that will improve the diagnosis of acute liver failure in infants, resulting in significantly improved outcome with medical therapy, and reduced utilization of liver transplantation in pediatric patients. Neonatal hemochromatosis (NH) is the leading diagnosed cause of liver failure in neonates in most series. However, no diagnosis for acute liver failure can be established in up to 40 percent of infants. The overall objective of this project is to determine the true prevalence of NH as a cause of acute liver failure in infants who are younger than 90 days of age. The critical gap in scientific knowledge to be overcome is the lack of a sensitive and specific diagnostic biomarker for NH. The biomarker to be studied in this project is the presence of “anti-fetal hepatocyte IgG antibody” in mothers’ or infants’ serum. The expected results will show that NH constitutes fully 50 percent of all causes of acute liver failure in young infants. This finding will have a positive impact because NH is responsive to specific medical therapy, which improves outcome over current treatment including liver transplantation. Furthermore, should the test used in this analysis prove to be sensitive and specific for the diagnosis, it could replace current diagnostic approaches and prospectively improve diagnostic accuracy in this setting. Whitington is the director of the Siragusa Transplantation Center; Sally Burnett Searle Professor of Pediatrics and Transplantation; Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Feinberg School; and a researcher in the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the research center. 

ARRA Funding
On February 17, 2009, in an effort to create and save jobs, spur economic activity, invest in long-term growth, and foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 into law. Of the $787 billion in ARRA funding, $8.2 billion was given to the NIH to disperse to scientific researchers for two-year award periods.

This opportunity led to a dramatic influx of proposals to the Office of Sponsored Programs in April and May of 2009. OSP received a total of 75 ARRA proposals requesting in excess of $37 million dollars. Of those, 13 awards have been received to date with cumulative funding of $4,191,256.

In addition to the awards to Peter F. Whitington and John Crispino, Marcelo Bento Soares and Vasil Galat, the table below shows Children’s Memorial Research Center proposals that have been funded.

Christine DiDonato, PhD Human Molecular Genetics Program Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Inducing SMN Expression
Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD  Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program  Epigenetic Effect of the Microenvironment on Stem Cell Plasticity and Function (two awards) 
Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD  Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program   Biological Function(s) of Maspin
Jhumku Kohtz, PhD  Developmental Biology Program  The Mechanism and Significance of EVF ncRNA Regulation of the DIX Genes 
Marilyn L.G. Lamm, PhD  Developmental Biology Program  SHH Signaling: Role in Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis 
Honglin Li, PhD  Neurobiology Program  Functional Study of C53 Protein as a Novel Regulator of Checkpoint Kinases 
Hans-Georg Simon, PhD Developmental Biology Program The Role of LMP4 in the Regulation of the Cardiac Transcription Factor TBX5
Jacek Topczewski, PhD Developmental Biology Program WNT Signaling in Craniofacial Cartilage Morphogenesis
Xiaobin Wang, MD, MPH, ScD Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program Genome-Wide Association Study of Food Allergy

To view a searchable database of all NIH grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit http://report.nih.gov/recovery/ index.aspx.

Children's Memorial Hospital launches web site for federal stimulus dollars
Congress passed and President Obama signed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), also known as the Stimulus Package, in February 2009. Contained within this act is the allocation of billions of dollars for research funded through various federal funding agencies.

Children’s Memorial Hospital, Office of Sponsored Programs, has built this webpage that lists the various funding opportunities as they are released, website links to the federal and state agencies recovery home pages, and postings of important news and updates related to ARRA.

2008

 

Isabelle De Plaen, MD  was awarded a 2008 American Gastroenterological Association Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition Bridging Grant. Her long-term goals are to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that lead to neonatal enterocolitis (NEC), a deadly disease affecting the bowel of the premature infant, and to develop new therapeutic approaches. De Plaen’s laboratory has developed and characterized a neonatal mouse model of NEC. Using this model, she is studying the cell-specific role of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kB, a major regulator of inflammation, on bowel injury and NEC. She expects that the results will have an important impact on the understanding of NEC pathogenesis and promote specific celltargeted therapies to change the outcome of this devastating disease. De Plaen is Associate professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, a member of the Center for Digestive Diseases and Immunobiology of the research center and a neonatologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Food allergy study
Twelve investigators have received grants totaling $5 million over two years to lead high-impact, innovative studies on food allergy, a significant public health concern. Xiaobin Wang, MD, MPH, ScD, is a recipient.

NUCATS award
The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) garnered a $29 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH. The award supports NUCATS’ ongoing efforts and funds five centers within the institute. Two of the five centers will be led by Children’s Memorial attending physicians.

Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust support exciting, ground-breaking studies
Children’s Memorial Research Center was recently awarded two grants from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. The grants will support Dr. Xiaobin Wang’s study, “Application of Genomics and Proteomics Approach in Understanding Biological Mechanisms of Food Allergy,” and Dr. Hans-Georg Simon’s study, “Rebuilding a Heart.”  Read more.

Salamander
Salamanders, like the red spotted
newt, can regenerate their limbs,
tails, spinal cords and jaws.

Simon receives grant to study limb regeneration
Do mammals have the potential to re-grow arms and legs? A Children’s Memorial Research Center scientist is part of a national study seeking to answer that question. The partial or complete loss of digits or limbs and deforming disabilities resulting from serious illness can profoundly affect a person’s life. This presents a challenge for the medical community charged with their care.
Recognizing the need for novel approaches that can restore, even partially, the structure and function of lost or damaged tissues, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $3.7 million grant to a consortium of six universities and research centers to unlock the regenerative potential in humans.  Read more. 

   
State grant results in $2 million for stem cell research
Children's Memorial Research Center recently received nearly $2 million in a two-year grant from the state of Illinois for research on reversal of disease progression by stem cells. The research center was awarded the largest single grant out of 10 local institutions receiving funds from Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute (IRMI), which was created by Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s executive order last July to provide $10 million in state-funded grants for stem cell research. Children’s Memorial was the only pediatric institution to receive IRMI funding. The research center’s president and scientific director, Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, will be the principal investigator.

 Morris receives McKnight Grant to explore causes of brain disorders
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience has committed $1.5 million over three years to investigate the root causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The 2006 Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Awards will support U.S. scientists for research aimed at diagnosing, preventing, and treating injuries or diseases of the brain or spinal cord. The five projects selected this year are studying mechanisms involved in stroke, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and sleep disorders. Each will receive $300,000 over the three-year period. 

Fox Foundation grant funds major gene therapy advance for treatment of Parkinson's disease
An innovative gene therapy approach pioneered by Pennsylvania-based RheoGene Inc. will be further refined and tested in preliminary clinical trials within four years, thanks to a $4.2 million grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF).  A wholly owned affiliate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), RheoGene Inc. has developed technology to manage gene expression, a key component of gene-based therapies. RheoGene's therapeutic system uses a patented small-molecule mediator that can turn genes "on" or "off" as well as adjust the level of gene activity similar to the way a rheostat regulates electric current. 

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