February 2021 Department of Pediatrics NewsletterFeb 26, 2021
Dear Faculty and Friends,
Welcome to the February edition of the Department of Pediatrics Newsletter. Here you will find a sampling of all the amazing activity happening within the Department of Pediatrics and at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Thanks to all our talented faculty, trainees, and staff who make this the best Pediatrics Department in the country!
Nakano and Garcia Lead Single Ventricle Research
Stephanie Nakano, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiology) and Anastacia Garcia, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiology) have each been awarded 3-year, $660,000 awards from Additional Ventures and the Single Ventricle Research Fund (SVRF). SVRF is an annual research award program that is solely focused on accelerating research and improving care for those with single ventricle heart defects through multi-year, high-impact grants. Congratulations for both Dr. Nakano and Dr. Garcia!
Dr. Nakano’s award, titled “Immunophenotyping in Pediatric Patients with Single Ventricle Congenital Heart Disease: Connecting Inflammatory and Immune Dysregulation with Outcomes,” is focused on early detection. Dr. Nakano’s project seeks to characterize the immune cells in children with single ventricle congenital heart disease (SV) to identify alterations that may play a role in the development of heart failure. In some cases, medications that affect the immune system may be novel treatments for children with this disease. Successful completion of this work may lead to improved outcomes for pediatric SV patients by exploring new approaches to medical therapies tailored to this population and assisting with a risk-stratification framework using a precision medicine approach.
Dr. Garcia’s award, titled “Peripheral Mononuclear Cells as Biomarkers for Myocardial Metabolic Function in Single Ventricle Congenital Heart Disease Patients,” aims to utilize peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) populations from SV patients as non-invasive biomarkers of myocardial metabolism. Dr. Garcia’s goal is to evaluate mitochondrial function, transcriptomic, metabolomic, and lipidomic alterations, and reactive oxygen species in circulating PBMCs from SV patients compared to BVNF controls. She hypothesizes that PBMCs isolated from children with SV could serve as a molecular biomarker of myocardial cellular respiration and have the potential to provide predictive prognostic value in SV patients, with the goal of improving outcomes in this group.
Domek Awarded Endowed Professorship
Gretchen Domek, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of General Academic Pediatrics) has been named the new William K. Frankenburg Research Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of General Academic Pediatrics. This endowed professorship will enable Dr. Domek to continue her research in early childhood development for at-risk populations. Congratulations, Dr. Domek!
Department No. 3 in NIH Research Funding
The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research has released the ranking tables of National Institutes of Health funding to U.S. medical schools for federal fiscal year 2020 (October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020). Once again, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus was ranked among the top in NIH funding among Pediatrics Departments. With a record high funding level of $57.2 million, our Department placed third in total NIH funding. Thirty of our faculty investigators have NIH funding of over $500,000 and 11 have funding that exceeds $1 million.
Our NIH funding portfolio increased by $10.1 million over 2019. This is remarkable performance by our faculty for some of the most highly competitive federal awards – the success rate for NIH project grants (R01), for example, is less than 18 percent. This outstanding performance reflects the tremendous breadth and depth of our research portfolio and the results of the passionate work of all our faculty investigators and their research teams. This level of productivity is also made possible by the significant, ongoing investment in research by our Department and sections, the School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Congratulations to all our research programs who continue to make discoveries that will improve the health of children in Colorado and beyond.
Faculty Publications Top 1,400 for 2020
Utilizing the Colorado PROFILES search engine tool, 1,467 peer reviewed publications were identified by Department of Pediatrics faculty in calendar year 2020, toping last year’s total of 1,319. This tremendous volume of scholarly output from our faculty and their research teams is a measure of our commitment to scientific finding and discovery.
Our publication record enhances our academic reputation that is key to program rankings such as U.S. News & World Report. Our faculty were published in a wide range of journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of Pediatrics, the Lancet, and multiple sub-specialty journals. Congratulations to all of those with 2020 publications and for your contributions to the field of pediatrics.
5280 Top Doctors 2021
Voting for 5280 magazine’s 2021 Top Doctors list is officially underway. Between now and March 12, physicians in the seven metro-area counties (Denver, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Boulder, Adams, Douglas, and Jefferson) are eligible to vote in the magazine’s poll. The poll is one of the highest-profile rankings of Denver area physicians and Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado faculty physicians are frequently named to the list. The magazine has conducted the poll for more than two decades, asking physicians whom they would trust to treat themselves and their loved ones. I encourage all faculty physicians to take the time to cast a ballot. All that is required is your name, email address, and license number.
As we continue to navigate the stressors associated with the ongoing pandemic and societal strife, it is important that we take time to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of our colleagues and teams. If you would like to acknowledge a co-worker or group for their service, success and/or support, please access the new DOP “shout-out” page. Submissions will be reviewed for inclusion in the following months Department Newsletter.
As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD