June 2021 Department of Pediatrics NewsletterJun 11, 2021
Dear Faculty and Friends,
Welcome to the June 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!
Changing of the Guard for Adolescent Medicine
On June 1, the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Adolescent Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado welcomed Diane M. Straub, MD, MPH as its new Section Head. That marked the end of a remarkable 37-year tour as Section Head for David Kaplan, MD who had announced his plans to step down from his leadership role upon completion of the search for his successor. Dr. Straub joins us from the University of South Florida where she had been Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine since 2006. Dr. Straub is an accomplished community-based researcher with an ambitious goal for leading the Section of Adolescent Medicine into the next decade. She will partner with our outstanding faculty and care teams to strengthen our clinical programs, community-based research, educational and training programs, and child health advocacy.
Dr. Straub will take the leadership reins of the Section from Dr. Kaplan who will remain with the Section and continue his busy clinical practice in service to adolescent patients and their families. Throughout his remarkable tenure, David has demonstrated visionary leadership and has left an enduring imprint and institutional legacy of accomplishments. Those include the CHCO medical day treatment program for medically complex children, the adolescent weight loss program, and the Eating Disorder Unit (EDU), among many others. Dr. Kaplan also lead the way at CHCO with the creation of the position of Chief Medical Information Officer and in this leadership role, he was the cornerstone physician lead for our transition to the electronic medical record system we have today in EPIC.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Straub and in congratulating both her and Dr. Kaplan as they embark on their new journeys.
Friedman to Step Down as Developmental Pediatrics Head
Sandra Friedman, MD, MPH (Professor and Head, Section of Developmental Pediatrics) has announced her intention to step down from her role as Section Head pending the completion of the search for her replacement. Dr. Friedman has been Section Head for 12 years since coming to the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado in 2009.
Under Dr. Friedman’s leadership, the Section’s faculty numbers have increased more than fivefold, with a significant increase in the number, types, and breadth of clinical programs. She has overseen a comprehensive initiative to improve access to care for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD). This strategy includes providing technical assistance and capacity building of community-based PCPs to support their identification and management of children with ASD/DD, which also incorporates underserved rural and frontier regions of the state. Soon after her arrival, Dr. Friedman obtained ACGME accreditation for a developmental-behavioral pediatrics (DBP) fellowship program, which she directs. She subsequently received one of 10 national DBP training grants to support the fellowship, with continuous funding since. The section also has training programs for psychology and other disciplines that care for children with disabilities. Dr. Friedman led the integration of JFK Partners within her Section in 2015, now directing that program and its two core federal grants. She built research infrastructure within the section, particularly to support junior faculty and fellows. She also joined two national research networks that focus on a broad range of issues pertaining children and youth with ASD/DD.
These are just a small sampling of the accomplishments of the Section under Dr. Friedman’s leadership. The Section is in outstanding position as we embark on the search for the next leader. A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks and charged with conducting a comprehensive national search for Dr. Friedman’s successor.
Bear and Forester Named Boettcher Investigators
Two Department of Pediatrics faculty members are among the six newest recipients of grant funding through the Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards Program. Joshua Bear, MD, (Assistant Professor, Section of Neurology) and Craig Forester, MD, PhD, (Assistant Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation) have each been awarded $235,000 in grant funding to support up to three years of biomedical research. The Webb-Waring program supports promising, early-career scientific researchers, allowing them to advance their independent research and compete for major federal and private awards.
Dr. Bear was selected is for his project titled, “Studying cortical networks in medication-refractory epilepsy.” Dr. Bear’s research seeks to advance the predictiveness of surgical outcomes in patients with epilepsy. Brains prone to seizures have areas with frequent electrical “spikes.” Tracking how these spikes connect to other parts of the brain; a novel method termed “spike-associated networks,” can be highly predictive of surgical outcome. Through Dr. Bear’s additional studies to further improve these tracking techniques, it is anticipated that surgical plans will achieve a higher chance of seizure freedom or patients unlikely to benefit from surgery can avoid surgery in favor of alternative therapies.
Dr. Forester earned funding for his project titled, “Determinants of nascent gene expression in hematopoiesis.” Dr. Forester’s research notes that a mechanistic understanding of how mRNA transcripts are recognized in early erythropoiesis is incomplete. His project therefore aims to dissect how the translation initiation machinery specifically targets key mRNA transcripts and how alterations in the ribosome affect synthesis of crucial nascent proteins in response to differentiation cues.
New R01 to Davidson for Congenital Heart Disease Research
Jesse Davidson, MD (Professor, Section of Cardiology) has been awarded a new 5-year, $2.8 million research project award (R01-HL156670) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for his project titled, “Metabolic profiling and comprehensive metabolic pathway mapping: a systems biology approach to cardiovascular failure and organ injury following infant congenital heart disease surgery.” Babies experience dramatic changes in their metabolism after heart surgery that may lead to heart failure, organ damage, or even death. Currently little is known about the specific metabolism changes that are most dangerous or how to fix them. Dr. Davidson’s research project will use blood tests from patients to better understand these metabolism changes and then test metabolism in important organs in an animal model of heart surgery. The goal is the development of novel new diagnostic, mechanistic, and therapeutic approaches to reduce the adverse effects of infant congenital heart disease surgery.
2021 Pediatric Spring Poster Session Winners
The 2021 Pediatric Online Spring Poster Session was a rousing success with a total of 55 posters submitted and 18 fellows participating in this event. Fellows were recognized for presenting outstanding posters in the categories of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year Fellow. Congratulations to all the participants in this event. Here are the winners as scored by a distinguished panel of judges.
1st Year Fellow Poster Winner: Victoria Elliott, MD (Endocrinology)
Poster Title: Fertility Preservation Referral Practices for Patients with Turner Syndrome in Pediatric Endocrine Clinics: Results of a Pediatric Endocrine Society Survey
1st Year Honorable Mention: Eman Elsabbagh, MD, (Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant)
Poster Title: Multifocal Macrocystic Lesions: A Case of Diagnostic Mimicry
2nd year Fellow Poster Winner: Sindhu Sudanagunta, MD (Emergency Medicine)
Poster Title: Impact on Non-Allergic Anaphylactoid Reactions After Implementation of 2-bag Intravenous N acetylcysteine Regimen for Pediatric Acetaminophen Toxicity
2nd Year Honorable Mention: Anna Valentine, MD (Endocrinology)
Poster Title: Multicenter Analysis of Cardiometabolic-Related Diagnoses in Transgender Adolescents
3rd Year Fellow Poster Winner: Brad Constant, MD (Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition)
Poster Title: Prior Authorization Requirements Delay Biologic Initiation and Increase Healthcare Utilization in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease
3rd Year Honorable Mention: Sara Williams, MD (Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics)
Poster Title: Medical Aspects of the Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder
A special thanks to the Colorado Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) for their help with organizing this event.
Messer and Tommerdahl Awarded Diabetes Research Center Funding
Laurel Messer, PhD, RN (Assistant Professor, Barbara Davis Center) and Kalie Tommerdahl, MD (Instructor, Section of Endocrinology) have been awarded 2021 Pilot and Feasibility grants from the Diabetes Research Center. The Pilot and Feasibility Program provides up to $100,000 in funding over two years in support of the promising young investigators conducting research in diabetes related areas.
Dr. Messer was awarded funding for her project titled, “Development of a “Cognitive Awareness Artificial Pancreas Enhancement” (CAPE) to Help Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Optimize their use of Artificial Pancreas Systems.” The project aims to develop a cognitive awareness artificial pancreas enhancement (CAPE) to “nudge” adolescents, via adaptive prompts based on current cognitive resources and behavioral tendencies, to improve their diabetes self-care with artificial pancreas system, ultimately improving glycemic control.
Dr. Tommerdahl received funding for her project titled, “Metformin and Automated Insulin Delivery System Effects on Renal Vascular Resistance and Vascular and Endothelial Function in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes Pilot Study.” Her project hypothesizes that automated insulin delivery (AID) systems plus metformin may modulate renal vascular resistance (RVR) and vascular/endothelial function, thereby affecting cardiometabolic function.
Nozik Awarded NIH Exploratory Funding
Eva Nozik, MD (Professor, Section of Critical Care) has been awarded a two-year, $810,000 Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R33-HL157907) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for her project titled, “Developing EPR tools for preclinical interrogation of redox regulation mechanisms contributing to acute lung injury.” Dr. Nozik’s research plans to develop new Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) imaging technologies to improve the ability to define an individual's lung redox status in acute lung injury. Such technology promises to advance therapeutic strategies in the treatment of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Appel Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has awarded Bruce Appel, PhD (Professor and Head, Section of Developmental Biology) an eight-year, $6.9 million Outstanding Investigator Award (R35-NS122191) for his project titled, “Mechanisms of Developmental Myelination.” The long-term goal of Dr. Appel’s project is to understand how oligodendrocytes, which are glial cells of the central nervous system, form specific amounts of myelin on select axons during development. Completion of this research will substantially extend our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which myelin membrane is produced and modified by brain activity. This will provide important new insights to the developmental basis of learning, memory, and psychiatric disease and to provide a foundation for designing therapeutic strategies to promote myelination of brains damaged by disease or injury.
Wright Receives Lobo Award
Congratulations to Clyde Wright, MD (Associate Professor, Section of Neonatology) who was selected by the Society for Reproductive Investigation as the annual Rogerio A. Lobo Award winner. Established in 2007, the Rogerio A. Lobo Award recognizes the most outstanding contribution to Reproductive Sciences by a member of the Society for Reproductive Investigation and is named in honor of Dr. Lobo, a former president of the Society. Dr. Wright will receive his award at the SRI annual meeting in Boston this July.
Society for Pediatric Research Offers Diversity Funding
The Society for Pediatric Research has announced a new, $7,500 PROSPER Diversity Award. The PRomotion of FellOwS' PEdiatric Research (PROSPER) Diversity Award will provide material support and mentoring for a one-year pediatric research project that will facilitate an academic research-focused career trajectory for fellows from under-represented minority backgrounds. Award funds will be matched by the awardee’s organization, yielding a total of $15,000 in research support. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply via the Society’s website. Applications are due by July 15.
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