Research Council Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 2

News from the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Research Council including "Nutrition at Harvard Medical School" by Dr. W. Allan Walker, Conrad Taff Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and research of Florian Eichler, MD, (Leukodystrophy Clinic); Hai Ning Shi, DVM, PhD, (Mucosal Immunology Laboratory); Takara Stanley, MD (Pediatric Endocrine and Neuroendocrine).

Announcement

The MGHfC Department of Pediatrics will sponsor one scholarship for the 2011 Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness. Deadline for applications is December 3rd, 2010. Please provide a one-page justification for the application including future plans, a letter from your Division Chief, and a curriculum vitae, and send electronically to W. Allan Walker (wwalker@partners.org). A decision will be made by January 15, 2011

The Program in Clinical Effectiveness, a Joint Program of BWH, MGH, HMS and HSPH, is designed for the clinician seeking the quantitative and analytic skills needed for clinical research or interested in health-care administration. This is an intensive seven-week, 15-credit summer program, offering summer-long core courses in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Participants also select two half-summer courses from offerings in Decision Analysis, Current Issues in Health Policy, Medical Informatics, Health Care Ethics, Linear and Longitudinal Regression,Survey of Methods and Applications in Health Services Research, Research with Large Databases, Measuring Health Outcomes, Quality Improvement in Health Care and Research in Social and Behavioral Health. For students with previous experience, second-level courses are also offered in Analytic issues of Clinical Epidemiology, Principles of Clinical Trials, and Survival Methods in Clinical Research.

Nutrition at Harvard Medical School

By W. Allan Walker, MD, Conrad Taff Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

W. Allan Walker, MD

W. Allan Walker, MD

The Harvard Clinical Nutrition Research Center, one of eleven NIH-funded nutrition centers across the United States, began in 1994. Its primary goals are to promote clinical and basic nutrition research throughout the Harvard Medical School, including its teaching hospitals. In addition, the Center provides nutrition education to HMS students and postgraduate programs for residents, fellows and junior faculty. These programs include a four-year nutrition curriculum at HMS and postgraduate symposia each year on “cutting edge” topics in nutrition which are held at the HMS Tosteson Hall. This year’s curriculum as entitled “Nutrition and Global Health”. read more

Research Programs of Faculty

Florian Eichler, MD

Florian Eichler, MD

Leukodystrophy Clinic,Division of Neurology, MGHfC; Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
My research is primarily focused upon X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD), also known as“Lorenzo’s Oil” Brain Disease. X-ALD is a devastating genetic disorder affecting the adrenal glands and nervous system. Identification of the gene defect and its biochemical consequences has opened up several approaches to therapy in recent years. My research assistants include Kevin Garofalo, Ourania Giannikopoulos, Dika Kuljis and Brian Schmidt. Additionally, I collaborate with Eva Ratai and Borjan Gagoski for MRI and MR spectroscopy research.read more.

   
Hai Ning Shi, DVM, PhD

Hai Ning Shi, DVM, PhD

Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Pediatric GI Unit, MGHfC, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
My research interests are focused regulation of mucosal immunity in the gastrointestinal tract. We use both in vivo and in vitro approaches to elucidate the mechanisms by which an intestinal helminth infection modulates intestinal inflammation induced by pathogenic and non-pathogenicenteric bacteria. Helminths infect 2 billion people world-wide. The distribution of several pathogenic helminth infections coincides geographically with many devastating microbial diseases, such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.read more.

   
Takara Stanley,MD

Takara Stanley,MD

Pediatric Endocrine and Neuroendocrine Units, Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
My general research interest is the interrelationship between body fat distribution, pituitary hormone dynamics, and metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. Working in the MGH Program in Nutritional Metabolism under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Grinspoon, I am doing clinical research focused on HIV-infected adults, who often experience increased visceral fat and decreased extremity fat after initiation of antiretroviral therapy.These body composition changes may be accompanied by metabolic and endocrine abnormalities, including decreased growth hormone (GH) secretion, impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia, and increased subclinical atherosclerosis.read more.

Travel Grant Awardees: MGHfC Research Day

Twenty-four posters were submitted for presentation at the MGHfC Research Day which was held on March 30, 2010. Three posters were judged meritorious and given a special award, namely funds to attend a national meeting of choice. read more.

Clinical Effectiveness Course Awardees (Reactions)

The MGHfC Research Council holds an annual competition to identify two individuals(residents/fellows/junior faculty) who will benefit from receiving funding to participate in the Summer Course for Clinical Effectiveness, taught by faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health. We will be announcing this year’s competition very shortly. The awardees for this program for 2009-2010 were Amber Spofford and Emara Nabi. Here are their impressions regarding the program.read more.

Funding received by MGHfC faculty and fellows starting 2010

Name of Awardee: Selvi Ramasamy PhD (David Sweetser Lab)
Source of Funding: Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Name of Funded Protocol: TLE1 tumor suppressor as a key regulator of myc induced leukemia
Duration of Funding: 7/1/2010 - 6/30/2012

Name of Awardee: David Sweetser MD,PhD
Source of Funding: AstraZeneca
Name of Funded Protocol: Identification of TLE1/N-Myc regulated pathways in AML
Duration of Funding: 7/1/2010 - 6/30/2011

Name of Awardee: Jianfeng Wang MD, PhD (David Sweetser Lab)
Source of Funding: NCI/NIH T32 Training Grant
Name of Funded Protocol: Novel Tumor Suppressor Genes in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Duration of Funding: 7/1/2010 – 6/30/2013

Name of Awardee: Howard J. Weinstein, MD
Source of Funding: NIH-NCI
Name of Funded Protocol: National Childhood Cancer Foundation
Duration of Funding: 3/1/2010 – 2/28/2011

Name of Awardee: Kate Powis. MD
Source of Funding: Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (HU CFAR), the Global Infections Diseases (GID) Program and the Global Health Scholars Program at the Harvard Institute for Global Health (HIGH)
Name of Funded Protocol: HAART to Prevent HIV Transmission in Infants in Botswana; 2. A Randomized Study of Cotrimoxazole
Prophylaxis and Longer Breastfeeding Duration to Improve Survival Among HIV-Exposed Infants in Botswana
Duration of Funding: 07/01/2010 - 06/30/2011

Name of Awardee: Jesse D. Roberts, Jr., MD, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Source of Funding: NIH-NHLBI
Name of Funded Protocol: Mechanisms regulating PKGI proteolysis and modulation of pulmonary SMC phenotype (Definerole of proprotein convertases in regulating PKGI proteolysis and nuclear cGMP signaling in pulmonary smooth muscle cells).
Duration of Funding: 2010 - 2014

Name of Awardee: Jonathan Spector, MD (Co-investigator)
Source of Funding: Harvard Catalyst/Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (NIH Award #UL1 RR 025758)
Name of Funded Protocol: Mobile Electronic Protocols to Improve the Quality of Newborn Healthcare
Duration of Funding: 2010 - 2011

Name of Awardee: Michael S. Gee
Source of Funding: RSNA Research Scholar Grant/RSNA R&E Foundation
Name of Funded Protocol: Evaluation of Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance (DMR) technology for molecular characterization ofcancer cells from percutaneous image-guided biopsy specimens
Duration of Funding: July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012

Name of Awardee: Katherine Sims, MD
Source of Funding: Harvard Catalyst Program
Name of Funded Protocol: Development of New Molecular Genetic Tests for Neurological Diseases
Duration of Funding: 07/01/2010-06/30/2011
Goal is to move second generation sequencing into our CLIA-certified molecular testing lab (MGH Neurogenetics DNA Diagnostic Lab). We will develop panels for ALS, NCL and dystonia genes for which we already do clinical testing. Pilot project will aim to set up mental retardation (MR) panel with goal of including majority of MR genes identified to date. Testing will then be available inefficient and cost-effective manner for those children with non-syndromic PDD-NOS, DD, MR.

Name of Awardee: Katherine Sims, MD
Source of Funding: Genzyme Corporation
Name of Funded Protocol: Lysosomal Disease Center of Excellence
Duration of Funding: 01/01/2010-12/31/2010
Goals of Center are directed towards delivery of exemplary patient care, development of educational materials and outreach and participation in clinical research efforts

Name of Awardee: Pediatric palliative care "unit"
Source of Funding: Schwartz Foundation
Name of Funded Protocol: Development of Family-Caregiver Gatherings.
Duration of Funding: 2010-2011

Name of Awardee: Inyang Isong, MD, MPH
Source of Funding: Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund
Name of Funded Protocol: A Pilot and Feasibility Study of Electronic Screen Media to Reduce Dental Fear among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Duration of Funding: 2010 - 2011

Name of Awardee: Brian Grottkau, MD
Source of Funding: The Peabody Foundation
Name of Funded Protocol: MGHfC Peabody Pediatric Orthopaedic Fellowship
Duration of Funding: 2010 - 2011

Name of Awardee: David Sweetser MD, PhD
Source of Funding: Hyundai Hope on Wheels
Name of Funded Protocol: Gene Mutations that Cause Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Duration of Funding: 2010 - 2011

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