This past May marked the 11th anniversary of Research Day at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), an annual event that recognizes the pioneering research of investigators throughout the hospital whose discoveries help to better understand childhood health and disease.

The focus of this year's event was on innovation and taking children’s health and medicine even farther into the future with cutting edge care and research. This year’s MGH faculty keynote address was given by Guillermo (Gary) Tearney, MD, PhD, titled “Tethered Capsule Endomicroscopy in Pediatrics: A New Paradigm for GI Tract Diagnosis.” His talk highlighted tethered capsule technology in patients undergoing upper endoscopy procedures. The six devices use optical coherence tomography (OCT), a technique that reflects images from within the tissues to provide clear and in-depth cross-sections of tissue. Tearney’s devices are also designed to minimize the use of invasive endoscopy procedures for pediatric patients and minimize swallowing discomfort when the capsules are swallowed by young children. Tearney is the Remondi Family Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair, the Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar and a pathologist and physicist in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Masschusetts General Hospital. This year’s visiting keynote address was given by Timothy K. Lu, MD, PhD, titled “Engineering Gene Circuits as Diagnostics and Therapeutics.” His address touched on synthetic engineered gene circuits and their use when inserted into microbial vectors or agents to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders and cancers. Lu is a core faculty member of the Synthetic Biology Center, an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a researcher in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Today’s presentations and posters represent the enormous range of interests and accomplishments by our basic, clinical, translational and community focused investigators at MGHfC,” said Ronald Kleinman, MD, Physician-in-Chief at MGHfC. “This work, the scientific output of clinician-scientists and fundamental investigators at all levels of experience, including residents and fellows, shows the extensive collaborations that have developed within and outside of the hospital. It has exceptional implications for disease detection, prevention and treatment in infancy, childhood and beyond. It is an extraordinary pleasure to be able to see this work on display at this annual MGHfC Research Day, and to appreciate the talent and commitment of all those who contributed to it.”

Keynote addresses and presentations were complemented by 115 posters on display. Faculty from various departments throughout MGHfC presented on the innovative research being done at the hospital, including Siam Oottamasathien, MD, FAAP, FACS, director of Basic Science Research in Pediatric UrologyBrian Skotko, MD, MPP, co-director of the Down Syndrome Program; and Lael Yonker, MD, co-director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center and Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutic Development Center.

The day concluded with Kleinman awarding the Best Poster awards, in which three investigators received a $1,000 travel grant to an academic conference of their choice. The Best Poster award recipients included:

  • “Biological diversity as a key to drug design in inflammatory disease” by David J. Gregory, PhD, of General Academic Research
  • “A Prospective Assessment of Food Protein-Induced Allergic Proctocolitis from the GMAP Healthy Infant Cohort” by Victoria M. Martin, MD, MPH, of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
  • “Rapid 3D Printing of Anatomically Shaped Bone Scaffolds Using Novel Molding and Perfusion Techniques” by Yonggang Pang, MD, PhD, of General Academic Pediatrics