In recognition of the 10th annual MGfC Research Day this past spring, two physician scientists from Mass General for Children (MGfC) have received pilot feasibility grants to conduct innovative preliminary research in the fields of pediatric gastroenterology, endocrinology and behavioral health. The awards, worth $25,000 each, were given to Vibha Singhal, MBBS, of Pediatric Endocrinology, and Mai Uchida, MD, of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Singhal aims to study how changes in the fecal microbiome (microorganisms in fecal matter) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA, an acid produced when dietary fiber ferments the colon) might explain changes in beta-cell function following a sleeve gastrectomy in teens and young adults ages 14-21 who have morbid obesity.

Uchida’s research focuses on identifying markers in the brain that could signal pediatric depression. Using neuroimaging, her work will specifically focus on finding the underpinnings of less noticeable signs of anxiety and depression, as identified through the Child Behavior Checklist’s Anxiety/Depression scale that represents the risk for major depressive disorder.

In April 2018, MGfC celebrated its 10th annual Research Day, an event that recognizes the pioneering research of investigators throughout the hospital whose discoveries help to better understand childhood health and disease. Pilot feasibility grants are given to young investigators to support clinical or laboratory-based studies that, if chosen, allow them to apply for additional research funding opportunities. Singhal and Uchida were recognized at the event’s award ceremony.