Dr. Inga Hofmann Receives $50,000 Infrastructure Grant from St. Baldrick's FoundationPosted: November 2017
Dr. Inga Hofmann, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist and director of pediatric stem cell transplantation at the Carbone Cancer Center and medical director of the program for advanced cell therapy, has been awarded $50,000 by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The infrastructure grant supports her work in advanced cellular therapies for pediatric cancer and predisposition syndromes.
“I am honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Hofmann. “This gives us the resources to give more children the opportunity to participate in clinical trials.”
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation said most infrastructure grants support research personnel who are responsible for opening and coordinating clinical trials. The grants are made in geographic areas where the need is high and St. Baldrick’s volunteers are active.
Dr. Paula Cody Speaks on Teen Suicide Risk at AAP National Conference
Paula Cody, MD, FAAP, an assistant professor (CHS) in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Adolescent Health, gave an educational session on how to help teens at risk for suicide during the AAP's National Conference, held September 16-19, 2017, in Chicago.
Dr. Cody explained how pediatricians can screen for suicidal ideation, recommended that they do so as part of a complete social history at each visit and outlined steps to take if they identify an at-risk patient.
"Eighty percent of teems attempting suicide had contact with a health care provider in the past three months," she said in an article published in the conference's news magazine.
Dr. Cody also encouraged pediatricians to advocate for access to mental health care, train future health care providers to screen for suicide risk and work to make sure suicide isn't sensationalized in the media.
Dr. Megan Moreno Writes AAP News Column on 'Empathy App'
In an invited column in the September 2017 issue of AAP News, Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, an associate professor and vice chair for digital health in the Department of Pediatrics, and the chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, interviewed the developer of an app designed to increase empathy in teens.
Dr. Moreno, who is a member of the AAP's Council on Communications and Media Executive Committee, began by noting that parents often ask pediatricians for apps that can help with specific issues, such as potty training or medication compliance. "As child health experts and advocates, many of us wish we also knew more about apps focused on health and prevention," she wrote.
She conducted a Q&A with Sara Konrath, PhD, an assistant professor of philanthropic students at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the director of the Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research.
Konkol developed Random App of Kindness (RAKi), an evidence-based app that includes nine mini-games focused on recognizing emotions, caring for vulnerable animals and babies, controlling and managing cognitive processes, resolving conflict and other skills to promote empathy.
Konkol's team studied 106 adolescents to examine the effect of playing RAKi compared to a different app. After two months, they found that children who played RAKi were more likely to feel compassion for and help someone in distress, and had less aggressive behavior.
Read the complete Q&A at aapnews.org (AAP login required)
Dr. Elizabeth Cox, Collaborators Receive PCORI Funding to Improve Patient-Centered Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD, in collaboration with partners from West Virginia University, recently received approval for a Pipeline to Proposal Tier I award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). This project will focus on engaging stakeholders around the topic of preventing type 2 diabetes in West Virginia. The stakeholder group will include patients, caregivers, diabetes educators, clinicians, health services researchers, and community organizations, among others. Findings from this work will be used to further support patient-centered strategies to improve type 2 diabetes prevention and management. Details about the project are available here.
Dr. Megan Moreno Discusses Screen Time and Teen Suicide Risk
Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, recently appeared on News3 to talk about how teenagers' increased screen time may be a possible factor for increased suicide risk.
“Screens have changed bullying and I think in one way they changed is through a broader audience,” she said.
Screens are teenagers' primary mode of communication---some spend over six hours a day using screens---but when communication turns into bullying, children can't escape it, even in their own home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the last 10 years suicide rates for teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19, has doubled. For teenage boys between the ages of 15 and 19, the suicide rate has risen 30 percent.
“It is exceptionally difficult to come up with a single cause to explain something that is that complicated,” said Dr. Moreno.
But she says the more screen time a child is exposed to, the more it reduces their interaction with people and that’s not good for mental and physical health.
Dr. Moreno's lab, the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), conducts research that focuses on the intersection of social media and adolescent health.
Dr. Anna Huttenlocher Elected as an American Society for Cell Biology Fellow
The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) has selected Anna Huttenlocher, MD, a professor in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, as one of its 2017 fellows.
Election as a fellow of ASCB is an honor bestowed upon ASCB members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for their meritorious efforts to advance cell biology and/or its applications and for their service to the American Society for Cell Biology.
Dr. Huttenlocher, along with all the 2017 fellows, will be honored at the ASCB's 2017 annual meeting in Philadelphia this December.
Congratulations on this honor!
Nathan York Receives Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology Training Grant Support
Congratulations to Nathan York, Graduate Research Assistant in the lab of Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, who was recently selected as a Trainee on the National Institutes of Health-funded T32 Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology (ERP) Training Grant, directed by Ian Bird, PhD. The Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology Program at the University of Wisconsin is a broad based, interdepartmental degree-granting program designed to provide training at the predoctoral and postdoctoral level in interdisciplinary research at the forefront of Endocrinology and reproductive physiology.
Richard Merkhofer Receives F30 Grant from NIH
Congratulations to Richard Merkhofer, graduate student in the Klein Laboratory, on funding of his Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F30) for MD/PhD and Other Dual Degrees from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH-NIMHD). This 4-year, fellowship, in the amount of $161,276, is under the sponsorship of Bruce Klein, MD, and the purpose is to enhance the integrated research and clinical training of promising predoctoral students who are matriculated in a combined MD/PhD or other dual-doctoral degree training program, and who intend careers as physician-scientists or other clinician-scientists. Richard's project, "Pathogenesis of fungal infectious disease in the Hmong population," will study the in-born susceptibility known to exist in the Hmong population, to the dimorphic fungal disease blastomycosis. His research will characterize how variation in the immune response leads to pathology in the Hmong population, which may identify novel targets for precise medical treatment of disease related to dysregulation of the IL-17 response, which includes fungal infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Study Identifies Patients Who Benefit Most From Dinutuximab-based Immunotherapy
Using data from a randomized phase III clinical trial of neuroblastoma patients (treated with or without immunotherapy) performed by the Children’s Oncology Group, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that a subset of patients, identified by the presence of a certain set of genes, were more likely to benefit from the immunotherapy than those patients that did not have that set of genes.
The trial, which involved 226 patients, was led by the Children’s Oncology Group, a coalition of research institutions across the country. The organization previously reported that the group of high-risk neuroblastoma patients that were treated with the immunotherapy regimen [dinutuximab (Unituxin), aldesleukin and sargramostim] in combination with isotretinoin had significantly improved event-free and overall survival as compared to patients that received isotretinoin alone.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Amy Erbe and Wei Wang, in the lab of Dr. Paul Sondel, led an effort to determine if individual genetic differences could influence clinical response to this immunotherapy. Dinutuximab is a monoclonal antibody that can kill cancer cells by activating natural killer (NK) cells. Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIRs), a family of certain proteins expressed by NK cells, have different genetic patterns that can influence how well the NK cells use dinituximab to kill cancer cells. Dr. Sondel’s research team received DNA from 174 of the 226 patients that were enrolled in the clinical trial, and assessed how the pattern of KIR genes in each patient influenced outcome.
The study found that patients with a certain combination of four genes – (genes that inhibit NK cells) had improved outcomes with the immunotherapy. In contrast those patients without that combination of those four genes did not seem to have improvement from the immunotherapy.
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria Named Medical Director of UW-Madison Physician Assistant Program
In July 2017, Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, became the new medical director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program.
Dr. Navsaria is an associate professor (CHS) in the Department of Pediatrics' Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and a general pediatrician at Access Community Health Centers Joyce & Marshall Erdman Clinic in Madison.
Before becoming a physician, he graduated from the George Washington University Physician Assistant Studies Program in 1998 and practiced as a pediatric PA for three years.
He began teaching in the PA Program in 2007 and currently directs the SMPH’s MD–MPH program. He's also the founder and medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin.
Dr. Navsaria is excited by the PA Program’s success and its “agile, collegial, dynamic atmosphere.” He has interests in developing students’ advanced history-taking and patient-communication skills, but is working with faculty to identify how he can best serve the program.