Faculty Receive UW Fall Competition Awards
Congratulations to the following four Pediatric faculty members and their laboratories who were each recently awarded one-year Fall Competition grants from the UW Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education:
- Marlowe Eldridge, MD, in the amount of $70,613, for the project, "Skeletal muscle dysfunction in adult survivors of preterm birth."
- J. Carter Ralphe, MD, in the amount of $73,460, for the project, "Human Engineered Cardiac Tissue Modeling of Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy."
- Judith Smith, MD, PhD, in the amount of $81,736, for the project, "Sabotage of host defense mechanisms by Brucella."
- Ei Terasawa-Grilley, PhD, in the amount of $43,994, for the project, "Role of neuroestradiol in the preovulatory GnRH surge."
Mei Baker, MD, FACMG, Awarded Newborn Screening Grant from Cure SMA
Mei Baker, MD, FACMG, was recently awarded a one-year grant in the amount of $211,247, for her project entitled, "A State-wide Spinal Muscular Atrophy Newborn Screening Pilot in Wisconsin." This funding, from Cure SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) will support an SMA Newborn Screening (NBS) pilot project in Wisconsin to implement a state-wide NBS for SMA using a multiplexing Real-time PCR technology to incorporate SMA identification into an ongoing severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) screening process. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is one of the most common lethal recessive genetic conditions, with an incidence of 1 in 10,000 births. Further objectives of this project are to establish a confirmatory testing and follow-up strategy that will ensure timely evaluation, confirmation, and treatment; explore psychosocial issues associated with the implementation of newborn screening for SMA in Wisconsin; and establish a follow-up system to track SMA screening positive cases, facilitate data sharing, and ensure project completion. Dr. Baker will work with UW co-investigators Meredith Schultz, MD (Neurology) and Audrey Tluczek, PhD, RN, FAAN (Nursing), as well as Matthew Harmelink, MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin to undertake this pilot program. Congratulations!
Meriter Foundation Awards Three Grants to Neonatology Researchers
Congratulations to Eileen Cowan, MD, Principal Investigator, and Adam Bauer, MD, Co-Investigator, on the funding of their project, "Point of Care Ultrasound Use in the NICU." This one-year project in the amount of $63,236 supported by the Meriter Foundation, will involve implementation of a point of care ultrasound (POCUS) curriculum in the UnityPoint Health Meriter Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for training Neonatal Providers in the bedside use of ultrasound to confirm placement of accessory devices, thus reducing radiation, increasing safety, and improving time to treatment. It will also allow for the enhancement of the Vermont Oxford Network (VON) initiative in the NICU by improving outcomes, and increasing the safety, quality, and value of newborn care.
Matthew Harer, MD, Principal Investigator, was awarded $40,000 for his project entitled, "Use of NIRS monitoring to detect acute kidney injury in preterm neonates." This one-year grant supported by the Meriter Foundation, will investigate the use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS - a clinically available skin monitor) to detect changes in renal tissue oxygenation in preterm NICU patients to identify acute kidney injury (AKI). It is anticipated that NIRS can detect changes in oxygenation prior to classical clinical or laboratory changes that are normally used to diagnose AKI. AKI is a serious condition that leads to prolonged hospital stays, multi-organ dysfunction and increased rates of hospital deaths in NICU patients. Preliminary data are needed to begin studying whether therapeutic interventions at the time of decreased renal oxygenation reduce AKI in preterm patients. Congratulations!
Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, Principal Investigator, also received a $30,000 grant from the Meriter Foundation for his project, "Retinopathy of Prematurity due to Oxytocin Deprivation." The long-term goal of this one-year grant is to test oxytocin supplementation as a potential therapy targeted at retinal blood vessel development and to test the hypothesis that the lack of exposure of premature babies to the usual fetal levels of maternal hormones leads to postnatal problems due to abnormal development, such as retinopathy of prematurity. Congratulations!
James Muse Davis, MD, PhD, Awarded Career Development Grant from NIH
Congratulations to J. Muse Davis, MD, PhD, who was recently awarded a 5-year, K08 grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID), for his project entitled, "Fungal and host factors in initiation of cryptococcal persistence." This career development award, in the amount of $1,004,400, will focus on experimental mycology to improve our understanding of disseminated fungal infections from both host and pathogen perspectives. Specifically, his research component will use a zebrafish larva model for direct monitoring of microbial pathogenesis in vivo, namely Cryptococcus. The proposed experiments are designed to define the features of the host response that allow for persistence, and to define the state of cryptococcal cells that induce this response. Dr. Davis will be supported by Primary Mentor Anna Huttenlocher, MD, and Co-Mentors Bruce Klein, MD, and Christina Hull, PhD.
Gern Laboratory Awarded NIH U19 Renewal Funding
Congratulations to James Gern, MD, and Co-Investigators, Christine Seroogy, MD, Anne Palmenberg, PhD, and Yury Bochkov, PhD, on the 5-year, $6.8 million renewal of U19 AI104317, funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID). This cooperative agreement, "Viral and Environmental Determinants of Rhinovirus Illness Severity," focuses on the hypothesis that farming microbial exposures and unique patterns of microbial colonization in early life alter innate and T regulatory development, which lead to protection from viral respiratory illnesses and allergic diseases. To test this hypothesis, investigators at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute will follow ~ 200 current participants and enroll an additional 100 newborns from farm and non-farm families, who will be monitored with new technologies to better define early life microbial exposures and immune development. Based on established relationships with the Wisconsin Amish community, who have very low rates of allergic diseases, 50 Amish newborns will be recruited into the study as well. Dr. Palmenberg will continue with her groundbreaking studies of the molecular virology of rhinovirus-C. Goals include mapping the structure of the viral capsid and defining virus-receptor interactions.
Sarah Webber, MD, and Natalie Guerrero, PhD, Awarded ICTR Pilot Award
Congratulations to Sarah Webber, MD and Natalie Guerrero, PhD, who were recently awarded a one-year grant through the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Pilot Award Program. This $10,000 award, for the project "Community health worker pilot program for Latino mothers and infants," will evaluate a targeted, evidence-based, linguistically and culturally relevant Community Wellness Worker-led postpartum support group program to improve maternal-child wellness. The goals of the intervention, called Prosperar, are to develop a wellness promotion program that will build capacity in the Latino community through preventative health education to improve maternal and infant wellness.
Christian Capitini, MD, Receives Grant from the UW Carbone Cancer Center
Christian Capitini, MD, Principal Investigator, along with UW Co-Principal Investigator Krishanu Saha, PhD (Biomedical Engineering), were recently awarded a one-year $50,000 grant for their project, "Optimization of CD19 CAR NK cells for B cell leukemia," submitted for the UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) Leukemia Research Funding Opportunity. This project will compare the ability of natural killer (NK) cells to mediate anti-leukemia effects using a CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) versus CAR T cells. The NK CAR cells will be developed using non-viral approaches, such as with CRISPR-Cas9. In addition, the team will develop an assay to assess the risk for neurotoxicity, a potential life threatening complication, from the NK CAR cells. Congratulations!
Student in Pattnaik Laboratory Wins Science Awards
Anaka Srinivas, a sophomore at Middleton High School who is mentored by Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, received three awards at the Capital Science & Engineering Fair held on Feb 17, 2018 in Madison. She presented her work on efficacy testing of gene therapy for blindness in human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in culture. Her awards include a 2nd place finish in the Biological and Environmental Sciences category, an "SI Award" from the U.S. Metric Association, and a Society of Women Engineers award. The awards were determined after the posters were judged independently by 10 judges, and then in the presence of the students by the judges. She also presented her work to the public from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. The Capital Science & Engineering Fair was established to provide high school students from South Central Wisconsin the opportunity to showcase their research. Congratulations, Anaka!
Postdoctoral Fellow Pawan Shahi, PhD, Receives UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center Award
Pawan Shahi, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, received a 2018 UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center post-doctoral award. The award provides one year of salary support for Dr. Shahi's proposal to model a compound heterozygous blindness using novel gene-editing technology.
Dr. Megan Moreno Named Associate Editor of JAMA Pediatrics
Congratulations to Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, who has been named an Associate Editor of JAMA Pediatrics. Dr. Moreno began her position with the February 2018 issue of the journal.