Research Week 2024: Highlights and award winners

In May, the Department of Pediatrics hosted its annual Research Week, providing department researchers with a platform to learn about, share, and explore the latest advances in pediatric research. Participants attended livestreamed lectures, in-person events, and interactive sessions. Twelve events over five days attracted more than 850 total attendees, including an in-person crowd of nearly 200 at the Poster Session and Reception held in the Atrium of the Health Sciences Learning Center on Friday.

Throughout the weeklong event, attendees heard from experts on topics ranging from quality improvement and engaging learners to pediatric surgical research and global health. Highlights from a few of those presentations are listed below with links to the recorded presentations on YouTube:

The week also gave attendees the opportunity to hear short presentations from faculty, staff, and trainees during three research forums:

  • Fellow Capstone Research Presentations” included 10 presentations from fellows across the department’s programs. The winner of this year’s Fellow Excellence in Research Award, chosen from the presented Fellow Capstone Research Presentations, was Jesse Boyett Anderson, MD, fellow in the Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program.
  • Ellen Wald Faculty Research Forum” featured four presentations from faculty and staff. Members of the research administration team provided an update on research activities in the department.
  • Platform Presentations” featured presentations from six department members chosen from the submitted abstracts for the poster session.

Each year, the department hosts featured presentations during Pediatrics Research Week. This year’s Odell Lecturer, Odell Awardee Lecturer, and Research Week Keynote Speaker offered engaging and educational presentations.

On Thursday, Bruce Klein, MD, professor and chief in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Gerard B. Odell Professor of Pediatrics, presented the 2024 Odell Lecture. The lectureship was established in 1994 to honor Dr. Gerard B. Odell, emeritus professor of pediatrics and an internationally recognized researcher in the field of neonatal jaundice and bilirubin metabolism. Klein described his academic journey as a physician-scientist and the joy he has found from his lifetime in science and medicine. Watch Klein’s Odell Lecture presentation, “Science and Medicine: Worlds within Worlds.”

The Odell Lecture was followed by the formal announcement of one of the department’s highest honors for research accomplishments: The Gerard B. Odell Award. Bryn Webb, MD, associate professor, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, was the 2024 recipient of the Gerard B. Odell Award. Webb is a physician-scientist with a focus on pediatric genetic disease. Webb’s lab focuses on better understanding the genetics and pathophysiology of rare Mendelian disorders. She has a particular interest in undiagnosed rare disease, Moebius syndrome and related facial weakness conditions, and mitochondrial disorders. She serves as the associate director of the UW Undiagnosed Diseases Program. Webb offered her presentation, “Genomic Insights into Ultra-Rare Diseases: Uncovering Etiology and Pathology.”

On Friday, Anthony Garcia-Prats, MD, MSc, PhD, presented the Research Week keynote address, “Reflections on an Unexpected Career in Global Health Research.” Garcia-Prats is engaged in clinical and translational research that improves the prevention and treatment of TB and multidrug-resistant TB in children, especially those in resource-limited settings. Garcia-Prats spent his early career as a clinician in Africa treating children with HIV and tuberculosis. He recognized opportunities where research could advance clinical care and influence child health. During his address, he shared his journey in global health and how his clinical work interacted with research opportunities throughout his career.

Research Week ended with a Poster Session and Reception. The poster session included 78 posters — a 60% increase in submissions from the previous year. Researchers from across the department shared their investigations on a wide range of pediatrics-related scholarly topics. View a full list of the poster presenters and their abstract titles in the Pediatrics Research Week Program Guide.