UW Pediatrics Hosts Midwest SPR Meeting

On October 6-7, 2011, the UW Department of Pediatrics welcomed more than 120 academic pediatricians to Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center for the 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Midwest Society for Pediatric Research (MWSPR).

Speaker Highlights

Kicking off the event was a special Pediatrics Grand Rounds presentation by Michael Ackerman, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and pharmacology at Mayo School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman spoke about the genetic determinants of Long QT syndrome, a rare heart rhythm disorder that can trigger fainting spells or seizures.

The meeting also featured two “state-of-the-art” speakers: Patrick Kochanek, MD, a professor of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics, hematology-oncology, and genetics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH).

Dr. Kochanek presented new therapeutic ideas for cerebral resuscitation in children, and Dr. Sondel talked about the evolution of immunotherapy of neuroblastoma.

Rounding out the speakers was Bradford Schwartz, MD, the director of the research education and career development core at the UW SMPH Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Schwartz led a breakfast roundtable on ways physicians can strike a balance between their career demands and their personal lives.

Abstracts, Posters, and Honors

At the meeting’s three plenary sessions, attendees gave a total of 26 oral presentations on a wide range of pediatric research topics. An additional 58 abstracts were displayed at the meeting’s poster session.

At a special luncheon, Juan Sotos, MD, from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, was presented with the Founder Award. This award recognizes a senior MWSPR member for fostering advances in pediatric research and contributing to the career development of academic pediatricians.

Additional awards included:

  • The James Sutherland Award for outstanding abstract by a junior faculty member went to Amy VanMorland, MD, from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
  • The Frederic M. Kenney Award for outstanding abstract by a fellow went to Andrew Harris, MD, from the University of Michigan Medical School.
  • The Jack Metcoff Award for outstanding abstract by a fellow or resident went to Dennis Slagel, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
  • The Cleveland Clinic Student Award for outstanding abstract by a medical student went to Jeremy Sandgrun from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

About the MWSPR

The MWSPR is one of the four regional societies of the Society for Pediatric Research, a national organization that encourages young investigators to engage in research that benefits children.

It provides a forum for pediatric scientists, developmental biologists, and especially junior faculty and trainees to present their work in a supportive, constructive setting.

The MWSPR’s annual meeting is held at a different Midwestern university each year. This year’s meeting was organized by J. Carter Ralphe, MD, an assistant professor at the UW Department of Pediatrics and then-president of the MWSPR.

“Each of our plenary speakers gave outstanding presentations of the state-of-the-art in their respective fields,” Dr. Ralphe said. “They each provided great examples of what one can achieve in pediatric research—the talks were inspiring to many of us. Many thanks to Drs. Ackerman, Kochanek, and Sondel for participating in this vital aspect of our meeting.”

Next year’s MWSPR meeting will be held October 11-12, 2012, and will be hosted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.