Celebrating the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and UK Connection

Published on 
August 6, 2012

At the London Olympics, the British have built stellar teams in men’s gymnastics and rowing, but across the pond in Los Angeles, they have

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also formed an impressive clinical and scientific research team at
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.


“The ‘special relationship’ between UK health care research and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is thriving,” says David Warburton, MD, director of Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine in The Saban Research Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2009, Warburton also was created an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Princess Royal, acting on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen for services to UK/USA health care research.

“At present we have several UK scientific groups actively collaborating and/or coming to The Saban Research Institute for advanced training,” Warburton says.

The group includes:

  • Edwin Jesudason, MD, FRCS, reader in Surgery (associate professor) from the University of Liverpool, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, is presently in the third year of a Medical Research Council secondment to the Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program at The Saban Research Institute, collaborating with David Warburton and colleagues. His fascinating work on calcium signaling and airway branching and peristalsis looks set to make several important breakthroughs in fixing fetal lung growth as well as asthma.
  • Valeria Solari, MD, MRCS, medical research council fellow in Surgery, is also in the third year of her research program with Yves DeClerck in the Cancer Biology Program, and is making strides on characterizing the function of sugars in the stem cell niche. This is a totally novel approach to cancer biology that may yield important mechanistic and scientific insights.
  • Daniela Riccardi, PhD, and Paul Kemp, DPhil, both professors in the Department of Physiology at the University of Cardiff, are frequent visitors and collaborators at the Institute. Their work with Brenda Finney, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Birmingham and Warburton has provided novel insights into the function of the calcium receptor in the lung and new directions point towards a critical interaction with the cystic fibrosis membrane conductance regulator gene.
  • Panagiotis “Panos” Maghsoudlou, an MD, PhD, graduate student from the Institute for Child Health at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOS), University College, London has been working with Tracy Grikscheit, MD, and colleagues to optimize tissue engineering solutions for short gut syndrome in infants.
  • Edward Carter, a graduate student at the University of Bath, has been to The Saban Research Institute recently to learn some important technology for examining the function of interesting, but bizarre sounding genes such as slug, snail and slit in developing and defending the gas diffusion surface of the lung.
  • Henri Ford, MD, vice president and chief of surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and colleagues in the Department of Surgery at the hospital, has a long-standing collaboration in tele-surgery with GOS.

Several leading members of the medical staff at Children's Hospital Los Angeles were either born and educated in the UK and/or received critical training at formative stages of their careers including:

  • Jonathan Finlay MD, FRCP - Marvin Nelson, MD, Queen’s Square
  • Philip Stanley, MD, FRCR - Barts
  • David Warburton OBE, DSc, MD, MMM, FRCP, FRCS, FRCPCH - St Thomas’s and Royal Brompton Hospitals
  • Randall Wetzel, MB, BS - Durham University and Royal Brompton Hospital

Additionally, Alex Judkins, MD, head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.