RESEARCHLA 2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Tracy Grikscheit, MD, was awarded $7.1 million by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for her work toward developing a cellular therapy for the treatment of nerve disorders of the digestive system. Her goal is to develop an “off-the-shelf” cellular therapy to treat these disorders before patients require surgery, or to rescue patients who still have symptoms following surgery. Read more.

Robert E. Shaddy, MD, is now pediatrician in chief and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). He will lead the search for CHLA’s chief scientific officer as well as advance the strategic planning of our research enterprise. Read more.

Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS, was named chief of CHLA’s Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Kohli oversees all of the clinical, training and research efforts of the Division, which triages more than 9,500 patient visits. He comes to CHLA from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and he has made significant contributions to the study of liver disease.

Vicente Gilsanz, MD, PhD, was named the 2016 Presidential Recognition Award winner by the Society for Pediatric Radiology. The award recognizes his contributions to the field, including his accomplishments in imaging research at the Children’s Imaging Research Program of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which seeks to advance the use of imaging technology to study pediatric disease. Read more.

Curing Kids Cancer has initiated a $1.5 million endowment to fund the leukemia program at the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases under the direction of Alan Wayne, MD. A child named Killian was one of Wayne’s patients at the National Cancer Institute, and his leukemia cells were found to be very sensitive to a new agent that was not yet available to treat children. After Killian lost his battle to leukemia, his parents created Curing Kids Cancer with the goal of providing critical funding to get targeted therapies out of the lab and into treatment as quickly as possible.

Lee Helman, MD, joined the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases as director of Basic and Translational Research. His responsibilities include setting strategic priorities, recruiting new investigators and organizing scientific teams. Helman comes from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, where he most recently served as scientific director for clinical research in the Center for Cancer Research.

David Cobrinik, MD, PhD, of The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was awarded a four-year grant totaling $1.665 million from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health to support his research to improve understanding of how cone photoreceptors in the retina develop. Read more.

Douglas Vanderbilt, MD, MS, was awarded $3.5 million by the Department of Health and Human Services in support of the California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) Training Program. CA-LEND trains leaders, educates community providers and conducts research that promotes change for children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Fariba Navid, MD, joined the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases in September 2016 as assistant director of the Clinical Trials Program and Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 & Pilot Consortium. Navid has extensive experience in research and pediatric early-phase drug development.

Ellen Lien, PhD, of the Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Lien’s research focuses on cardiovascular development and regeneration.

Mark R. Frey, PhD, of the Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Frey’s lab is interested in the role of growth factor signaling in the intestinal response to injury and inflammation.

A team of researchers led by Michele Kipke, PhD, at CHLA, and Thomas Buchanan, MD, and Jonathan Samet, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, received a prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The $36.6 million grant will support continuation of the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI), the hub for community engagement in clinical and translational research at USC and CHLA. Read more.

Brent Polk, MD, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their academic peers in recognition of their contributions to innovation, education and scientific leadership. This honor recognizes Polk for his distinguished contributions to the field of gastroenterology, particularly in understanding signal transduction mechanisms regulating intestinal growth and repair related to inflammatory bowel disease.

David Warburton, MD, of the Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program, was awarded more than $2.3 million from the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. The grant will support further study of lung injury and the development of an innovative endoscopic device for performing noninvasive, quantitative analysis of lung epithelial cell metabolism during lung injury—anticipated to significantly improve the respiratory health of military personnel in the field. Read more.

An innovative, first-in-pediatrics study, available only at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and led by Leo Mascarenhas, MD, MS, of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, will be enrolling children who have certain types of treatment-resistant cancer. The aim of this investigator-initiated Phase 1 trial is to test the safety, tolerability and metabolism of the drug Durvalumab in pediatric patients with solid tumors, lymphoma and central nervous system tumors. Read more.

The Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia & Lymphoma (TACL) consortium annual investigator conference was held this year at CHLA. The meeting was co-chaired by Alan Wayne, MD, Deepa Bhojwani, MD, and Erika Shin-Kashiyama, JD. The TACL consortium works to integrate translational laboratory research with early-phase clinical trials to speed the progress of innovative therapy development for children with cancer. This year, more than 50 investigators from 39 academic research institutions and four countries participated.

Featured Stories

Supercharging a patient’s own cells to battle blood diseases

Exploring new ways to prevent—and predict—epilepsy in children

Adding a piece of DNA to treat diabetes
 

A game changer for patients and providers

Weight-loss surgery (without the surgery)

Saving babies’ brains

Leveraging thousands into millions

Treating concussion in children and adolescents

Read about our investigators' recent achievements