2015 CHOC Children’s – UC Irvine Child Health Research Awards

We are pleased to announce that we just completed another round of the CHOC Children’s – UC Irvine Child Health Research Awards, our annual call for proposals that enhance research collaborations between CHOC and UC Irvine and further the Mission, Vision and strategic aims of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Intended to support research and collaboration in targeted areas of research excellence that align research strengths for focused growth and maximal translational impact, our call this year specifically solicited applications for two funding mechanisms, Pilot Collaborative Research Awards and Clinician Investigator Awards.

Child Health Research Award - UC Irvine Infographic

Pilot Collaborative Research Awards are intended to provide funds for collaborative projects in need of initial start-up funding to enable procurement of other independent support. These awards are designed to promote novel, translational research efforts that coalesce talented clinicians and researchers from CHOC and UC Irvine. Projects bring investigators from multiple disciplines from CHOC and UC Irvine together to identify targets for improved diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a pediatric health problem relevant to the goals of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan.

Clinician Investigator Awards are intended to provide funds for clinician-investigator initiated projects in need of funding to advance study into a clinically relevant and important topic that has a high likelihood of impacting clinical practice and the positive experience of pediatric/ adolescent patients and their families. Priorities are given to proposals that are closely aligned with the research themes identified in the CHOC – UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Projects identify targets for improved diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a pediatric health problem relevant to the goals of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Collaborations between CHOC and UCI faculty are strongly encouraged, but not required.

This year we received 18 proposals, an increase of 13% over last year, covering a wide range of topics and specialties. After external academic peer reviews and committee discussions, we decided to fund 6 projects, 3 Pilot Collaborative Research Awards and 3 Clinician Investigator Awards.

Congratulations to the well-deserving recipients of the 2015 awards! They are listed below, in order of award type and Principle Investigator’s last name.

 

Pilot Collaborative Research Awards.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gurpreet Ahuja

Collaborators: Drs. Nguyen PhamKevin Huoh, Naveen Bhandarkar, Carolyn Coughlan, Joon You

Project Title: NIR Imaging of Pediatric Sinuses

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tami John

Collaborators: Drs. Lilibeth Torno, Daniela Bota, Grace Mucci, Mary Zupanc, Jack Lin

Project Title: Cognitive Training to Promote Neuroplasticity and Neural Re-circuitry in Chemotherapy

Associated Cognitive Impairment

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Calvin Li

Collaborators: Drs. John Weiss, Hong Yin, William Loudon

Project Title: A Tunable Engineered Tissue Graft Model for Repair of Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Clinician Investigator Awards

Principal Investigator: Dr. Antonio Arrieta

Collaborators: Drs. Katrine Whiteson, David Michalik

Project Title: Addressing the Fear Factor in Neonatal Serious Bacterial Infections: Distinguishing E Coli From Bacteremia, Urinary Tract Infection, and Bacteremic Urinary Tract Infection in Infants <28 Days vs. >28 Days to 90 Days Old by Pairing E. Coli Genome Analysis with Clinical Data

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Joanne Starr

Collaborators: Drs. Richard Gates, Sharief Taraman, Mary Zupanc, Paul Yost, Michele Domico, Juliette Hunt, Tammy Yoon, Kimberley Lakes

Project Title: Seizures and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Mild Hypothermic Cardiopulmonary Bypass

 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Sharief Taraman and Ruth McCarty

Collaborators: Drs. William Loudon, Frank Hsu

Project Title: The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a Complementary Treatment of Pediatric and Young Adults with Post-Concussive Syndrome

Curiosity Drives Infectious Diseases Research

A CHOC Children’s investigator-initiated trial into neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) has discovered key microbial and survival differences in patients who develop blood stream infections. These findings may help explain why premature infants with intestinal pathology experience more complications and higher mortality rates. CHOC Infectious Diseases Medical Director Antonio Arrieta, M.D., and his team have also described better outcome of bacteremia in full-term neonates when it is associated with urinary tract infections (UTI). This, they hope, will lead to changes in how both populations are managed.

Dr. Arrieta and CHOC Resident Jordan Fisher, M.D., presented their UTI data in November 2011 at the World Society of Pediatric Diseases in Melbourne. In May 2012, the data on NEC was presented to the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Greece.

These are two of the many investigatorinitiated research trials Dr. Arrieta and his team conduct with CHOC residents to answer questions they hope will ultimately impact children everywhere.

“Our investigator-initiated trials are a small portion of the total research we do, but these are our ideas. We develop the concepts, write the protocols, seek funding, and hope to change the lives of children throughout the world.” — CHOC Infectious Diseases Medical Director Antonio Arrieta, M.D.

CHOC Infectious Diseases also participates in several collaborative pharmacokinetic (PK) trials to reassess the efficacy, safety and dosing of new antimicrobial agents. Many of these trials are industry-sponsored and focus on neonatal, oncology and cystic fibrosis patients. CHOC Infectious Diseases is also collaborating with Duke University in a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded grant to conduct PK trials for neonates, and with the University of California, Los Angeles on a NIH grant for pediatric HIV.

Training Tomorrow’s “Clinician Scientists”

During his medical training, Dr. Arrieta was taught to “always stay curious and answer questions with research.” He passes that philosophy on to CHOC residents by encouraging them to also participate in research and submit their results. As a bonus, the resident gets to present any accepted poster or paper. In recent years, CHOC residents have presented at meetings in Australia, Switzerland and France.

“We believe emphatically in training scientific doctors because answering questions through research is integral to being a clinician,” Dr. Arrieta said. “Without that, they will not be complete. Many CHOC residents have gone on to become scientists and teachers, and that makes us very proud of what we do.”


Preliminary Pneumococcal Vaccine Data Soon Available

CHOC Children’s Infectious Diseases is assessing the impact of a new vaccine in reducing invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. Similar to previous work conducted after the introduction of the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and published in the Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in 2011, CHOC is conducting an annual three-year interim analysis and then a final five-year study. Initial results will be available soon to share with parents about the importance of immunization. To learn more about Research at CHOC, please visit www.choc.org/research.