In Touch A Fond Farewell

a t C h i l d re n’s M e m o r i a l R e s e a rc h Center
A Fond Farewell
Spring 2007
Volume 4: Issue 1
A Member of the
McGaw Medical Center
of Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois
Francis Szele, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s
Feinberg School of Medicine, and the Bernard L. Mirkin Research Scholar in the
Neurobiology Program at Children’s Memorial Research Center, arrived from Harvard
University Medical School in September of 1999 to develop a research lab. Now, having
accepted a position at the University of Oxford, UK, Francis will be leaving the center.
Francis’ self-assessment is more modest. He says that organizing and running one’s first independent lab is a huge
undertaking, and that the post-doctoral experience only
prepares you for some of it. He is especially proud of the
models of brain injury and stem cells he developed, the
technologies—particularly multiphoton videomicroscopy
movies—he took advantage of, and the interactions he
has had with others. He cites several individuals for the
successful implementation of this complicated technology,
particularly Phil Hockberger, PhD, and Phil Iannaccone, MD,
PhD, for supplying the technical knowledge and vision to
help him move forward. He is pleased that his research has
found such solid footing, having received uninterrupted
Francis Szele, PhD
R01 funding between 2001 and 2011. He guided his lab
manager, Gwendolyn Goings, to first authorship on several
papers. Gwen has joined Steve Miller, PhD, at the Feinberg School, one of the premier
neuroimmunology labs in the world, and the three plan to continue collaborations.
photo: Philip V. Spina III
In This Issue
Francis developed a reputation among his colleagues in Chicago as a collaborator, an
innovator and a human being. Says Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, “Francis is a great guy, a
valued friend and scientist.” He highlights Francis’ achievements in moving the center
toward excellence by recruiting students, supporting staff members, developing ideas
and inspiring others.
Director’s Message
Francis will be entering new terrain in every sense of the word. Besides learning procedural differences between the UK and the US—for instance, ordering supplies and writing grant proposals—he will encounter cultural differences as well. Oxford University
is composed of typical departments and thirty or so separate self-contained scholarly
communities, the Colleges. He will be a member of the Department of Physiology,
[continued on page 8]
Director’s Message
Planning for the future with
our hospital, academic and
community partners
Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD,
Medical Research Institute
Council Endowed Chair for
the President and Scientific
Director at the Children’s
Memorial Research Center
Consistent with the original vision of Mr. Earl
Frederick, former president and CEO of Children’s
Memorial Hospital—to establish a research
enterprise that would academically enhance its
outstanding clinical reputation—Children’s Memorial, under the leadership of Patrick Magoon,
current president and CEO, continues to support
Children’s Memorial Research Center as a vital
component of the overall mission of Children’s
Memorial Medical Center. To meet the research
needs of our investigators, especially the physician
scientists, as the move to the Streeterville campus
lies ahead, we have initiated an academic strategic
planning process for the research center. Specifically, our program and center directors, together
with their respective faculty, completed an internal
assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and
outlined opportunities to better integrate with the
clinical programs of the hospital and the research
themes of Northwestern University’s Feinberg
School of Medicine. This phase was followed by
a site visit from a distinguished panel of external
reviewers, including: C. Garrison Fathman, MD, of
Stanford University School of Medicine; Bernard
Guyer, MD, MPH, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health; Myron Levin, MD, of the
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center;
Paul Meltzer, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer
Institute, National Institutes of Health; Harry Orr,
PhD, of the University of Minnesota; Gregory
Riggins, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University;
Jeffrey Schwimmer, MD, of the University of California, San Diego; Elena Semina, PhD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin; Benjamin Shneider, MD,
of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; and Dennis
Steindler, PhD, of the University of Florida.
Next, the reviewers will submit their assessment(s)
of the programs and centers and make recommendations regarding the best timing of the move to
Streeterville for each research program. Subsequently, these recommendations will be discussed
by the research center leadership with the faculty
at a retreat, and the final recommendations will be
presented to the boards of the research center and
the hospital, respectively. The research enterprise
has a unique mission to fulfill, and will benefit
tremendously from a thoughtful, academic,
strategic plan for its future. Current Awareness Service
at Childre n’s Memorial Resea rc h C e n t e r
Please send questions and
comments to Peggy Jones:
[email protected]
2300 Children’s Plaza, M/C 205
Chicago, Illinois 60614
[Page ]
Children’s Memorial Research Center members are eligible to receive monthly
updates on literature in subject areas of interest. Peggy Jones, MILS, research
center librarian, establishes a profile using the subject information and keywords
provided by each researcher, and sends references to journal articles (and other
materials if needed) from selected databases. The profile can include any subject(s)
for which current literature is needed. For more information, please contact Peggy
at [email protected] or call 773.755.6341.
[InTouch with Research: Spring 2007]
Healthy Hospital Initiative
For many years, Katherine Kaufer Christoffel,
MD, MPH, has been involved in healthy lifestyle
promotion. Recently, other proponents around
the country have been trying to make workplaces—particularly hospital workplaces—healthier
environments. Healthcare institutions in California,
for example, are bringing farmers’ markets onto
hospital grounds in order to encourage healthier
eating. In reading about this work, Christoffel had
an “Aha!” moment that presented the move to the
new Children’s Memorial Hospital in Streeterville
as the perfect opportunity for an intervention to
enhance the health of people who spend a lot of
time there: employees and frequent visitors. She
set out to assess health status and health habits
of hospital employees in order to identify design
approaches that could enhance their health.
Christoffel’s initial research revealed that the concept
of enhancing the health of employees and frequent
visitors to hospitals is not well established. This
meant that her team was required to start the project with little preliminary data to guide them.
She began by assembling the Advisory on a Healthy
Hospital Committee, which is composed of physicians and representatives from several disciplines at
the hospital and Northwestern University’s Feinberg
School of Medicine. The physicians are leading
specialists for chronic diseases potentially affected by
building design. Others have expertise in the areas
of human resources, funding opportunities, marketing and operations.
A survey, focusing on lifestyle, workplace attitudes,
and chronic disease prevalence, was developed
Christoffel is Director,
Center on Obesity
Management and
Prevention, Medical
and Research Director,
Consortium to Lower
Obesity in Chicago
Children and Professor
of Pediatrics and
Preventive Medicine,
University’s Feinberg
School of Medicine.
Decreased Energy
Physical demand of
daily work
Mental energy
4 Noise level in
work areas
4 Interrupted while
providing patient care
and administered to a representative sample of
Children’s Memorial employees. The results showed
that respondents have medical problems like others
in our city and nation, including overweight, lack of
exercise, poor eating habits, sinus congestion, stress
and worry. Several of these problems may be directly
related to the work environment: noisy workplaces
and more frequent interruptions are related to less
physical energy. Factors such as short sleep times,
sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating patterns
have negative effects on how employees feel. The
survey showed that some medical conditions and
health habits at times reduce employees’ mental
focus. To the extent that unhealthy habits and
conditions can be improved by the design of the
hospital, everyone will benefit: employees will feel
better, require less medical attention, and possibly
remain on the job longer; patients will benefit from
attention from healthy and energetic care providers.
The committee’s recommendations include:
nEnsure workplace air quality is good so that people
have fewer respiratory problems.
Minimize noise and distractions, which elevate
stress; and increase natural light, which reduces it.
Make educational materials and services related to
health and chronic disease prevention available.
Find ways to promote physical activity, as with strategically placed stairs.
Foster healthy eating.
The committee is now in an information-sharing
mode, and has expanded its view to encompass a
[continued on page 10]
Increased Energy
4 Workstation
with adjustable
keyboard tray
Sleep quality
The Advisory on a Healthy
Hospital Committee’s
report documented work
environments that are
associated with more
physical energy. Quieter
sites with fewer patientcare interruptions, less
stress, more sleep and
adjustable keyboards all
appear to be important.
[Children’s Memorial Research Center] [Page ]
Research and the New Hospital:
Department Chairs Answer Questions
In a series of
interviews, Peggy
Jones asked
six Children’s
Memorial Hospital
department chairs
to share their
What are your impressions of the
research enterprise at Children’s
Memorial Hospital, and of your
department’s research?
Thomas P. Green, MD, Medicine: The research
enterprise is the single most important element of
our mission that will define our national reputation. A great research program will attract the
best faculty talent and the brightest trainees. The
Division of Neonatology is illustrative of excellence in research: this group is carrying on strong,
nationally-recognized, laboratory-based research
in pulmonary vascular biology. Some of their findings have been applied to direct clinical care of
newborns, with substantial impact over the past
five or so years.
[Page ]
Constantine Mavroudis, MD, Surgery:
The fact that Mary Hendrix has come and created
a visible organizational structure has helped enormously in the recruitment of talented and knowledgeable primary investigators in many fields. That
is a good situation for us, and I think it will help
recruit others. In terms of translational research,
the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery has established a laboratory to create a new atrioventricular
node using bioengineering methods. The Division
of Urology is using bioengineering techniques to
create a new bladder. In Neurosurgery, Dr. Tord
Alden is performing experiments that I believe
will eventually lead to some advances in
epilepsy surgery.
Mina Dulcan, MD, Child Psychiatry: It’s very gratifying to see the growth in the research enterprise
since I’ve been here. Many people think that more
resources now need to be put into infrastructure
and support for clinical, patient-based research.
John Lavigne, PhD, is a star: he has two large
R01s right now, and he’s active in collaborating
with and mentoring other faculty. Jill WeissbergBenchell, PhD, is a site PI for an NIH funded study
in diabetes, and is very successful. We have several
other faculty who are collaborating either with
sites outside the institution or with other programs
inside the institution.
Santhanam Suresh, MD, Anesthesia:
Anesthesia research is expanding rapidly as we
seek newer medications and modalities for pain
management and patient well-being during and
after surgery. There is tremendous potential
for us to cross-talk and cross-pollinate with our
colleagues at the research center to develop exciting paradigms for managing pain in children. Mary Hendrix and Steven Hall, our chairman,
are interested in developing clinician/scientists.
We have recently started working on joint projects
with the research center to explore the fundamentals of pain, its prevention in early infancy and its
potential implication for perception of pain later
in life.
James Donaldson, MD, Medical Imaging: I think
the emphasis to grow a research center vocalized
a number of years ago has really worked. A major
focus of the hospital was realized, and as a result
we have world-class facilities and some great
core research programs that are now in place. I
think we’re on the way to growing it bigger and
better. There are over 120 studies enrolled and
registered in our department that represent institutional research. Our vice-chairman of research,
Dr. Cynthia Rigsby, is doing a great job of helping
us manage the outside research. She is starting her
own research studies, and I’m excited about her
progress. One of her areas of interest is MRI.
Elizabeth Perlman, MD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine: The hospital administration and
the board actively support the research enterprise,
and Dr. Hendrix has been able to achieve true
change in our culture. There is now a need to
expend the necessary effort and resources to bring
all departments to the same level. Such efforts will
enable the hospital to meet its full potential. The
department is unique in its potential impact on
the success of research at the hospital. On a daily
basis, our faculty members utilize advanced technologies also desired by our research colleagues.
These include cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics
and many others.
[InTouch with Research: Spring 2007]
What are your thoughts on
moving downtown?
Dulcan: Having single rooms and facilities that can
accommodate families will be an enormous bene-
Thomas P. Green, MD,
Mina Dulcan, MD,
Child Psychiatry
James Donaldson, MD,
Medical Imaging
Constantine Mavroudis,
MD, Surgery
fit. I think that for patient care, particularly for very
sick babies, being right next to Prentice Women’s
Hospital will be a huge advantage. Mothers will
choose to have their babies delivered at Prentice
when they have high-risk pregnancies, or when
they know that the fetus needs surgery or some
special treatment.
Donaldson: For the clinical programs, there’s
been a lot of discussion, an enormous amount
of research, consulting work and meetings. We
have to figure out how many MRIs, how many
operating rooms, how many beds we need. I’ve
never heard anyone talk about what the research
program really needs downtown. So, I think it
needs to be raised to a higher priority in the planning phases.
Mavroudis: I think the move downtown is the
only rational approach for the new hospital. The
proximity to the medical school and to our adult
counterparts, the unanimity of available services
in one place will enhance the overall clinical and
academic impact of our services to the community,
region, and nation. It’s an enormous opportunity
for Children’s Memorial Hospital to benefit greatly
from this association.
Suresh: I personally love the idea. But I think the
transition will be a little difficult. I have dedicated
Santhanam Suresh, MD,
photos: Children’s Memorial Hospital Audio-Visual Dept.
Green: We already have a great clinical reputation,
outstanding educational programs and strong
community support. The move will provide us
the opportunity to achieve our potential as a
national leader in pediatric research, education
and patient care.
non-clinical time so that I can parcel out two days
of my life to come to the research center to work,
but if we’re trying to engender clinician/scientists who will have to provide clinical services at
the same time, it will be hard for them to carve
out four or eight hours of their life to go to the
center—the logistics might be hard.
Perlman: Clearly, our future location will greatly
increase our collaborations and interactions with
colleagues downtown. This is important for the
professional development and personal satisfaction
of virtually every faculty member in our department. It will also have the potential to increase our
quality of care. Any move downtown is likely to
result in a “virtual” research center that is
dispersed geographically. * Note: Dr. Suresh is head of research for the Department of Anesthesia.
[Children’s Memorial Research Center] [Page ]
Sara Ahlgren, PhD, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University and a member
of the Developmental Biology Program at the research
center, is one of ten
outstanding scientists chosen
as the first Science CommuSara Ahlgren, PhD
nication Fellows sponsored
by the non-profit organization Environmental
Health Sciences. The one-year appointment, which
began in February 2007, is intended to promote
public understanding of links between environmental factors and human health. Ahlgren studies
Angela R. Hess, PhD, has
received a two-year Career
Development Award from
the Melanoma Research
Foundation, for her project
titled “EphA2 as a Target for
Malignant Melanoma”. The
overall goal of this project is
Angela R. Hess, PhD
to elucidate both the role of
EphA2 in promoting an aggressive melanoma
phenotype mediated through the Ras-Raf-Mek1/2Erk1/2 pathway as well as to develop strategies
directed toward the downregulation of EphA2 as a
potential therapeutic modality for the treatment of
the interaction between genes and environment,
especially how toxic substances alter genetic pathways leading to birth defects.
malignant melanoma. The Melanoma Research
Foundation’s Career Development Awards Program
supports promising medical research that will
advance the foundation’s goal of developing effective treatments and a cure for melanoma. These
awards are given to investigators who are beginning a research career emphasizing melanomarelated projects and have not yet obtained federal
funding. Hess is a research assistant professor in
the laboratory of Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, Cancer
Biology and Epigenomics Program.
Martha C. Bohn, PhD, Children’s Memorial
Research Center and Rodofo Goya, PhD, University of LaPlata in Argentina, were awarded a
National Institutes of Health Fogarty Award in
2004 under a program to stimulate research in
aging in developing countries. This award included
travel funds for bilateral visits between the scientists at the two institutions. In 2005, Goya visited
Chicago with two colleagues, and a postdoctoral
fellow, Maria Jose Bellini, learned how to make
viral vectors in the Bohn lab. In November of 2006,
Bohn and Elio F. Vanin, PhD, managing director
of the research center’s viral vector facility, visited
the University of LaPlata. Seminars were presented
by Bohn and Vanin at the university and at the
Institute for Experimental Biology and Medicine
and the Leloir Foundation, both in Buenos Aires.
The Argentinian hospitality was outstanding and
included great food, wonderful scenery and interesting scientific discussions.
photo: Steve Evans
photo: Philip V. Spina III
Awards, Honors and Research News:
Vasil Galat, PhD, an expert
in laboratory research on
human embryonic stem cells,
has been named director of
Children’s Memorial Research
Center’s Stem Cell Core Facility and appointed assistant
professor in the Department
Vasil Galat, PhD
of Pathology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Galat
was the former director of the Preimplantation
Genetic Diagnosis Laboratory in Torrance, California, where he focused on assisted
reproductive technologies including
chromosome analysis, human
embryo culture, somatic cell nuclear
transfer and medical genetics.
Apolipoprotein E, a gene associated
with heightened risk for Alzheimer’s
disease in adults, can also increase
the likelihood that brain-injured
newborns will develop cerebral
Rodofo Goya, PhD, Martha Bohn, PhD and Nestor Carri, PhD, in Buenos Aires.
[Page ]
[InTouch with Research: Spring 2007]
palsy, according to a new study
published in the February 2007
issue of the journal Pediatrics. This
is the first identification of a gene
that increases susceptibility to
cerebral palsy. Results of the study
may enable early identification of
children at risk for poor neurodevelopmental outcome after brain
injury as newborns, and thus
target those children for early
therapeutic intervention.
photo: Steve Evans
The lead scientist on the study was
Hans-Georg Simon, PhD
Mark S. Wainwright, MD, PhD,
Foundation post-doctoral fellowship, for two years
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
from May 1, 2007. Her project is “The Role of
(Neurology) and Molecular Pharmacology and
Intron 1 in the Regulation of CFTR Gene ExpresBiological Chemistry at Northwestern University’s
Feinberg School of Medicine and Children’s Memorial Research Center. Wainwright is also a
researcher in the Center for Drug Discovery and
Chemical Biology at the Feinberg School. Wainwright’s co-researchers on this study were Maxine
M. Kuroda, PhD, MPH, Mary E. Weck, PT, John
F. Sarwark, MD, and Aaliyah Hamidullah, BSc.
Magdalena Suszko, PhD, post-doctoral scientist
in the Human Molecular Genetics Program
(Harris group) has been awarded a Cystic Fibrosis
Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, has assumed the directorship of the Children’s Memorial Research Center
Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training Program,
effective March 1, 2007. Simon is a faculty
member of the Department of Pediatrics, a
member of the Developmental Biology Program,
and a member of the Integrated Graduate Program
in the Life Sciences at Northwestern University. Pioneer Researcher
Folkman Presents
Seminar Series Lecture
In 1971, Judah Folkman, MD, published a seminal paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, proposing the hypothesis that all tumor
growth is angiogenesis-dependent. This founded
the field of angiogenesis research and opened new
investigations now pursued by scientists in diverse
areas of scientific inquiry. Folkman spoke to a
packed auditorium on March 15, 2007. The title of
his talk was “Angiogenesis-Dependent Diseases.”
photo: Richard Seftor
Judah Folkman, MD
[Children’s Memorial Research Center] [Page ]
Cover Story:
A Fond Farewell
Anatomy and Genetics and also of St. Anne’s
College. Methods of instruction differ too: in addition to regular lectures common to US institutions,
those at Oxford require tutorials, one-on-one
sessions that include verbal and written exercises.
Francis’ wife, Jane, is a British citizen and a
scholar in museum studies. Between Oxford and
London, she will have access to some of the finest
museums in the world. The couple doesn’t have
any immediate plans to travel, although Francis mentions that he’s been invited to speak in
Austria, and that he will visit both Chicago and
Martha Bohn, PhD, director of the Neurobiology
Program at the research center, says: “Francis has
been one of the stars of the Neurobiology
Program and we are sorry to see him leave. Francis’ research on how neural stem cells respond to
brain injury is leading edge neuroscience. He has
been a highly sought after mentor and superb
teacher at Northwestern University.”
Ellen Brooks
Ellen Brooks, PhD, Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Kidney Diseases, has
been with Children’s Memorial Hospital for over
five years. In September of 2006, Ellen assumed
the chairmanship of the hospital’s Institutional
Review Board. The IRB is responsible for reviewing
and scrutinizing all research proposals for scientific
studies at the hospital that would involve human
subjects. Their goal is to make sure that patients in
these studies are safe and that the science is justified. The board’s review of unique avenues of
research is very exciting. It interests her that independent reviewers often make similar comments
about a study, which shows that the board is well
bonded. She has learned a lot by being involved
with the IRB, and thinks it’s a great group of
people. She acknowledges that the work load can
be overwhelming, and that it’s a challenge to
manage these responsibilities and her other
duties separately.
Ellen’s husband is the news director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In this capac-
[Page ]
Washington, DC, the former to continue collaborations with Northwestern University and in his
capacity as an adjunct assistant professor, and the
latter to serve on an NIH study section.
[InTouch with Research: Spring 2007]
ity, he has met several world religious leaders,
and has some fascinating stories. They have two
children, both of whom are in college. Their son,
a junior at Valparaiso University, will be interning
at the WGN radio station this summer. His major
is Radio-TV with a minor in Journalism; he is the
student radio station manager, does sportscasting
and writes for the school newspaper. Their daughter, a freshman at Millikin University, is pursuing a
Music major. In order to move on to the next set
of courses, she is required to demonstrate certain
skills and perform on both of her instruments,
voice and violin. She also plays with the Millikin
orchestra. She plans to graduate with a double
major specialization in music industry and business.
Ellen loves to read and tend her garden. Her dog
Sassy, a Sheltie, whom she adores, is training her
to move toward the door when herded. Her dream
is to retire to Greece or a similar country, whose
people are warm and friendly, and which has a
very relaxed atmosphere.
MRIC Matters
The Medical Research Institute Council (MRIC) was established in 1951 as a private, independent
initiative to raise funds for innovative biomedical research. In 1991, the MRIC began its affiliation
with Children’s Memorial Hospital. Since that time, the MRIC has raised more than $37 million, including
support of Children’s Memorial Research Center construction and expansion. MRIC funding has led to
advanced investigation in cancer, heart disease, genetics, microbiology and neonatology.
MRIC Launches 2007 Medical
Research Campaign
Even before the flowers wilted and the last guests left
the ballroom at the end of the 2006 Children’s Ball,
2007 Medical Research Campaign and Children’s Ball
co-chairs Lisa Lewis and Jenny Patinkin were already
thinking of ideas for a ball theme and plotting out a
fundraising strategy. Lewis and Patinkin were named
2007 co-chairs at the 2006 Children’s Ball held last
December. A kick-off for this year’s campaign was
recently held at Il Mulino restaurant in the Gold
Coast. The restaurant generously treated more than
220 MRIC board members, supporters and friends
to cocktails and a buffet of the restaurant’s famous
pasta dishes and antipastos. Guests were also excited
to learn of the theme for this year’s ball—Galaxy Gala.
“We chose the theme Galaxy Gala because just as
space exploration must always be forward thinking, so too are the talented researchers at Children’s
Memorial Research Center,” says Lisa Lewis. “While
the golden age of space exploration captured the
imagination of the nation, pediatric medical research
today is making tremendous strides that will capture
the attention of people everywhere,” added Jenny
Patinkin. Patinkin and Lewis are looking forward to
having some fun with this year’s theme since it has
so many applications. The co-chairs were even spotted wearing “Cone Head” hats, reminiscent of the
old “Saturday Night Live” routine, outside their
Children’s Memorial office.
New MRIC board members were introduced and
welcomed at the kick off event. They include Lisa
Cohen, Linda Corwin, Steven Mogul, Jamie Pasquale,
Lisa Florence Ray, Emilio Salvi, Allison Stiefel, Robin
Weissman, Debra Ziegelman and Stephen Zimmer.
This is Patinkin’s sixth year on the MRIC board. She
became involved with the group because she and
her husband feel very fortunate to have three healthy
children. She wanted to
do something to help
those who are not as
fortunate as she. Past
roles with the MRIC
include secretary of the
board for two years
and working on special
events. This year marks
Lewis’s fourth year on
the board. She has
overseen the program
book production and
publicity for the last
three years. Both Lewis
and Patinkin are thrilled
to be co-chairs this year
and look forward to
an exciting and hectic
year of fundraising and
events culminating with
the Children’s Ball on
December 8.
Lisa Lewis and Jenny Patinkin
Judy Weitzman, Gail Gassner and Mimi Sherman
The 2007 campaign,
under Lewis and
Patinkin’s leadership, is
off to a great start with
several major gift
commitments already
confirmed. These
commitments include
Rick Tannenbaum and Betsey Pinkert
ones from Kay and
Malcolm Kamin, The Biff Ruttenberg Foundation,
Jenny and Doug Patinkin and Ellen Distelheim and
Rick Tannenbaum. The co-chairs hope to continue to
build on this momentum throughout the year by
securing increased donations from corporate donors
as well as individuals.
by Arla Silverstein
[Children’s Memorial Research Center] [Page ]
More Farewells
photos: Philip Spina, III
Rita Holloway and Maria Charnota
Children’s Memorial Research Center bid a fond farewell to two long-term employees and friends,
Rita Holloway and Maria Charnota. Amazingly, both served Children’s Memorial Hospital for almost 40
years and worked at the research center before retiring. Rita, a buyer for the Purchasing Department, served
as the center’s specialist for the past three years, and helped implement the online ordering system currently
used by the hospital. She is moving to North Carolina to be
closer to her mother and sons. Maria, of the Research
Support Facility, was one of the original “residents” of the
center when it opened in the early 1990s. She plans to
relax, and will remain in Chicago. Both were feted at the
center in March 2007 with breakfast buffets, cookies and
gifts. The employees of Children’s Memorial and the center
are grateful for the contributions and friendship of these
two very special women.
Rita Holloway
Maria Charnota
Healthy Hospital Initiative (continued from page 3)
“green” approach to building construction and
design. Meetings to exchange ideas and report
on findings from different subgroups feature
topics such as healing environments and recycling
approaches. Members have even met with the new
hospital’s architects, who are enthusiastic about the
work of the committee and are already addressing
many of its recommendations. Ongoing cooperation
is planned to make sure that the new hospital is a
model Healthy Hospital. It is possible that this goal
will open novel funding opportunities to support the
building project.
The Healthy Hospital survey may provide preliminary
data for a research proposal to study employee
health and health habits before and after the move
to the new hospital.
Children’s Memorial Hospital Awarded Training Grant
The National Institute of Child Health and
Human Development has awarded Children’s
Memorial Hospital a Child Health Research Career
Development Award (CHRCDA). This award represents the first Center grant that the hospital has
received. Thomas Green, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s
Feinberg School of Medicine, Physician-in-Chief,
Woman’s Board Centennial Professor of Pediatrics
and attending physician in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at the hospital, will be the principal
investigator on the grant. Each CHRCDA scholar
will receive support towards salary and research
expenses. Seventy-five percent of each researcher’s
time is protected, and each is assigned a mentor.
[Page 10]
[InTouch with Research: Spring 2007]
Robin Steinhorn, MD (left) with Kathryn Farrow, MD, PhD,
of the Division of Neonatology. Dr. Steinhorn serves as
mentor to Dr. Farrow for her CHRCDA award.
Unique Public-Private Partnership Announced
On February 16, 2007, Children’s Memorial
Research Center announced a public-private
partnership that will result in therapy and prevention for Chicago-area adolescents with HIV and
youth who are at risk for contracting the disease.
Ann Lurie, a Chicago native, contributed over $1
million to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) to fund the Adolescent Trials
Network (ATN) for HIV/AIDS Interventions. The NIH’s
contribution brought the total funded amount to
$1.9 million. In partnership with the Howard Brown
Health Center, the Midwest’s premier lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender health care organization,
Garofalo, MD, MPH, principal investigator on the
project and Ram Yogev, MD, head of the research
center’s Experimental Therapeutics Program and
director of the HIV/AIDS Research Center. Ms. Lurie
spoke of her passion for Children’s Memorial’s role
in advocacy and the importance of funding an HIV/
AIDS treatment and prevention program. Cullerton
characterized her as a “very generous and extraordinary person.” Ms. Lurie was presented with a
plaque by the research center in honor of her
outstanding contribution.
Children’s Memorial Hospital will enroll HIV-positive
youth in clinical trials of drugs, and at-risk youth in
HIV prevention trials.
Speakers at the press conference included: Mary J.
C. Hendrix, PhD, president and scientific director of
the research center, Pat Magoon, president and
CEO of Children’s Memorial, Ann Lurie, Illinois State
Senator John Cullerton, Michael Cook, president
and CEO of the Howard Brown Health Center, Rob
Illinois State Senator John Cullerton presenting a plaque to
Ann Lurie.
For a list of current awards to Children’s Memorial Research Center investigators, please go to
The young investigators meet every other month to
discuss issues related to their research and career
development. The intent of the grant is to transition
these individuals from a mentored status to that of
independent investigator.
The hospital received this award because of its
strong team of mentors and leaders. The advisory
group that steered the application to its funded
status includes: Dr. Green, H. William Schnaper,
MD, Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, Leon Epstein, MD,
Philip Iannaccone, MD, PhD, Xiaobin Wang, MD,
MPH, ScD, and Philip Spina, CRA. This program is
integrated with other institutional faculty development programs that include a similar award to
the Feinberg School and an internally funded
program in the Department of Pediatrics. The
hospital’s superb job of recruiting basic scientists
and clinicians will be augmented by this award’s
critical role in developing a cadre of junior investigators in translational science who will serve as a
bridge between basic and clinical science efforts at
the hospital.
Scientists presently receiving these awards include
Kathryn Farrow, MD, PhD, and Karen Mestan, MD,
Neonatology, Ruchi Gupta, MD, Uptown Primary
Care Center, Rajesh Kumar, MD, Allergy and Immunology and Sarah Chamlin, MD, Dermatology.
Future issues will discuss some of their work.
[Children’s Memorial Research Center] [Page 11]
Holiday Outreach
Christine Bertrand, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Isabelle De
Plaen, MD, and Greg Wendling, Children’s Memorial Research Center.
Glenn Sullivan, Chris DeEspinosa, Pat McGuire and Francine Blazowski
of the research center also assisted with the outreach project.
[Page 12]
Children’s Memorial Research Center continued
its tradition of partnering with a charitable
organization to provide gifts and cheer during the 2006
holiday season. Many new friends were made thanks to
the outreach to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly in
Chicago. According to Christine Bertrand, Intergenerational Program Coordinator, and Isabelle De Plaen, MD,
our volunteer with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly,
this organization touches the lives of 1,000 people aged
70 and above who live alone and are without meaningful social or family contacts. This year, research center
supporters generously provided individual wish items,
personal care products and toiletries, Chicago Transit
Authority reduced fare cards, and cash, checks and gift
cards totaling nearly $2,000, to bring holiday cheer and
warmth to treasured seniors this holiday season.
by Francine Blazowski
[Children’s Memorial Research Center]
Children’s Memorial Research Center
2300 Children’s Plaza
Chicago, Illinois 60614-3363
a t C h i l d re n’s M e m o r i a l R e s e a rc h C e n t e r
Published by Children’s Memorial Research Center
Spring 2007: Volume 4: Issue 1
Children’s Memorial Research Center is the research arm of ­Children’s Memorial
Hospital, and a virtual center for ­pediatric research at Northwestern University’s
Feinberg School of Medicine. Founded in 1989, the research enterprise has grown
to include more than 200 investigators and more than $27 million in external
for research, two-thirds from NIH and
other federal
[Page funding
with Research:
Spring 2007]
U.S. Postage
Chicago, IL
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