Category Archive: University of Pennsylvania

May 22 2018

Physician-Scientist Jason Van Batavia, MD, Accepts Prestigious Urology Prize

Leading-edge neuroscience techniques are facilitating Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researchers’ better understanding of how the brain controls bladder function, and their novel insights have earned them special recognition from the neurourology community.

Jason Van Batavia, MD, a urologist and physician-scientist in the Division of Urology at CHOP, is the grand prize winner in the 2018 Diokno-Lapides Essay Contest. His manuscript described a research project focused on optogenetic stimulation of specific neurons in a section of the brainstem called Barrington’s nucleus, which scientists think is an important “command center” for controlling voiding (urination).

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May 1 2018

Does an Impaired Biological Pathway Help Explain Heart Problems in Huntington’s Disease?

The Findings:

Researchers gained new insights into the heart problems that are the second leading cause of death in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD). An incurable, inherited disease with progressive loss of brain cells and motor function, HD occurs when a defective gene produces repeated copies of a protein called huntingtin, or HTT. The mutant HTT (mHTT) protein disrupts multiple fundamental cellular processes along the mTORC1 pathway that promotes cell growth and metabolism. The study team described how decreased mTORC1 activity contributed to the development of heart disease with stress in mouse models of HD. By restoring cardiac mTORC1 activity, the researchers improved the animals’ heart function and survival over the course of the study.

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Apr 13 2018

Entrepreneurial Science Scholars Turn Ideas Into Medical Innovation

By definition, entrepreneurs are energetic leaders who challenge existing ideas to drive impactful change. Entrepreneurs think outside the box, follow their passion, and stay resilient and resourceful to achieve their goals. At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, fellows in the Entrepreneurial Science Scholars Program do all of these things — and more — to improve the health of children and families.

On Feb. 22, we celebrated this year’s CHOP Entrepreneurial Science Scholars, a group of six clinician-researchers who are conducting pioneering research and innovation in diverse and critical fields. The CHOP Entrepreneurial Science Scholars Program aims to produce highly trained investigators skilled in translational research and the generation of creative solutions to biomedical problems. Joseph St. Geme, MD, Physician-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at CHOP, hosted the event.

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Mar 21 2018

Lifespan Brain Institute Symposium Digs Into Roots of Mental Illness

Leaders of the Lifespan Brain Institute (LiBI) brought together experts in child and adult psychiatry, and basic and translational science, to delve into the origins of mental illness, during the Institute’s first symposium, “Pathological Antecedents to Neuropsychiatric Disorders.” Throughout the day, 200 attendees learned about how the typical trajectory of brain development and function is derailed in psychiatric disorders at various points throughout life — perhaps as early as in the womb.

LiBI is uniquely positioned as a broad collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that supports research across the fetal-adult continuum, which is a pillar of CHOP Research Institute’s strategic plan.

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Mar 9 2018

Lung Stem Cells, 2021 Congress of the ISTH, Backseat Safety, Pan-Cancer Analysis, Gates Cambridge Scholarship

From the discovery of stem cells that multiply after a lung injury, to new data that advances how we think about (and treat) childhood cancer, our first roundup of March is packed with discovery. Read on to learn how our researchers stay at the forefront of pediatric science with a new study that expands what scientists know about the body’s extraordinary ability to regenerate, a pan-cancer project that distinguishes how cancer develops in children versus adults, and a handful of updates on what our investigators have in store for the near future.

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Mar 2 2018

Exploring the Wide World of the Microbiome

Studying the microbiome — the 40 trillion or so invisible microbes that call your body home — is like being an explorer of a secret world with its own language and lifeforms. Whether these microbes are sometimes friends or sometimes foe depends on subtle interactions with each other and the role of influential factors such as your genetics, environment, age, and diet.

The PennCHOP Microbiome Program awards annual pilot and feasibility grants to help faculty members of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia scientific communities navigate this uncharted territory. With the funding awarded in 2017, eight projects are underway, and CHOP clinician-scientists are leading two of them.

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Feb 6 2018

Does Past Exposure to the Flu Influence Future Immune Responses?

The Finding:

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Jan 17 2018

‘Like’ This: PolicyLab Uses Social Media to Support New Moms

From Facebook pages to Twitter feeds, social media has transformed how we communicate and gather news about our world. Seventy-five percent of today’s parents use social media according to a Pew Center Research report, and 79 percent of those parents reported that they learned beneficial information from logging onto their channels. James Guevara, MD, MPH, pediatrician and a founding member of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, has seen the power of these platforms at work while conducting research into mothers with postpartum depression.

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Jan 11 2018

Is Autism Associated With Stronger or Weaker Brain Connections?

The Finding:

In a new study that sheds light on a longstanding paradox in autism research, investigators showed how children and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can have both stronger and weaker brain connections than their typically developing peers. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) revealed that while individuals with ASD have weaker brain connections compared to their peers overall (a measure known as absolute connectivity), they simultaneously exhibited stronger connections within the brain networks implicated in attention and social cognition compared to their other networks (a measure known as relative connectivity). Additionally, the more these brain connections differed from typical development, the more severe the child’s ASD symptoms seemed to be.

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Dec 21 2017

Groundbreaking Gene Therapy Approved for Inherited Retinal Blindness

More than a decade of studies led by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania culminated this week with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of an innovative one-time gene therapy product indicated for the treatment of patients with a rare, inherited form of retinal blindness.

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