Editor’s Note: In his career as a social psychologist, Douglas Hill, PhD, focuses on understanding how parents, children, and healthcare providers think about and cope with stressful health situations. For the past six years, Dr. Hill has worked with an interdisciplinary team in the lab of Chris Feudtner, MD, PhD, MPH, on research topics including hopeful thinking among parents of children with serious illness, regoaling, good parent beliefs, coping skill interventions for parents, barriers to initiation of palliative care among pediatric oncologists, the impact of pediatric illness on families, and identifying pediatric patients who are unable to communicate.
For many of our researchers, the annual Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting is more than just another conference or convention: It’s an exciting and educational event filled with discovery and discussion about the myriad ways we can improve children’s health. This year, experts from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will convene in Toronto from May 5 to 8 for four days of networking, presentations, poster sessions, and awards. They’ll represent a range of pediatric fields — from behavioral health to bone health, injury research to emergency medicine, neonatology to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and almost everything in between.
Paul Offit, MD, director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center (VEC) and Maurice R. Hilleman Chair of Vaccinology at Penn, added “gold medalist” to his vibrant list of honors and accolades, as he stepped up to receive the 2018 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal from the Sabin Vaccine Institute last week in Washington D.C. The award complements Dr. Offit’s impactful, decades-long career as a researcher, author, professor, and strident spokesperson for accurate science, not to mention a champion for vaccine advocacy who has reached a range of audiences from the scientific to the mainstream, and from adults to children.
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.
Nineteen-year-old Ben Hartranft remembers the first research study he participated in at the Center for Autism Research (CAR) nearly eight years ago. Though he was just 12, he didn’t feel nervous or scared about the functional magnetic resonance imaging machine that would capture images of his brain. Instead, Ben’s mom recalls him joking that the researchers could duct tape his legs to the chair to help him keep still (which, of course, wasn’t necessary).
“I just stayed still, and it was very fun,” Ben said.
After surviving cancer, getting back into the rhythms of childhood or adolescence can be a challenge. From school, to a social life, to settling into independence, the impact of cancer often lingers beyond just the period of treatment, and it affects both the body and the brain.
Cars, computational biology, and cancer advances are all featured in this week’s roundup of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia research news, as our investigators received recognition at places as far as the New York International Auto Show, and as close as our hospital’s own Seacrest Studios. Read on to learn more about new awards from Hyundai’s nonprofit organization, Hope on Wheels, the Emily Whitehead Foundation’s generous gift to our Cancer Immunotherapy Frontier Program, and more!
Editor’s Note: Each year, 10,000 patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) visit a wide range of clinical programs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — including developmental pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, neurology, psychology, speech and language therapy, clinical genetics, general pediatrics, and more. With this enormous patient base and broad sets of expertise across specialties, the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at CHOP offers a tremendous opportunity to conduct rigorous research with its ultimate aim being to improve care, quality of life and long-term outcomes for individuals with ASD.
Neurobiology researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are looking deep into the brain’s circuitry to search for new avenues for the treatment of major depressive disorder, the most common mental illness.
In 2016, 10.3 million adults had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. While care by a health professional and antidepressant medication may be effective for some people, current treatments have a high rate of relapse and side effects.
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.