2020 Research Symposium Virtually Reaches New Heights

Posted on Oct 27, 2020

The ninth-annual Research Symposium, held virtually this year, included invited speakers and presenters of selected original research abstract submissions.
The ninth-annual Research Symposium, held virtually this year, included invited speakers and presenters of selected original research abstract submissions.

The ninth-annual Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research Symposium on Oct. 15-16 was a fully virtual event featuring the latest findings in child health and disease research led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s and Johns Hopkins University researchers and their collaborators locally, nationally and beyond. 

Invited speakers and presenters of selected original research abstract submissions highlighted recent work in clinical, translational and basic science, reflecting Johns Hopkins All Children’s strategies in interdisciplinary collaborative research to elucidate key drivers of childhood-onset disease and advance new therapies to treat and prevent pediatric illness. 

The Symposium’s virtual poster session on Oct. 15 drew more than 250 attendees. Over 50 original research abstracts were accepted for presentation at the virtual poster session by the Symposium’s abstract review committee. 

Alicia Lew, M.D., a third-year University of South Florida pediatric resident mentored by Johns Hopkins All Children’s pediatric intensive care physician and Hopkins assistant professor Tony Sochet, M.D., M.H.S., won the Student/Trainee Best Abstract Award for her retrospective multicenter study reporting patient factors and hospitalization outcomes associated with the clinical use of heliox (a mixture of helium and oxygen) in the treatment of critically ill children with severe asthma at children’s hospitals across the United States.

Andreas Patsalos, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow based in the Nagy laboratory of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research and Education Building, won the Best Abstract Award in Basic Science for his work describing signaling pathways for the role of macrophages (specialized cells of the immune system) in skeletal muscle regeneration. His mentor, Laszlo Nagy, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research, served as co-moderator for the Symposium’s oral sessions on Oct. 16. 

The Best Abstract Award in Clinical/Translational Research was given to Johns Hopkins All Children’s pediatric hematologist and Hopkins assistant professor Leila Jerome Clay, M.D., MCTS, and collaborators in the Sickle Cell program for their study on the implementation and impact of an educational curriculum designed for teens and young adults with sickle cell disease.

The virtual oral sessions on Oct. 16 were opened by Neil Goldenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Hopkins professor and associate dean for Research at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, who described the breadth of phase 1-3 single-center and multicenter clinical trials led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s-based clinical investigators. The trials span pediatric therapeutic areas from sarcoma and leukemia to cystic fibrosis, apnea of prematurity, sickle cell disease, primary immune deficiency, thromboembolism and COVID-19. 

Goldenberg also highlighted the leaders and collaborative teams within the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, including: the Center for Pediatric Early-Phase Trials; the Center for Clinical/Translational Research Training, Education, Engagement and Mentorship; the Clinical Coordinating Center for Pediatric Multicenter Studies; the Data Coordinating Center for Pediatric Multicenter Studies; and the Program in Pediatric Health Equity Research.

In addition to oral abstract presentations, the Symposium’s oral program featured speakers on cutting-edge research involving machine learning/artificial intelligence (Hopkins assistant professors Cedric Manlhiot, Ph.D. and Risa Wolf, M.D.); nanoparticle drug delivery (Hopkins professor Kannan Rangaramanujam, Ph.D.); disorders of lung surfactant deficiency/dysfunction (Hopkins professor Lawrence Nogee, M.D.); diagnosis and latest treatments in neuromuscular diseases in children (Stanley Iyadurai, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins All Children’s pediatric neurologist); and updates on a national COVID-19 registry (Hopkins professor Harold Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D.).

The keynote address (held simultaneously with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Grand Rounds) was given by Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Osler Professor of Medicine and director of the Department of Medicine at Hopkins and physician-in-chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, providing an overview of his work (along with many collaborators in recent decades) on the role of calcium/calmodulin dependent kinase II (CAMKII) during normal human development as well as in heart failure, cancer and numerous other diseases later in life.

George Jallo, M.D., vice dean and physician-in-chief for Johns Hopkins All Children’s, comments, “Amid all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear from this year’s Symposium that our faculty and staff have been highly active in designing and conducting innovative and collaborative research. The fact that Johns Hopkins All Children’s investigators also responded to the pandemic by rapidly launching and leading a national clinical trial aimed at preventing clotting complications in children hospitalized for COVID-19, is a testament to the nimble research environment and supportive infrastructure that bridge the Johns Hopkins All Children’s and Johns Hopkins Medicine campuses, and the expertise and passionate commitment of our faculty and staff.” 

Jallo adds, “This year’s fully virtual Symposium was a tremendous success, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger virtual-enabled Johns Hopkins All Children’s 10th-annual Research Symposium event in October next year.”

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