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Symposium Shares Research Innovation and Collaboration

Posted on Nov 08, 2018

Gerald Tuite, M.D., director of research for pediatric neurosurgery
Gerald Tuite, M.D., director of research for pediatric neurosurgery, discusses a research poster at the seventh-annual Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research Symposium.

New and ongoing research on the origins and treatment of pediatric disease was the focus of the seventh-annual Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research Symposium, which was held in the new 225,000-square-foot Research and Education Building that is home to many of these investigations.

“This year’s symposium featured a record number of original research abstracts from Johns Hopkins All Children’s-based investigators and their collaborators, as well as a great breadth of invited research talks by faculty from both the St. Petersburg and Baltimore campuses of Johns Hopkins Medicine,” said Neil Goldenberg, M.D., Ph.D. Goldenberg is a Johns Hopkins University professor of pediatrics and medicine who founded the symposium in 2012 after joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s as director of research.

Presentations of research abstracts from faculty colleagues at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Moffitt Cancer Center also highlighted the productivity of local collaborations in pediatric research.

George Dover, M.D., University Distinguished Service Professor of Pediatrics and former director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has attended the symposium nearly every year. “Fulfilling the Johns Hopkins Medicine tripartite mission (clinical care, education and research), the symposium highlighted new innovations in quality improvements to clinical care, the outstanding efforts of the pediatric residency programs, and the expanding efforts in medical research now taking place on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s campus.”
Anne Murphy, M.D., professor of pediatrics and vice chair for translational and basic research in the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, appreciated hearing from a broad range of investigators, from medical students to senior tenured professors. “It is clear that there are many avenues for collaboration between Johns Hopkins All Children’s and the main campus of the Department of Pediatrics in Baltimore, particularly in regard to recent research efforts in metabolism, obesity, cancer and the microbiome.”

David Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and pediatrics, and pediatric surgeon in chief and co-director of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, presented a vision and update on pediatric surgical research on the Baltimore campus in multiple areas where collaborative opportunities exist or have already been seized. He also described his laboratory’s 15-year journey to develop a potential therapeutic molecule aimed at preventing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening disease in premature infants. This molecule was recently licensed by a company for further development.

“When we are ready to start clinical trials, we will be reaching out to colleagues at Johns Hopkins All Children’s,” Hackam says. “I am also tremendously excited by the influx of the very creative and talented basic scientists who have joined the faculty on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s campus, and who are already unlocking some of the key principles that drive inflammation, metabolism, and the development of cancer.”

Pediatric and adult congenital cardiologist Shelby Kutty, recently named the Helen B. Taussig Professor in the Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Taussig Heart Center in Baltimore, also anticipates new opportunities for collaboration across the Johns Hopkins Medicine campuses. “The symposium was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the science, get a nice overview of the breadth of work happening at Johns Hopkins All Children’s spanning various research and educational disciplines, strengthen collaborations, and engage in friendship. Dynamic discussions surrounding the translational and clinical science presented at the symposium served as a conduit for exchanging ideas among investigators in various disciplines.”
Several of the speakers are members of the new Institute for Fundamental Biological Research launched at Johns Hopkins All Children’s in July 2018 to focus on basic science. The institute is uniquely aligned with other Johns Hopkins All Children’s institutes and departments.

“Establishing cross-disciplinary research groups that span basic to clinical/translational science, focused around pediatric diseases and conditions is a key priority,” Goldenberg explains.
Laszlo Nagy, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the new institute, provided a preview of its role. “We recognize that this is the beginning of our journey as Johns Hopkins University basic scientists on the St. Petersburg campus, yet with the new Research and Education building, the establishment of the Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research and the steady recruitment of basic and clinical scientists, Johns Hopkins All Children’s is poised to become a widely recognized leading pediatric academic health system with research as a core component of its mission.”

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