CMRC Children's Memorial Research Center
InTouch Fall 2008


Cover Story
Ann Harris, PhD, is on a mission. As the director of one of the youngest programs at Children’s Memorial Research Center, she understands good science, dedication and the value of a lively exchange of ideas. Harris is committed to infusing her laboratory, the Human Molecular Genetics Program, and the research center with these qualities. Meet Harris and her lab members.


Cystic Fibrosis – The Facts, 4th edition. Anne H. Thomson and Ann Harris, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Director’s Message
Research is considered the supply side of medical and scientific innovation, while patients and trainees represent the consumers. As we all appreciate, the bioscience industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices, are dependent on research and development supported by new discoveries to maintain their competitive edge. Each scientist of Children’s Memorial Research Center contributes to an integral part of the research equation, which can be considered an economic driver. Read more.

Hendrix Presentations
Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, National Cancer Institute (NCI) MERIT Award recipient, delivered the keynote at the NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology New Grantee Workshop in September 2008. Read more.

Appointments and Promotions
Michael L. Miller, MD, director of Clinical Services, Division of Immunology/Rheumatology at Children’s Memorial and associate professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School, will serve as the Chief Advisor for Clinical and Translational Research Applications for the research center. Read more.



Kang Chu, MD, PhD, has joined the laboratory of Lauren Pachman, MD, as a research assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School. She studies autosomal dominant osteopetrosis, a heritable osteosclerotic disorder resulting from heterozygous mutations in the chloride channel 7 gene. Read more.

Rocky Pramanik, PhD, is a newly appointed senior research scientist in the laboratory of Mary J.C. Hendrix of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program. Pramanik was a research scientist for Litholink Corporation, a subsidiary of LabCorp, in Chicago. In the Hendrix laboratory, he will focus on developing novel biomarker assays to detect the presence of specific cancer-related antigens in the sera of patients with cancer. The findings will help in the diagnosis, therapy and prognosis of cancer.

Research News
Seconds for Care: Evaluation of Five Health Supervision Visit Topics Using a New Method. This study was conducted to gain understanding of the time it takes and some of the actions that occur to address key preventive topics during pediatric health supervision visits of children between the ages of two and ten years. The authors developed a new method and a tool to help conduct the assessments of five preventive health topics. Read more.

Defining a Developmental Pathway for Medulloblastoma. In a forthcoming publication in the International Journal of Cancer, Joon Won Yoon, PhD, David Walterhouse, MD, and colleagues studied changes in gene expression profiles in cells transformed by a gene that has been shown to be overactive in a subset of medulloblastomas. Read more.



Martha C. Bohn, PhD, Medical Research Institute Council Professor and director of the Neurobiology Program of the research center, received an award from the Japan Foundation for Neuroscience and Mental Health to spend two weeks in the laboratory of Mari Dezawa, professor at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Read more.

Remigiusz Lewandowski, PhD, has been granted the Bernardo Nobile Award for his PhD thesis entitled “Mapping of genetic modified organisms (GMOs) biosafety research with the use of data-mining techniques.” Read more.



Zhila Khalkhali-Ellis, PhD, research associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School and a member of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program of the research center, presented at the 2nd World Conference on Magic Bullets (Ehrlich II) held in Nuremberg, Germany, October 3-5, 2008. The title of her talk was “Treatment prospects for breast cancer: Lessons learnt from a decade of research on Maspin.”

Student News
Colleen Morrison, MD, completed medical school at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and a residency in Pediatrics at Loyola University Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital. She is in the second year of a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant at Children’s Memorial, and has joined Mary J.C. Hendrix’s laboratory to complete her fellowship. Read more.

Postdoctoral fellow Barbara Sisson, PhD, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (F32) from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH. The title of the grant is “The role of RhoA and its targets in craniofacial cartilage morphogenesis.” Read more.


Profile: Troy Camarata
Troy Camarata, a graduate student in the laboratory of Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, Developmental Biology Program, is passionate about his work. For the past six years, he has been studying how the heart forms. More specifically, his work has centered around two genes that are essential for heart development in vertebrates using the zebrafish as a model organism. Read more.

Training Program Web Site Gets a Makeover
Next time you are surfing the Children’s Memorial Research Center web site, take some time to get to know the research center’s trainees. Becoming acquainted with their research interests and training program is now easier, thanks in part to a concerted effort by the training program’s director, Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, and a committee of trainees and staff that recently launched a new site devoted to the center’s Research Training Program. Read more.

Grantsmanship Workshop
This past August, a group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows participated in a two-day workshop entitled “Grantsmanship for the Research Professional” presented by Holly Falk-Krzesinski, PhD, director, Office for Research Development at Northwestern University. Participants learned the skills and strategies required to successfully pursue grant opportunities to support hypothesis- driven and need-based research activities. Read more.

New Centers Open at Children’s Memorial
A new Center of Excellence in Clinical Immunology is composed of over 60 faculty members from the five Chicago area medical schools. Its goals are to provide a venue for communication and education in the field of clinical immunology, and to foster interdisciplinary collaborations that focus on the immunopathology of disease states. Read more.

Children’s Memorial announced the opening of a Jeffrey Modell Foundation Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies, one of only 40 of its kind in the world and 22 in North America. It aims to focus on the diagnosis, care, and treatment of children suffering with Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders (PID), which encompass more than 120 inherited diseases caused by an immune system that does not function properly. Read more.

XenoBase Update
The goal of XenoBase in brain tumor study is to assist in the discovery of alterations and processes associated with brain tumor initiation and progression. Because of the heterogeneity and special locations of brain tumors, development of non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic methods is highly desired. Read more.


InTouch is the quarterly newsletter of
Children's Memorial Research Center
2300 Children's Plaza, M/C 205
Chicago, Illinois 60614

Phone: 773.755.6341
Editor: Peggy Jones, MILS 

To subscribe, unsubscribe or comment, email: