InTouch Spring 2008

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Children’s Memorial Research Center has entered into a multi-year agreement with Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to license its XenoBase software and database system. This unique, advanced bio-informatics system integrates data analysis—from molecular to clinical—across the translational research work flow. Drug target and biomarker discovery and therapeutic strategies are expedited. Read more >>

Director's Message

The research center has recently awarded funding to support four Centers of Excellence: Community Partnerships and Health Promotion; Clinical Immunology; Neuroblastoma Research; and Pediatric Critical Illness and Injury. These Centers are led by experts in their respective fields of endeavor, and will provide unique synergistic opportunities for a myriad of investigators. Read more >>



The National Institutes of Health announced the appointments to the NIH Council of Councils. The Council is made up of 27 members selected from the NIH Institute and Center (IC) advisory councils and advisory committees to the NIH Office of the Director. Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, President and Scientific Director, Medical Research Institute Council Endowed Chair, Children’s Memorial Research Center, will serve as liaison to the National Cancer Institute. For the full NIH press release, go to 

 /uploadedImages/News/InTouch/Spring_2008/clocc_logo.gif  March 25, 2008 Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) A number of Central Florida organizations are trying to form a consortium to tackle the problem of childhood obesity as a community. The local effort will be modeled in part on the efforts of CLOCC, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, an umbrella group that marshals resources in the city to fight the war on fat from many angles. Read more >>



February 11, 2008 Medical News Today Hui-Ju Tsai, MPH, PhD, is one of ten recipients awarded by the March of Dimes Foundation in 2008. Tsai is seeking to explain ethnic disparities in preterm birth rates by looking for genetic differences between African-American women who gave birth preterm and those who did not. She is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program of Children's Memorial Research Center. Read more >>

Farrow_Spring08 Kathryn N. Farrow, MD, PhD, a neonatologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital, has been awarded the 2008 Richard D. Rowe Award in Perinatal Cardiology from the Society for Pediatric Research. The Rowe Award was established in 1988 by colleagues, trainees and friends of Dr. Rowe to honor his many personal achievements, commitment to academic excellence, integrity and humility. Read more >>



Alexis Thompson, MD, MPH, has been named Associate Director for Health Disparities and Special Population Initiatives at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In this new senior leadership position, Thompson will strengthen the community outreach and service programs of the Office of Health Disparities and Special Population Initiatives (HDSPI). Read more >>


Research News

A protein that governs development of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) also inhibits the growth and spread of the deadliest skin cancer, Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, and colleagues have discovered. The scientists found that the protein, called Lefty, also prevents aggressive breast cancer cells from metastasizing. Lynne-Marie Postovit, PhD, who was first author on the study, is currently an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Read more >>



Premature birth has been associated with recurrent wheezing in early life and is thought to be a risk for asthma. Rajesh Kumar, MD, et al., report on their study to understand the relationship of prematurity and chorioamnionitis (a condition that can develop in a pregnant woman in which the membranes and amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus become infected) to recurrent wheezing in the child’s early life. Read more >>

Chandra S.K. Mayanil, PhD, and colleagues have published a study in the journal Developmental Biology that investigates whether the paired-box gene transcription factor, Pax3, plays a role in regulating certain key transcription factors… Read more >>

Robert Dettman, PhD, and colleagues have found that the integrin alpha4beta1 controls many aspects of early epicardial development in the chick heart. It does so in part by regulating other integrins in epicardial cells that are important for cell adhesion and migration. Read more >>



John V. Lavigne, PhD, and colleagues tested two types of therapies for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the most common psychiatric disorder among preschool children. "The findings raise the possibility of developing brief but effective interventions for ODD that can be used by a large number of families, with more intensive treatment being reserved for situations in which the brief treatment is insufficient," Lavigne said. Read more >>

Lauren M. Pachman, MD, and colleagues have found a difference in absorption of a drug administered to juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) patients when given orally as opposed to intravenously. More aggressive therapies for JDM have been linked to improved outcomes in patients. Read more >>

Student News

Andre Kulisz, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, is first author of a study suggesting that the T-box transcription factor, Tbx5, uses a mechanism for protein relocalization that evolved early, thus setting a new paradigm for T-box protein functions during developmental and disease processes. Read more >>

Jennifer Krcmery from the laboratory of Hans-Georg Simon, PhD, was one of three graduate students invited to present at the 7th Annual Cardiovascular Developmental Biology Symposium at the Medical University of South Carolina, March 19–21. Read more >>


Troy Camarata, a graduate student in the Simon laboratory, was awarded a platform presentation entitled “Tbx5 subcellular regulation by LMP4 during pectoral fin development” at the Experimental Biology meeting held April 5–9 in San Diego. Read more >>

Christina Khodr, PhD, and Qin Chang, PhD, will each present research at the 11th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy in May, in Boston. Read more >>


Cropping Images


What digital photography has done for the vacationer, it has also done for the medical researcher. The ability to take lots of pictures, store and sort them easily has made imaging with microscopes easier and more productive. Since almost anyone can edit those digital images with powerful applications such as Adobe® Photoshop®, there is a real need for scientists and medical researchers to know what is permissible and what is not when it comes to digital editing. Read more >>

Profile: Adam Becker

Becker_spring08The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) welcomed Chicago-born Adam Becker to the position of executive director in November 2006. With his extensive training and experience in the practice of community-based participatory research, and a committed approach to examining and addressing public health issues, joining the CLOCC team was what Adam calls “a great fit.” 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. To subscribe, unsubscribe or comment, email:

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