Appointments and promotions (InTouch Summer 2008)

Yong-Chao MaThe research center is pleased to announce the recruitment of Yong-Chao Ma, PhD, to the Neurobiology Program as assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital of Boston, where he received the William Randolph Hearst Award and a fellowship from the American Cancer Society. Ma is interested in the long-standing question of how extrinsic cellular factors lead to the formation of the different types of neurons that comprise the mammalian brain. He discovered a novel mechanism that is involved in the formation of motor neurons in the spinal cord; the findings were recently reported in the prestigious journal Neuron.

At the research center, Ma plans to define the mechanisms involved in the formation of dopamine neurons. This research will be relevant to neurological disorders in which the neurotransmitter dopamine is important, such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, addiction, schizophrenia, depression and some forms of dementia. He hopes to generate a genome-wide picture of transcription factors involved in the development of dopamine neurons and to define their interactions. Ma will also apply his findings to the differentiation of stem cells into defined types of neurons, which will be an exciting contribution to the field of regenerative medicine. Ma will join the research center in September.

Seth CoreySeth Corey, MD, MPH, joined Children’s Memorial on June 15 as the director of Oncology Research in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant. Previously, he served as section chief of Pediatric Leukemia/Lymphoma at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Corey has been a principal investigator on numerous projects funded by the NIH, American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, other foundations and industry sponsors. At Children’s Memorial he will be invested with the Sharon B. Murphy, MD, and Steven T. Rosen, MD, Research Professorship in Cancer Biology and Chemotherapy.

Nikia Laurie, PhD, will join the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program of the research center in September 2008. She comes from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Laurie’s research has focused on elucidating the sequential genetic changes contributing to retinoblastoma progression, with important results. Her work will seek to further define molecular, cellular and genetic changes associated with tumor invasion and metastasis, to help identify novel targets for more effective chemotherapy for various types of cancer.

The research center welcomes Christine Sullivan, MBA, MS, to the Clinical and Translational Research Program as statistician. Sullivan’s responsibilities include study data analysis, study planning assistance, statistical analysis planning, spreadsheet and database design assistance for data capture, and other biostatistical responsibilities. A five-year veteran of Children’s Memorial, Sullivan served as statistician for Biostatistical Research and Consulting in the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program, and worked on the Food Allergy Project, Inc. with Xiaobin Wang, MD, MPH, ScD, director of the Program. She has eight years of statistical experience and a previous career in data processing.

Recruitment of a director for the newly formed Biostatistical Consulting Core within the Clinical and Translational Research Program is under way. Sullivan currently reports to Ram Yogev, MD, director of the Program. To contact Christine Sullivan: [email protected] or 773.755.6588. Her office is located in the administrative suite on the first floor of the research center.

Peggy JonesPeggy Jones, MILS, has been promoted to Pritzker Librarian & Manager, CMRC Communications. In this capacity, she is responsible for publications, press releases, news for the research center web site and other communications vehicles. Jones has served as the research center’s librarian since 1997.

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