NIH Gives $2M Grant to Nurture Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Researchers

Dec. 29, 2010
Grant will Fund Mentoring Program for Junior Investigators in Pediatrics
Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has been awarded a five-year grant for nearly $2 million by the National Institutes of Health, as part of the Child Health Research Centers program. The program, aimed at establishing and growing centers of excellence in pediatric research, will fund basic science training for junior faculty members in pediatric subspecialty areas.

“It is absolutely vital that we establish and nurture venues for physician-researchers so they can be trained, get assistance launching their careers and maintain investigative independence at the interface between pediatrics and translatable molecular and developmental biology,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital at URMC and chair of URMC’s Department of Pediatrics.

URMC’s Department of Pediatrics is among approximately 30 in the United States to receive this grant. The grant will fund research in Molecular Translational Pediatrics – research focused on identifying and understanding how genes influence diseases that develop in babies, children and adolescents. Conducting translational research involves getting research to the clinical trials stage more quickly and efficiently and then taking gathered data back to laboratories, so researchers can adjust and improve therapies for patients.

Two scholars will enroll in the program during its first year: Kristin M. Scheible, M.D., senior instructor in Neonatology and Pediatrics, and Jennifer L. Nayak, M.D., senior instructor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. By the third year of the grant, the program will include four scholars from Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The enrolled junior investigators will spend 75 percent of their time conducting research in their specialty areas. The program will help them cultivate research within their area of expertise, develop analytical and practical skills to understand and treat developmental diseases in children and establish themselves as ethically and scientifically sound clinical researchers.

Senior faculty members overseeing the program will include Schor, the principal investigator of the program, who will see to the program’s administrative and overarching responsibilities, and Francis Gigliotti, M.D., chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Golisano Children’s Hospital, who will manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the program as training director. A program advisory committee, chaired by Gigliotti, will consist of five mentors for the program, made up of senior faculty members, and more than 20 faculty members will act as research mentors, training scholars in the classroom setting and during one-on-one training sessions.

The Child Health Research Centers program is part of the Endocrinology, Nutrition and Growth Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.