Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the Fall 2022 Internal Grant Award (IGA) program. The IGA program provides resources to a faculty member or other person who has Principal Investigator-eligible status to develop projects that will lead to a highly competitive extramural application for sustained research support within 18 months of receiving the award. All awards are for a one-year period. The Fall 2022 IGA program accepted proposals for seven award categories:
- Proposal Revision Award is for up to $100,000 to support the preparation of a revision and resubmission of an application for federal research support.
- Program Accelerator Award is for up to $75,000 to support planning and development of program project-related applications expected to lead to a submission within 18–24 months of the start of funding.
- Visionary Award is for up to $75,000 to support potentially paradigm-shifting research. This should be a visionary idea with a new, multi-institutional team supporting it.
- Kenneth C. Griffin Research Catalyst Award is for up to $100,000 to support novel preclinical and translational research. This should be an innovative research project that results in pilot data to support a competitive future extramural funding application with a preclinical or translational research focus.
- Catalyst’s Spark Award is for up to $100,000 to support novel population health, implementation science, or community-engaged research. This should be an innovative research project that results in pilot data to support a competitive future extramural funding application with a community, population health, or outcomes focus.
- Interdisciplinary Colloquia Award is for up to $5,000 to bring together multi-disciplinary investigators from Manne Research Institute and Northwestern University to share scientific knowledge and envision future research related to children’s health research.
- Scientific Advocacy Award is for up to $1,000 per year to advocate for children’s health research at the regional and national level and raise the stature of Manne Research Institute and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago investigators in scientific advocacy.
Congratulations to the recipients of the Fall 2022 Internal Grant Awards.
Attending Physician, Neonatology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Proposal Revision Award
Title: Role of Inflammatory Macrophages on Intestinal Microvasculature Development and NEC
Amount funded: $100,000
The Proposal Revision Award will allow Dr. De Plaen to prepare a revised grant proposal for resubmission of her R01 grant proposal, “Role of Inflammatory Macrophages on Intestinal Microvasculature Development and NEC,” to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health in July 2023. The proposed studies plan to characterize the mechanism by which perinatal inflammation contributes to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) development by defining the key anti-angiogenic signaling pathways via inflammatory macrophage-endothelial cell crosstalk, which impairs intestinal microvascular development, thus promoting NEC. Specifically, the funds will enable her to conduct three key experiments that address reviewers’ comments.
Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Kenneth C. Griffin Research Catalyst Award
Title: The Role of PLEKHG1 in Driving Pediatric Ependymoma Recurrence
Amount funded: $100,000
The Kenneth C. Griffin Research Catalyst Award will support Dr. Du’s research that will test the hypothesis that the gene PLEKHG1 (pleckstrin homology and RhoGEF domain containing G1) plays a critical role in driving tumor recurrence of RELA ependymomas (EPNs), and its activity is enriched or selective in subpopulation of RELA EPN cells. The successful validation of its role in tumor recurrence using in vitro and in vivo systems will provide strong and novel preclinical evidence to support the initiation of clinical trials on PLEKHG1 as a new target for anti-relapse therapies in EPNs, especially RELA subtype. Dr. Wu’s ultimate goals are to provide new knowledge about the biology of the relapsed tumor, to evaluate the clinical application potential of PLEKHG1inhibition, and to develop novel active therapies selectively for recurrent tumors.
Attending Physician, Neonatology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Scientific Advocacy Award
Title: Development of National Standards for Neonatology Staffing
Amount funded: $1,000
Dr. Machut serves as co-leader of the Women in Neonatology Advocacy Committee, a special interest group that is part of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine. The committee has determined that current neonatologist workforce practices do not support the needs of the evolving workforce demographics, administrative obligations, scholarly pursuits, scientific advancements, and most importantly, patient population. The group plans to address this by creating a healthier environment for patients and the neonatologist workforce by advocating for needed changes to neonatology workforce policies and staffing models. They will drive these changes through research and partnership with multiple stakeholders, including the AAP and institutional leadership at a national level. The Scientific Advocacy Award will allow Dr. Machut and her team to support this research by allowing for rigorous and sound data collection and analysis.
Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Visionary Award
Title: Outcome Measures and Predictors for Pediatric Community Acquired Pneumonia using Electronic Health Record Data
Amount funded: $75,000
The diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia (CAP), the second most common reason for hospitalization and the second most costly pediatric condition among children hospitalized in the United States, is complicated by a lack of data-driven tools and overlapping presenting features with other common respiratory conditions, resulting in overuse, and occasionally underuse, of chest radiographs (CXR) and antibiotics. The use of prediction models embedded within the electronic health record (EHR) may overcome some of these challenges by enabling more accurate predictions for CAP; this may then be used to facilitate real-time management guidance. As a first step, a consensus-based computable phenotype to define CAP is required, followed by an analysis of factors within the EHR that are associated with this outcome. The Visionary Award will allow Dr. Ramgopal and the research team to conduct research to determine a computable definition for CAP using a mixed-methods approach and to identify structured and unstructured factors within the EHR associated with CAP. Their findings will provide critical information regarding optimal outcome measures for CAP and represent the first step in a larger research effort focused on developing predictive models for CAP in children. The research represents a collaboration of experts from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who have relevant expertise in stakeholder engagement, predictive modeling, and natural language processing.
Director, Pediatric Urological Regenerative Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Director of Surgical Research, Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute; and Research Associate Professor of Urology and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering
IGA type: Proposal Revision Award
Title: Small Molecule Directed Urinary Bladder Tissue Regeneration
Amount funded: $99,855
The Proposal Revision Award will enable Dr. Sharma and his team to complete small molecule-mediated large animal model studies to generate preliminary data to help strengthen the resubmission of a Parent R01 to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Sharma and his team will conduct large animal model bladder augmentation studies as described in the original grant submission but on a short-term basis (3 months) where he and the team know that regeneration is underway based upon their previous experience with this model. To determine project success, they will use the benchmarks provided in the original grant submission which include, in part, microscopic, anatomical, and physiological readouts.
Attending Physician, Cardiology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) and Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Catalyst’s Spark Award
Title: Access to Delivery at a Congenital Heart Center for Infants with Critical Congenital Heart Defects
Amount funded: $99,712
Treatment of critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), or defects that require intervention within 60 days of life, begins with delivery at a congenital heart hospital. However, prenatal diagnosis of CCHD and access to congenital heart hospitals are inequitable. The Catalyst’s Spark Award will allow Dr. Woo to employ a mixed-methods approach to analyze a statewide birth defects registry and identify patient-reported barriers in access to a congenital heart hospital. Dr. Woo will determine the proportion of neonates with CCHD, born in Illinois between 2013 and 2021, who are delivered at a congenital heart hospital. She will then estimate the associations between maternal, neighborhood, and infant characteristics that are most highly associated with delivery at a congenital heart hospital. Finally, she will use semi-structured interviews to identify patient-perceived barriers to postnatal CCHD care among mothers with prenatal diagnosis, whose infants received surgery at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago but were not born at Prentice Women’s Hospital.
Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
IGA type: Visionary Award
Title: The Role of Neonatal Intestinal Endothelial Cell Metabolic Reprogramming during Necrotizing Enterocolitis Development
Amount funded: $74,639
While there is growing evidence that perinatal intestinal microvascular development plays a major role in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)—the most common gastrointestinal disease in premature neonates—and that endothelial cell (EnC) metabolism is critical for vascular development, little is known about how the metabolism of neonatal intestinal EnC (iEnC) differs from their adult counterpart and the role of neonatal iEnC metabolism during NEC development. The Visionary Award will help Dr. Yan’s laboratory to carry out research to characterize neonatal iEnC metabolism at baseline and during NEC development and determine whether a change in iEnC metabolism in neonatal mice exposed to experimental NEC is associated with decreased iEnC proliferation. This will help the research team obtain the preliminary data needed for an R21 and an R01 proposal submissions to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Cell metabolism represents a new area of investigation for Dr. Yan’s laboratory, so the team will collaborate with Dr. Navdeep Chandel, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University, who will provide guidance.