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Congratulations to Katherine A. Hajjar, MD, Vice Chair for Research and Brine Family Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine, on being awarded a grant by the United States Department of Defense to develop treatment for proliferative vitreoretinopathy, a potentially blinding disease that occurs in almost one-half of military personnel who sustain a penetrating wound to the eye.

Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) occurs in some patients who have had complicated eye surgeries. When there is a tear in the retina, cells inside the eye, known as RPE cells, that normally remain behind the retina, begin to proliferate, move away from their normal position, and migrate to the inner surface of the retina. Over time, these migratory cells form a scar-like membrane that pulls the remaining retina away from the back of the eye, severely compromising vision. PVR is increasing in frequency among military personnel due to the increasing use of explosive devices in modern combat. Unfortunately, however, there is no treatment for this devastating disease.

Congratulations to David C. Lyden, MD, PhD, Stavros S. Niarchos Professor in Pediatric Cardiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, who, together with Drs. Linnie Golightly, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Shahin Rafii, Professor of Medicine and Raphael Lis, Assistant Professor of Reproductive Medicine in Medicine, received an R61 award titled, "In vitro modeling of brain blood barrier dysfunction on a chip to elucidate the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria."

Congratulations to Emily Wasserman, MD on receiving a $25,000 award from the HHV-6 Foundation for her project entitled, Association of Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children and chromosomally integrated HHV6.

For this project, Dr. Wasserman and her team at Weill Cornell Medicine will determine the prevalence of chromosomally integrated human herpes virus 6 (ici‐HHV6) in a cohort of patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS‐C).  HHV‐6 reactivation has been associated with hyperinflammatory states and a recent case report identified ici‐HHV6 in a patient with MIS‐C. Dr. Wasserman believes an association between ici‐HHV6 and MIS‐C would shed light on the pathogenesis of MIS‐C and hyperinflammatory responses to SARS-CoV2. 

The Global Team Science Award project led by Dr. Virginia Pascual, Director of the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children's Health and Ronay Menschel Professor of Pediatrics aims to study childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE).

Congratulations to Lisa Giulino Roth, M.D.Director of Pediatric Oncology and Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, on being awarded the 2021 Hyundai Hope Scholar Grant, funded by Hyundai Hope On Wheels, for her project, Targeting latent viral antigens in EBV+ Burkitt Lymphoma.

For this study, Dr. Roth is developing a novel approach to the treatment of lymphomas associated with Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).  Using epigenetic therapies, Dr. Roth and her laboratory team will determine if they can alter the proteins expressed by EBV and make the tumor more susceptible to killing by immune cells.  If successful, the work will lead to a completely new treatment approach for lymphomas associated with EBV.

Congratulations to Eric Mallack, M.D., Director of the Leukodystrophy Center and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, on being awarded a K23 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health entitled, “Leveraging myelin-sensitive imaging to predict early lesion pathogenesis in cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy.

Cerebral Adrenoleukodystrophy (CALD) is a neurologically devastating, inflammatory demyelinating disease of childhood that leads to a vegetative state or death in months to years. Treatments are most effective when initiated in the narrow window prior to the onset of neurological symptoms, however early identification of CALD is a significant challenge.  In this project, Dr. Mallack and his collaborators at Weill Cornell Medical College and Harvard Medical School will study the transition from normal brain development to cerebral demyelination using advanced imaging techniques in order to widen the treatment window, provide lead-time for possible preventative strategies, and thereby help maximize neurological outcomes.

Dr. Alexander Ja-Ho Chou is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and an attending pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He specializes in the care of children with pediatric sarcomas including osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, desmoplastic small round cell tumor, alveolar soft part sarcoma, rhabdoid tumors, epithelioid sarcomas, infantile fibrosarcomas, and other rare sarcomas of childhood, and also cares for children with other common solid tumors such as neuroblastoma, Wilm's tumor, hepatoblastoma, germ cell tumors, and other rarer tumors of childhood.

What made you want to become a pediatrician AND an oncologist?

The mental health crisis among our pediatric patients has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, children, adolescents, and their families need access to mental health care and resources.

Since the start of the pandemic, pediatricians at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have witnessed increased rates of suicidality in their patients, in an addition to increased depression, eating problems, and anxiety. As a result, more youth are being admitted to the emergency room for inpatient mental health care.

Congratulations to Emily Wasserman, M.D. on being selected as the recipient of the 2022-23 Children’s Health Investigator Fund, co-funded by the Department of Pediatrics and the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children's Health. The funding will support Dr. Wasserman’s efforts in studying MISC/SARS-CoV-2 infections under the Department of Pediatrics Young Investigator Award.

Under the mentorship of Virginia Pascual, M.D., Director of the Drukier Institute, Dr. Wasserman and immunology experts at Weill Cornell Medicine will study a rare, but severe, SARS-CoV-2 related illness in children called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The project is part of a national, multi-institutional collaboration led by Dr. Pascual. Using biological specimens and clinical data from over 200 children, Dr. Wasserman and the team hope to reveal the abnormal immune responses underlying MIS-C. The study offers an unparalleled opportunity to unravel the mystery behind this enigmatic illness and the pediatric response to SARS-CoV2 infection.

 We are pleased to announce the appointment of Perdita Permaul, MD, FAAP, FAAAAI as Director of Pediatric Research at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and Weill Cornell Medicine. In this new position, Dr. Permaul will work alongside leadership to manage and guide clinical and translational research based at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine. Through the development of a robust pediatric research infrastructure at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and providing a liaison for pediatric investigators across the New York Presbyterian enterprise, Institutional Review Boards, Joint Clinical Trials Office, and the Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Center for Research at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, Dr. Permaul will facilitate the expansion of pediatric research studies and trials, including NIH and foundation grant funded projects. This new role supports Weill Cornell Medicine’s plan to coordinate clinical research efforts at NewYork-Presbyterian clinical sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens drawing on our exceptionally diverse patient population.

Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Appointments & Referrals: (646) 962-KIDS (646) 962-5437 Chair's Office: Weill Cornell Medicine 525 E 68th St.
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