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Pediatric Research: Translating new Knowledge into Advances in Health Care for Children
Research Day sets tone for resident and fellowship training in 2012-13

Keynote speaker Martin Pollak, M.D., Director of the Laboratory of Inherited Kidney Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, addresses attendees at Stony Brook’s Pediatric Research Day.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., June 22, 2012 – Breakthroughs in medicine result from years of research and clinical practice. For residents and fellows in the Department of Pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, an early focus on pediatric disease research may provide a foundation toward future discoveries that advance care for children. On Pediatric Research Day, sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics and Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital, Pediatric faculty recognized trainees involved in a variety basic, clinical and translational research. The Continuing Medical Education (CME) program offered insight into research methods and showcased promising studies.

The CME event brought Stony Brook Pediatric faculty and community physicians to the Charles B. Wang Center on May 9 to discuss new findings. They also gathered to help prepare the next generation of pediatricians to take part in the mission to provide hope to sick children and their families by carrying out research that will lead to new treatment approach. Each trainee is required to carry out a mentored research project.

Nationally recognized nephrologist Martin Pollak, M.D., Director of the Laboratory of Inherited Kidney Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, sought to inspire the investigators when he presented “Why Do African Americans Get So Much Kidney Disease?” Dr. Pollak described his studies on how genetic susceptibility for certain types of hypertensive kidney diseases correlates with resistance to typanosomiasis, a serious infectious disease in certain regions of Africa.

Poster sessions and discussions featuring 28 investigations by Stony Brook Pediatric residents and fellows followed Dr. Pollak’s presentation.

“Our trainees are interested in many pediatric diseases and conditions,” said Margaret McGovern, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, and Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children’s. “Some of their studies show promise for improving treatment of specific pediatric illnesses or reveal previously unknown causes underlying serious pediatric diseases.”

Pediatric kidney disease is one area of investigational focus by the trainees. Dr. Shweta Shah presented her research on a simple ultrasound procedure that offers the same accuracy and detection as a standard but invasive procedure to detect urine reflux problems in children with multicystic dysplastic kidney disease. Dr. Sheena Sharma, in collaboration with Stony Brook specialists and a team of international nephrologists, reported a novel use of plasmapharesis in a pediatric patient to achieve remission of Dense Deposit Disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause end-stage renal disease.

Another central focus of research by the Stony Brook Pediatric trainees are studies on how particular viruses cause or contribute to the development of cancers. Dr. Joyce Hui-Yuen has studied how Epstein Barr Virus, which can cause mononucleosis and certain liver tumors, can evade a cell’s normal checkpoints and cause infected cells to proliferate uncontrollably, eventually leading to tumor formation. Dr. Shane McAllister shared his discovery of a diagnostic pattern that can distinguish viral infections leading to infectious mononucleosis from those that result from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The potential of this finding offers the possibility of predictive biomarkers to diagnose Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and project its response to chemotherapy.

Dr. Hui-Yuen won the award for the best resident presentation. Dr. McAllister won the honor for the best fellow presentation.

During the upcoming 2012-13 academic year, all Pediatric residents and fellows will continue to conduct basic, clinical, and/or translational research as an integral part of their departmental training at Stony Brook Children’s. This training involves mentored research with three overarching goals: enhance trainees’ understanding of pediatric diseases, reinforce the proper methods of scientific investigation, and provide each individual with the skills to understand and objectively evaluate existing knowledge.

About Stony Brook University School of Medicine:
Established in 1971, the Stony Brook University School of Medicine includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease, train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians, and deliver word-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and over 480 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world class medical care through more than 30,000 inpatient, 80,000 emergency room, and approximately 350,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit www.medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

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© Stony Brook University 2012