2019 Pinn Scholars Award Recipients


Congratulations for two scientists from the CHRC for being the 2019 recipients of the Pinn Scholars Award.

Pinn Scholars are selected on the basis of their scientific expertise and contributions to the School of Medicine and to the greater research community. Pinn Scholars are expected to develop a new project or direction in their research and share their results at an annual symposium.

Maria Luisa S. Sequeira Lopez, MD
Project:The fate of renin and renin progenitor cells in the bone marrow

Mazhar Adli, PhD
Project:Identifying synthetic lethal partners of recurrent cancers mutations through massively parallel combinatorial double knockout genetic screens

Dean’s Office Blog Announcement:

The 2019 Pinn Scholars Are …

For more information pertaining to the Pinn Scholars Award, visit the official site.

Funding Opportunity: Pinn Scholars Program

3rd Annual Betsy and Stuart Houston Lecture



The Betsy and Stuart Houston Lecture



Klaus Rajewsky, M.D.
Professor & Senior Group Leader Immune Regulation & Cancer,
Max Delbrück Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin­Buch, Germany


“Targeted mutagenesis and gene repair in modeling and controlling human lymphoid disorders”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
4 PM

Claude Moore Medical Education Auditorium Rm. 3110
(Overflow seating available in Pinn Hall Auditorium)


Dr. Klaus Rajewsky is the head of the Immune Regulation and Cancer Group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of B cell development and function, and the mechanisms underlying B cell lymphomas. His current work continues to focus on better understanding B cell cancers and identifying ways to address them. In recognition of his work, he received numerous prestigious awards including: the 1977 Avery Landsteiner Award; the 1994 Humboldt Research Award; the 1996 Max-Plank Research Award; the 1997 Körber Prize for European Science; the 2007 Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology; the 2009 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology; the 2009 Max Delbrück Medal; the 2010 Ernst Jung Medal for Medicine; the 2011 Johann Georg Zimmerman Medal; the 2013 José Carreras Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


2018 Maddy Deal Grant Recipients

Let’s congratulate our recent Maddy Deal recipients for 2018

Dr. Rebecca Scharf for “Novel Systems to Assess Treatment Efficacy in Childhood Neuromuscular Disease.

The goal of this research is to find a novel, multi-model paradigm of measuring motor function in children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Currently, outcome measures are imprecise and much time is needed to see changes. We seek to create more precise and sensitive measures of upper extremity function in children with severe weakness so that clinical trials may more quickly in evaluating life-saving treatments.

Dr. Fernando Ruiz for “Development of novel engineered probiotics for mucosal therapy of IBD.”

We have recently shown that a class of serine proteases (C2S) produced by pathogenic and some commensal E. coli possess immunomodulatory properties. C2S impair cell signaling by binding and cleavage of a broad spectrum of O-linked glycoproteins implicated in malignancy and inflammation, and which are expressed on the mucosal epithelium and in virtually all cells of the hematopoietic lineage. This project investigates the potential use of C2S to suppress undesired, exaggerated immune responses in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), using probiotic and commensal E. coli strains; aimed to develop an effective, safer and economic alternative for site-directed amelioration of intestinal inflammation.

30th Annual Research Symposium

The PCEN in conjunction with the CHRC sponsored and organized the 30th Annual Research Day Symposium that took place at UVA on May 31th 2018. This symposium offered an outstanding presentation of Pediatrics’ trainees and faculty mentors’ research. Dr. Norman D. Rosenblum MD, FRCPC (Professor of Pediatrics, Physiology, and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and a Pediatric Nephrologist and Senior Scientist in the Research Institute, the Hospital for Sick Children) was the Keynote Speaker this year. The title of his presentation was “Kidney-Urinary Tract Malformation: Translating Developmental Genetics and Genomics to Make a Difference for Children”. A poster session was held to give presenters the opportunity to display, interact and discuss their research. Among the presenters were two former PCEN Summer Students: Robert Paxton and Jessica Hoy. A very dynamic and enlightening small group discussion about “Developing a Career as a Clinical Translational Scientist in Pediatrics:

A Dialogue”, was led by Dr. Rosenblum.

The PCEN continues to pursue collaborations with the broader research community to advance its goals. A collaboration with Dr. Aron Geurts during his recent visit was established to develop a mouse model for inducible deletion of renin. This model will be a very valuable resource for studies conducted at the center.

Plans for the next funding period

  • The Center will continue to provide research exposure, training and mentorship to college students, graduate students, and medical students and fellows interested in pediatric nephrology research.
  • The PCEN plans to support four new students during the summer of 2018: two at the University of Virginia and two at Tulane University mentored by Dr. Samir El-Dahr and Dr. Zubaida Saifudeen.
  • The PCEN will continue its program of seminars given throughout the year and will participate in the organization of the UVA Children’s Hospital Annual Research Symposium and Trainee Competition.
  • The PCEN, along with the CHRC, will host the Betsy and Stuart Houston Lecture at UVA in November of 2018. The speaker will be Dr. Klaus Rajewsky from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. Dr. Rajewsky is an immunologist renowned for his extensive work on B cells.
  • Hiroko Nishimura plans to return for another sabattical next year to continue with her work on kidney development in birds.

Please look through our Gallery attached and see the highlights.

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Also, part of the festivities of Research Day, is the announcement and discussions held by our winners.

Congratulations to our Winners!

 2018 Kendig Award Winners:

Sarah Miller, MD

Lauren K. Wood Heickman, MD.

Research Trainee Competition Winners:

Wilson A. Vasconez, MDBasic Research Trainee, “Renin-expressing lymphocytes defend against bacterial pathogens”

Joseph Mechak, MD, Chief Pediatric Resident, “Oral Case Presentations: Resident Ramblings to Professional Patient Presentations”

Julia K. Sohn, MD, Pediatric Allergy & Immunology Fellow, “Elevated IgG4 Responses to Milk Proteins in Pediatric Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Comparison by Age, Sex and Dairy Consumption”

Andy Ford Award:

The 2018 Andy Ford Award goes to Jamie N. Colombo, MD.

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29th Annual Research Symposium

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Our 29th Annual Research Symposium took place on Thursday, May 27, 2017. The research day offers an excellent opportunity for faculty and staff of the CHRC to present the ground-breaking research that they undertake. Following the poster presentations, the trainee competition awards were given to Corrie Alonzo, Florencia Martinez and Sarah Miller for their outstanding work this past year, and Alice Hoyt received the Kendig Award for 2017. Dr. William G Teague was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Pediatric Science. The day concluded with a small-group discussion led by this year’s keynote speaker, Patricio E. Ray, MD, a professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and The Children’s National Health System. Dr. Ray is renowned for establishing one the first pediatric nephrology research programs in the country to study the pathogenesis of HIV-associated renal diseases, and, in particular, for his work on the elucidation of the mechanisms by which HIV-1 induces renal injury in children. His talk, entitled “The challenges of becoming a translational research scientist in the next decade” was extremely productive and we were honored to have him speak at one of our principal annual events. Congratulations to all of our faculty and staff for the prestigious work they have done, and continue to do, in clinical, translational, and basic science research throughout the medical community.

NBC 29 Featured Article

29th Annual Research Symposium Program

28th Annual Research Symposium

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Our 28th Annual Research Day Symposium offered an outstanding presentation of the scholarly assembly of Pediatrics’ trainees and faculty mentors’ research. The day commenced with an excellent presentation by our keynote speaker, Alessio Fasano, MD, W. Allan Walker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Mass General Hospital for Children. The poster session was held in the lobby of the Battle Building and gave presenters the opportunity to display, interact and discuss their research.  Our award presentations included 3 winners from the trainee competition: Maria Florencia Martinez, Erika Rhone and Sarah Miller and the Kendig Awardee Matt Harer.  Dr. John Kattwinkel received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Science and Dr. James Nataro, Benjamin A. Shepherd Professor & Chair of Pediatrics, was awarded a Jefferson cup in recognition of his outstanding leadership.  A very dynamic and enlightening small group discussion about how to choose the right mentor, led by Dr. Fasano, concluded the activities of the day.

View the story on our Research Day by CBS 19 NewsPlex →