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​​Janu​ary 2016 E-Newsletter

Department of Pediatrics eNews
January 2016 

Message from the Chair

Dear Department Faculty, Clinicians, Researchers, and Staff,

I'm happy to report that the Department Faculty and MSP Physicians recently gathered for our bi-annual meeting. We had a terrific turnout of about 70 clinicians and researchers. I presented on the "State of the Department," while Vice-Chairs Sawyer and Gahagan presented on "Education and Teaching" and "Faculty Development and Mentoring," respectively. Later, we fielded questions from those in attendance. It was a productive and positive meeting, and we look forward to another in six months!

With 2015 coming to a close, I wish to thank each of you for your valuable contributions to working towards our mission of "providing excellent clinical care,  developing new technologies, and incorporating cutting-edge research." You each add your own important piece to all that we accomplish as a department, and I am grateful. I wish you and your family and dear ones all the best in 2016! 
Looking ahead,

Gabriel G. Haddad, MD
Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosciences
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego
Physician-in-Chief, Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego

Please welcome our new faculty appointees and MSP physicians who have newly approved appointments or start dates with the Department of Pediatrics in November and December, 2015:

VC Clinical Research Corner                   
Tina Chambers, PhD, Vice Chair, Clinical Research 
& Christina Moran, Director, Research Administration
Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego

Who Is Doing What? - 138 investigators at RCHSD are conducting 514 active studies that have Institutional Review Board approval. Want to know more? With your RCHSD username and Intranet access, you can see the titles of research projects your colleagues are involved in, and you can check on the status of your own projects. Here's how:  
  • Go to the Research landing page
  • Note: These URLS will only work from a Rady Network computer
  • Look for these 2 buttons:
  • Search for a study" - view lists of projects in the Research Administration database
  • See My Projects" - view projects for which you are the Principal Investigator. You can also view the Institutional Review Board #, EPIC research # & PeopleSoft #.
 UCSD Institutional Review Board (IRB) News 
Questions about RCHSD Research Procedures, Policies, and Services? Contact the Research Administration Help Desk.
Division Highlight:  Neonatology Names NICU Director  
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Erika Fernandez has been appointed director of the UC San Diego Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Dr. Fernandez will report to Patty Maysent and Dr. Lance Prince, Division Chief, Neonatology, in partnership with Marie Webber, Chief Administrative Officer, women and infants, psychiatry, and ophthalmology services. Dr. Fernandez will also be a member of the Women and Infants Clinical Program Council. In her new role, Dr. Fernandez will oversee the clinical care of the NICU including clinical quality, operations, volume and financial performance, and the operating and capital budget in conjunction with appropriate UC San Diego Health executives.  She will also direct the movement of the service from Hillcrest to Jacobs Medical Center over the next year. This includes transition planning, process improvements, staffing requirements, faculty requirements and capital equipment needs. Dr. Fernandez joined UC San Diego Health in 2014 as interim director of the NICU and has distinguished herself as a clinical leader. Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Dr. Fernandez was an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, where she also completed medical school, pediatric residency, and neonatology fellowship. She brings a wealth of leadership experience to her position that will help ensure the success of UC San Diego Health's NICU and support our mission to be at the forefront of clinical care and research. With a strong background in clinical research, which includes conducting multicenter studies and serving on the University of New Mexico Human Institutional Review Board, Dr. Fernandez is a recognized expert in her field and frequent lecturer, nationally and internationally. She has chaired neonatology conferences, published numerous articles, and is a council member for the Western Society for Pediatric Research. Additionally, Dr. Fernandez is a member of the Society of Pediatric Research, and is a reviewer/moderator for the national research conference (PAS). She has also been an active member of societies and communities aimed at advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Throughout her career, Dr. Fernandez has worked on policies, procedures and guidelines. Since starting at UC San Diego Health, she has been instrumental in pathway and policy revision, as well as collaboratively leading the NICU preparations for the move to Jacobs Medical Center. As Director of UC San Diego Health NICU, Dr. Fernandez aims to continue providing the best possible care to our newborn babies and their families. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Fernandez and supporting her in this role!
Tariq Rana, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and member  of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego was recently named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Rana was cited for "distinguished contributions to the field of chemical biology, particularly using chemistry to study RNA regulation and gene silencing to treat human disease." Earlier this year, Rana received a $2.5 million Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to create stem cell-derived "mini-brains" to study neurological disorders caused by HIV and methamphetamine use. Congratulations, Dr. Rana!  
Kate McDevitt (at right), a Senior Community Health Program Representative with the Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Child Development & Community Health out of their City Height's San  Diego office has been selected to serve on the UC Global Food Initiative - Food Literacy Committee at University of California Office of the President in Oakland, CA. Congratulations to Kate for being selected! 

The 2015 Ed Quigley Clinical Research Symposium Promotes Research Innovations 

On November 5, Rady Children's Hospital hosted the 2015 Ed Quigley Clinical Research Symposium which boasted participation of over 175 attendees and over 75 presenters. Guests included graduate students, residents, health care professionals and researchers from Rady Children's and UCSD. The Symposium featured world-renowned keynote speaker Stephen Scherer, PhD, FRSC, Endowed Chair in Genome Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline-Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and Director of the McLaughlin Centre at the University of Toronto (pictured at right). Dr. Scherer's presentation, "A Genomic Basis for Autism Spectrum- and Related- Disorders", filled the Acute Care Pavilion basement conference room. His knowledge and enthusiasm enchanted the audience for the entirety of his presentation.
The keynote address was followed by the announcement of Nurse Joan Pancheri as the winner of the Ed Quigley Clinical Research Award and a $1,000 cash prize. An oral presentation on building a natural language processing tool to identify patients with high clinical suspicion for Kawasaki Disease from Emergency Department notes was then given by the best abstract award winner Juan D. Chaparro, MD. This presentation was followed by a poster presentation session where researchers showcased their scholarly activity. Research presented was comprised of topics pertaining to clinical research, epidemiology, public health, and health education.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered and participated to make this years' Ed Quigley Clinical Research Symposium a success and a special thanks to the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute for their generous financial support.

Drug to Potentially Treat Huntington's Disease Discovered
Currently, there is no treatment to halt the progression of Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal genetic disorder that slowly robs sufferers of their physical and mental abilities. Now researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that an existing compound, previously tested for diabetes, offers hope for slowing HD and its symptoms. The study was published in the December 7, 2015 online issue of Nature Medicine. "We're very excited by our pre-clinical testing of this compound (KD3010)," said Albert La Spada, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, cellular and molecular medicine and neurosciences in the UC San Diego School of Medicine (pictured at right). "It improved motor function, reduced neurodegeneration and increased survival in a mouse model of Huntington's disease and reduced toxicity in neurons generated from human HD stem cells. "La Spada said these findings are particularly notable because the drug was well-tolerated by participants in a Phase Ib clinical trial for diabetes, conducted in 2006, by a now-defunct biotech company.
"We have a drug that was FDA approved for human use in a clinical trial. It did not produce any significant side effects. This means it has a good safety profile and so likely can be moved into testing in Huntington's patients much more quickly than compounds that have not been tested in humans. This is important since right now there is zero that can be done to alter the progression of this devastating disease." La Spada's discovery of the drug's potential in HD builds upon more than a decade of research into the disorder's underlying molecular pathology. Much of that work has centered on misfolded proteins, which are known to be key culprits in HD and several other neurodegenerative diseases. To read the full story, click here. 

15 Tips For the Grantwriter" 
by Jouni Vesa, PhD
The new grant cycle begins in January, so now is a good time to begin drafting your research proposals for upcoming deadlines. Below are 15 tips you should keep in mind before you start, and during, the writing process:
  1. Start working on time (watch those deadlines!, and allow extra time). 
  2. Read the application instructions carefully.
  3. Review the literature and cite relevant publications.
  4. Put together a research team which has experience and expertise in all proposed research fields.
  5. Propose scientifically/clinically important and innovative research.
  6. Do not propose an unrealistically large amount of work.
  7. Do not assume the reviewer knows what you intend to do; be clear in explaining what you mean.
  8. Proposed aims should not depend on the success of other aims.
  9. The specific aims page must match the rest of the application.
  10. Write a reader-friendly application by avoiding jargon and excessive language.
  11. Emphasize your past productivity and how your previous work has led up to the hypothesis to be tested.
  12. Explain in detail experimental elements that are essential to the proposed research, and be brief with elements that are common and well-known.
  13. Include statistical support for sample size calculations and statistical analyses.
  14. Give enough time for your collaborators to write letters. 
  15. Make sure your collaborators have enough time to read the application before submission. 

Happy proposal writing, and best of luck! 

Sunday, April 10, 9 a.m - 20th annual Triton 5K & Festival at UCSD. Registration opens in  January. To join "Team Peds", email Sylvia Isaac.  
Friday, April 22, 2016 - Department of Pediatrics Research Symposium -  Sanford Consortium, Roth Auditorium 

Happy 2016 from  Pediatric Business Services!  

Pediatric Business Services Administrators and Staff: Alex Alves, Tom Avey, Truc Dang, Michelle De Guire, Adam Fisher, Kevin Hawley, Sylvia Isaac, Melanie Marshall, Rahim Mohammady, Kyle Nakanishi, Shirley Orpilla, Greg Pittman, Fred Poulsen, Elizabeth Quepons, Nina Vo, and Aditi Zaveri.
Health Sciences Grant Funding Opportunities 
The Health Sciences Research Grant Committee is soliciting applications for grant funding for travel to scholarly meetings and for research support for funds. For additional information on both opportunities, visit the corresponding hyperlinks. 
Poster Printing Source A faculty member shared the name of an affordable local source for large poster printing. To learn more, visit SoCal Graphics' website.
Pediatric Grand Rounds 2015-16 Schedule   
To view the schedule, click here. 
UCSD Vendor Policy  
Especially at this time of seasonal gift giving, be aware of possible conflicts of interests. Be careful to not accept gifts, meals, free items or perks from UCSD vendors. To read the policy, click here.
Reminder: Release Time for UCSD Faculty to Teach at Perdana University 
UCSD faculty/physicians may request release time to teach at Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Malaysia, though UCSD's Health Sciences International Center. Requests should be routed through the Division Chief for approval, and then to Dr. Haddad, with copy to Michelle De Guire. Note that the request must be cost neutral to the division and department. To read more about the program, click here.
E-News Issues 
To view past or current issues of the Pediatrics e-News, here.  
Upcoming Issues
Send your story suggestions and news to Melanie Marshall ( for possible inclusion in an upcoming edition of Pediatric e-News.