Read biographies of the CHOP physicians and scientists speaking at this year's conference.
Steven M. Altschuler, MD, is the chief executive officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest hospital dedicated to the care of sick children. Children’s Hospital’s Board of Trustees elected him to his position in April 2000 after an intensive international search. Prior to assuming this role, he was the Physician-in-Chief and the first holder of the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
A world leader in patient care, education and research, the multispecialty Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive pediatric services, including home care, to children from before birth through age 19. Children’s Hospital is one of only 12 pediatric hospitals named to U.S.News & World Report’s elite Honor Roll for 2012-13, and received the magazine’s highest overall ranking among pediatric hospitals for eight of the past nine years. Home to one of the country’s largest pediatric research programs, Children’s Hospital is among the nation’s best-funded pediatric research institutions. It is the pediatric teaching site for the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, although it is autonomous medically, administratively and financially. During his more than two decades at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Altschuler served as a physician-investigator, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and the Hospital’s Physician-in-Chief.
Dr. Altschuler received his BA in mathematics and his MD from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. His pediatric internship and residency were taken at Children’s Hospital Medical Center-Boston, and he completed fellowship training in Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1985 to 2000, he was a faculty member of the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a frequent guest lecturer locally, nationally and internationally, a study section reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, a scientific journal reviewer, and the author or co-author of more than 90 scientific articles, books and abstracts. Currently, Dr. Altschuler serves on the boards of Mead Johnson Nutrition, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the Free Library of Philadelphia, University HealthSystem Consortium, The Healthcare Institute and the GAVI Alliance Campaign.
Rochelle Bagatell, MD, is a pediatric oncologist with expertise in the care of children with solid tumors. She has a particular interest in the treatment of patients with sarcomas and neuroblastoma, and co-directs the solid tumor program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Current treatment regimens are effective for many children diagnosed with solid tumors in childhood, and the collaborative approach taken at Children's Hospital allows patients to benefit from the expertise of surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, nutritionists and other specialists who work together to provide state-of-the-art care for patients. The solid tumor team is committed to optimizing the effectiveness of current therapies while trying to minimize the side effects of treatment.
This group is also committed to developing new treatments for childhood solid tumors. As a member of Children's Hospital’s oncology developmental therapeutics team, Dr. Bagatell is involved in research studies (clinical trials) of new agents for patients whose cancers don't respond to initial or established treatments. She and colleagues conduct research trials that provide patients access to the newest anticancer medications. The team studies novel treatments that haven't previously been administered to children. These trials permit better understanding of how to use new treatments in the most effective way. The team is currently expanding the number of new agent trials available to patients, and collaborates with colleagues from around the region and nation in efforts to advance the field.
While there are tremendous challenges inherent in the pursuit of new treatments, the solid tumor and developmental therapeutics teams have the opportunity to build upon the expertise at Children’s Hospital to develop newer, less toxic treatments for childhood cancer. Dr. Bagatell’s highest priority is to make innovative treatments available to the children who need them.
Diva D. De León Crutchlow, MD, is an Attending Physician in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in the diagnosis and management of monogenic disorders of insulin regulation resulting in diabetes and hypoglycemia. She is a member of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Hyperinsulinism Center, one of few centers worldwide with the knowledge and capability to cure hyperinsulinism.
Dr. De León Crutchlow is a physician-scientist with a research interest in disorders of carbohydrate metabolism in children. Her research program focuses on the interactions between gut hormones and pancreatic beta cell function. She is particularly interested in the interaction between glucagon-like peptide-1 and the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in the pathogenesis of diabetes, and disorders of excessive insulin secretion such as congenital hyperinsulinism. Her aim is to improve understanding of these disorders with the goal of developing effective and innovative therapies. She has published numerous papers in prestigious scientific medical journals, including The Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes and Clinical Genetics.
As the Medical Director of International Patient Services at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Rodney Finalle, MD, leads a team that facilitates care from CHOP’s world-renowned specialists and programs for children the world over. He focuses every effort on making the experience of coming to Philadelphia for care as seamless and comfortable as possible. Dr. Finalle and his team are committed to building relationships with referring physicians, healthcare systems, governments, insurance providers and international organizations that wish to assist children seeking exceptional medical care at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Finalle supports many of the international initiatives within the International Medicine Department at CHOP including collaborations in Latin America and the Middle East.
Dr. Finalle’s distinguished career at Children’s Hospital as a clinician, educator and advocate for children’s health has been marked by a commitment to extend CHOP’s expertise and resources to patients far beyond Philadelphia. He also serves as the Director of Global Health at Children’s Hospital. In this position, Dr. Finalle oversees and provides leadership and guidance to the wide variety of Global Health activities throughout the institution including the Pincus Global Health Fellowship, the annual Global Health Symposium and the Global Health Allies program.
As a faculty member in the Division of General Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Finalle has many years of experience in pediatric medical education. He was the Founder and Executive Director of CHOP’s Alliance for International Medicine (CHOP-AIM) from 2004-2008. Dr. Finalle is a general pediatrician, and former Medical Director of the Children’s Hospital’s Primary Care Center at Cobb’s Creek in West Philadelphia. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) he serves on the AAP Section on International Child Health. Dr. Finalle was the former Clinical Director of Global Health Ministry where he guided and provided healthcare to children in underdeveloped nations of the Caribbean, Central and South America. He completed his pediatric training at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His international work has included extensive work in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
As an attending physician in the Cancer Center, the director of Translational Research of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research, and the director of the Stem Cell Laboratory, Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., takes on many roles at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But in each of them, he is a pediatric oncologist working to improve outcomes for children battling difficult cancers. He trained at Harvard at Boston Children’s and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and came to CHOP in 1996.
In one of his clinical roles, Dr. Grupp specializes in the most aggressive form of neuroblastoma, a difficult-to-treat childhood cancer that begins in the peripheral (non-brain) nerve tissue of infants and young children. He works alongside a world-class team of physicians and multidisciplinary specialists who are dedicated to treating this disease. The neuroblastoma team at CHOP does studies of the patients’ genetics and the unique characteristics of their diseases to offer a personalized treatment approach. The team was part of a group that did a nationwide clinical trial establishing antibody-based immunotherapy as the new standard of care in neuroblastoma.
What first brought Dr. Grupp to CHOP was the opportunity to conduct transplant and leukemia research, and work in CHOP’s intensely translational environment. Today, he runs a lab where the research is devoted to developing molecularly-targeted therapies and cell-based therapies to treat leukemia and solid tumors.
The goal of all of his work is to improve treatment options for children with cancer, not just at CHOP but across the U.S. Whether that’s accomplished by offering alternative therapies that are less toxic than today’s standards of care, or advanced treatments for high-risk disease that fight cancer in new and different ways, if his work impacts the standard of care, he considers that a success.
Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and associate professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He leads a $40 million commitment from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to genotype approximately 100,000 children, an initiative that has gained nationwide attention in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Time, Nature and Science magazines.
Dr. Hakonarson has previously held several senior posts within the biopharmaceutical industry, directing a number of genomics and pharmacogenomics projects as vice president of Clinical Sciences and Development at deCODE genetics Inc. Dr. Hakonarson has been the principal investigator (PI) on several National Institutes of Health-sponsored grants, and is currently co-PI on Neurodevelopmental Genomics: Trajectories of Complex Phenotypes, the largest project ever supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. He has published numerous high-impact papers on genomic discoveries and their translations in some of the most prestigious scientific medical journals, including Nature, Nature Genetics and The New England Journal of Medicine.
Time magazine listed Dr. Hakonarson’s autism gene discovery project, reported in Nature in 2009, among the top 10 medical breakthroughs of that year. With more than 12 years of experience in pioneering genomics research and genome-wide mapping and association studies, Dr. Hakonarson has intimate knowledge of the complexities of large-scale genomics projects and has put together the necessary infrastructure and workflow processes to unravel these complexities.
Fred M. Henretig, MD, is Director of the Section of Clinical Toxicology and Associate Medical Director of the Poison Control Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He has more than 35 years experience in academic pediatric emergency medicine and medical toxicology.
Dr. Henretig participated in the founding of Philadelphia’s regional poison control center in 1985, and then served as its medical director until 2005. His scholarly interests include general pediatric emergency medicine and related procedures, as well as a focus on pediatric toxicology, adolescent substance abuse and environmental health hazards. He is a senior editor of four textbooks, and has authored or co-authored 52 original articles and 91 textbook chapters and review articles.
Dr. Henretig served on the Board of Directors of the American College of Medical Toxicology, and represented the American Academy of Pediatrics on the sub-board of Medical Toxicology, which he chaired in 2000. In recent years, he also has become involved in disaster preparedness and education, particularly in the context of chemical threats, and has served in this context on several committees and workgroups of the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, the National Institutes of Health and related federal agencies. He has also participated clinically on medical disaster relief teams responding to New York City on 9/11/2001, Banda Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami, New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Haiti after the 2010 devastating earthquake.
As Director of the Virology Laboratory at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Richard L. Hodinka, Ph.D., is responsible for the overall administrative and technical operation and regulatory compliance of the laboratory, and provides day-to-day supervision and mentoring of testing personnel to ensure the quality and proper performance and reporting of patient-related virology testing services. Dr. Hodinka also provides consultation to physicians and other healthcare providers about patient testing. Teaching/mentoring of infectious disease fellows, pathology residents, medical students, medical technologists, and visiting scientists are also integral components of his position.
Dr. Hodinka’s area of laboratory expertise is in clinical virology, including molecular detection and quantification of viruses, conventional tube and rapid culture-based virus detection systems, tissue culture techniques, rapid immunofluoresence and solid-phase immunoassays for viral antigen detection, and HIV, hepatitis and other viral serological methods. Viruses and other microorganisms of interest include HIV, respiratory viruses, herpesviruses, enteric viruses, enteroviruses, hepatitis viruses, parvovirus B19, BK virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Ken Kazahaya, MD, MBA, is Associate Director of the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Director of Pediatric Skull Base Surgery, Medical Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, and Co-Lead Surgeon in the Pediatric Thyroid Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also has an appointment as Associate Professor of Clinical Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Kazahaya specializes in otology, cochlear implantation, skull base surgery, thyroid surgery, pediatric head and neck oncology, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has been named by U.S.News and World Report as a Top Pediatric ENT-Otolaryngologist and, within this list, as an American Top Doctor in 2011. He also been named as a Top Doctor by Philadelphia magazine from 2007–2011 and by Castle Connolly from 2009–2011, and has received multiple citations by Philadelphia region periodicals as a top physician. He has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals and has been an invited lecturer nationally and internationally, including in Japan, Canada and Mexico.
Dr. Kazahaya is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), North American Skull Base Society, American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO), and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been appointed to committees in both AAO-HNS and ASPO.
Vinay M. Nadkarni, MD, is medical and research director of the Center for Simulation, Advanced Education and Innovation at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He holds the institution’s Endowed Chair in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and has been an international leader for development and implementation of critical care and resuscitation science in both resource-rich and resource-poor environments. He is regularly invited to lecture on these topics at leading academic centers around the world.
Dr. Nadkarni previously served as director of CHOP’s Pediatric Critical Care Medicine fellowship program, the first such program established in the world, and has mentored and trained more than 100 physicians, advanced practice nurses, post-doctorate fellows, and international trainees in the course of his career. The Center for Simulation, Advanced Education and Innovation at CHOP collaborates with scientists, engineers, industry and human factors specialists to develop state-of-the-art simulation techniques and simulators. The Center provides advanced training in highly-realistic simulated environments and consultation and training programs at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Dr. Nadkarni is an active and influential participant in the most renowned international societies and organizations in this field. For more than 20 years, he has volunteered with Operation Smile International to provide craniofacial surgical repair for more than 2,000 children in resource-limited settings. He serves on the Board of Directors of the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies, has chaired the American Heart Association’s International Committee, and currently is the chairman of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (which links the American Heart Association and resuscitation councils of Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and Africa).
David A. Piccoli is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University (1975) and Harvard Medical School (1979). He was a Resident from 1979 to 1982 and Chief Resident in Pediatrics from 1982-83 at the Children's Hospital, Boston. He completed his clinical and research Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from 1983 to 1986. He became training director, section chief and then division chief in 1996. He is also the Director of the Fred and Suzanne Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center and holds the Biesecker Professorship and Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Piccoli has been the Associate Chair for Information at the Department of Pediatrics at CHOP since 1996. During his tenure as Chief, the Division has nearly tripled in size, and has vastly expanded its clinical and research mission in gastrointestinal and nutritional disorders. At the same time, the Division has trained 100 fellows. Dr. Piccoli’s main areas of clinical and research interest are metabolic and genetic liver diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases. He is a member of the group that discovered Jagged1 and NOTCH2 as the causes of Alagille Syndrome. He has authored more than 90 papers, 40 chapters, 130 research abstracts and edited 4 books on areas of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.
Dr. Piccoli has received a number of awards from institutions for his clinical care, teaching, mentorship, research and work with charitable foundations. He has served on local and several national boards, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and the American Liver Foundation. Dr. Piccoli is currently actively involved in setting up the Lustgarten Center for Pediatric Motility Disorders at CHOP, and he is actively involved in the leadership of the obesity center.
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