Cardiac Center Awards Innovation in Research and Clinical Care

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At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), innovation happens every day. Each year, the Cardiac Center celebrates innovation by inviting clinicians, scientists, psychologists and other team members to propose projects that will advance research and patient care in the Cardiac Center.

On Innovation Day, January 8, 2022, the six projects awarded funding answered this invitation with proposals aiming to increase scientific knowledge and advance therapeutics for pediatric heart disease. Innovation Awards are funded through CHOP’s Philly Spin-In, an annual, team-cycling fundraising event benefiting cardiac research and care.

Understanding Brain Injury in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

Constantine Mavroudis, MD; William Gaynor, MD; Daniel Licht, MD; and Todd Kilbaugh, MD, received the Innovation award for their proposal, Mitochondrial-targeted Diagnostics and Therapeutics in a Swine Model of Cardiac Surgery and Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest. This bench research project aims to determine mitochondrial injury impacting neurological harm and assess the effect of cyclosporin-A to reverse neurological symptoms. The project’s expected outcome is a greater understanding of brain injury in pediatric cardiac surgery.

Developmental Care for Families of Children with CHD

Lyla Hampton, PhD; Alison Burnham, MD; and Amanda Shillingford, MD, were awarded the Innovation grant for their proposal, Promoting Engagement, Advocacy and Access to Developmental Care for Families of Children with Congenital Heart Disease. This project will leverage technological advances to expand CHOP’s Cardiac Kids Developmental Follow-up Program (CKDP), including further development of educational content and family learning programs.

Understanding Genetic Factors that Contribute to CHD

Betsy Goldmunts, MD; Mark Fogel, MD; and Walter Wichtesey, PhD, received the Innovation award for their proposal, Machine Learning of Advanced Imaging-derived Phenotypes and Genomics for Clinical Outcomes Research in Congenital Heart Disease. This bench research project will develop automated techniques for the extraction of image-derived phenotypes using machine learning. The group aims to identify associations between myocardial disease, genetic variants and patient outcomes, with the ultimate goal of improving scientific understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to CHD.

Improving Fontan Circulation 

Ben Kozyak, MD; Katsuhide Maeda, MD, PhD; and Jordan Raney, MD, received the Innovation award for their proposal, Development of a Pulsatile Cavopulmonary Conduit Using Architected Materials and Soft Robotics. This translational research project aims to develop a novel, cavopulmonary pump with the potential to improve circulatory function in patients with single ventricle disease.

Leveraging 3D Analysis in Pediatric Systemic Semilunar Valve Repair

Matthew Jolley, MD; Lindsay Rogers, MD; Michael Quartermain, MD; David Biko, MD; and Kevin Whitehead, MD received the Innovation award for their proposal, Quantitative 3D Analysis to Inform System Semilunar Valve (SSV) Repair in Children. This clinical research project aims to create and apply semi-automatic, multi-modality, 3D-image-derived modeling tools for the visualization, quantification and planning of surgical repair in pediatric systemic semilunar valves.

Expanding Knowledge of Pulmonary Vein Stenosis

David Frank, MD; Jonathan Rome, MD; and Katsuhide Maeda, MD, PhD, received the Innovation award for their proposal, Leveraging an Omics Approach for the Discovery of Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies for Pulmonary Vein Stenosis (PVS). This bench research project will expand existing knowledge of PVS by identifying molecular mechanisms orchestrating disease mechanisms early in the disease, rather than end stage, and provide novel therapies for PVS treatment.

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