Neurology

A note from Neurologist-in-Chief Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhD

Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhDDear colleagues:

A quick note to fill you in on Neurology news since last summer. Feel free to reach out with your thoughts and inquiries.

Save the date: Translational Neuroscience Center Symposium, April 23, 2019

Boston Children’s Translational Neuroscience Center is hosting its next annual symposium, this year entitled “Research Paving the Way for Clinical Trial Success.” Launched in 2013, the TNC unites collaborators in Developmental Medicine, Genetics and Genomics, Neurology, Neurobiology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry to accelerate translation of scientific discoveries into effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pediatric nervous system disorders. Confirmed speakers include:

The venue will be Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center. For more information, email tnc@childrens.harvard.edu. We hope you can attend.

Bridging science with advocacy

As you may recall from our summer update, we recently celebrated 50th anniversary of IDDRC, with renowned speakers from all walks of neurobiology. That event also opened up an exciting opportunity to build bridges between academia and the advocacy community. At the IDDRC Directors’ annual meeting a week later, we affirmed our commitment to work with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the national network of Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs.

As chair of the IDDRC Directors committee and a newly elected board member of AUCD, I feel personally invested in this endeavor. We share a common goal: improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you’d like to join this effort, I invite you to contact me.

Faculty news

Christopher M. Elitt, MD, PhD has received the 2019 Child Neurology Society Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award, which will support his research on the cellular mechanisms of brain injury in premature infants and the development of novel therapies.

Chris completed his residency in Child Neurology here in 2013, and a fellowship in Fetal-Neonatal Neurology with Janet Soul, MD in 2015. But his work in child neurology really began as an undergraduate at Brown. Chris came here to do his undergraduate honors thesis, motivated by his younger brother’s perinatal brain injury and the challenges he has faced. So it’s fitting that this award recognizes a life-long commitment to child neurology, patient care and humanism in medicine.

Judith Steen, PhD, director of the Neuroproteomics laboratory in the F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, has been awarded a U01grant from NINDS together with Columbia University and the Mayo Clinic. The study will focus primarily on tau, the major dysfunctional protein in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as TDP43, a protein involved in frontotemporal dementias and ALS. Steen will investigate the chemical changes tau and TDP43 undergo in disease states, applying a molecular method developed in her lab to brain tissue from patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Zhigang He, PhD, BM is leading a study, sponsored by Xintrum Pharmaceuticals, to develop a biologic drug or gene therapy approach for CNS injury. The work builds on He’s 2017 discovery that genetic manipulation to over-express osteopontin and insulin-like growth factor 1 could sensitize mature, non-regenerative neurons to growth factors.

Michela Fagiolini, PhD, who studies Rett syndrome, is partnering with Relmada Therapeutics to test a drug that modulates NMDA-receptor signaling. Michela has shown, in a mouse model of Rett, that this receptor is involved in the regression of visual function and other pathology seen in patients. The goal is to advance the preclinical development of the drug for Rett.

Thanks for tuning in. I hope to see some of you in April, and to all a happy new year!

Sincerely yours,

Scott L. Pomeroy, MD, PhD, FAAP

Scott Pomeroy

Neurologist-in-Chief
617-355-6386
scott.pomeroy@childrens.harvard.edu