Medical College, Children’s Hospital, BloodCenter receive $50,000 grant

A collaborative team of researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute, and BloodCenter of Wisconsin has received a one-year, $50,000 grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin to study genomic factors that impact necrotizing enterocolitis, a severe form of bowel disease that develops in 5 to 10 percent of premature infants and has a mortality rate of 25 to 40 percent.

Dr. Venkatesh Sampath, associate professor of pediatrics at MCW and a neonatologist at CHW, is the principal investigator for the grant. His collaborators include Pippa M. Simpson, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of division of quantitative health sciences at MCW; Dr. David Dimmock, associate professor of pediatrics (genetics) at MCW and a clinical geneticist at CHW; Dr. John M. Routes, professor and chief of asthma, allergy and immunology at MCW and a physician at CHW; and Denim Wang, Ph.D., the John B. and Judith A. Gardetto Chair for Cancer Research at BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

The primary goal of the project is to understand factors that cause the development of NEC so it can be predicted and prevented. Sampath and his team will sequence the SIGIRR gene, which appears to be related to NEC in premature infants, to establish the relationship between the gene and the disease. As a long-term goal, they hope to understand the relationship between the immune system and genetics that causes NEC in premature infants and to develop immune strategies to decrease NEC.

This is one of 13 pilot projects being funded in 2014 through CTSI. Support for the Pilot Award Program comes from the National Institutes of Health and the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment.

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