Neurology

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

Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhD

Dear colleagues:

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

150 years of innovation

This year, Boston Children’s Hospital turns 150 years old and throughout the year we’re celebrating this milestone with special events for our families, faculty and staff and partners. I’m proud to be a part of a legacy of scientific discovery in neuroscience that dates back to the establishment of the first dedicated space for child neurology at a U.S. children’s hospital in 1929 by the venerable Bronson Crothers, MD, and the first pediatric seizure unit in 1944, under the direction of William Lenox, MD.

Boston Children’s neuroscientists, some of whom are mentioned below, continue this proud tradition through the largest hospital-based neuroscience research enterprise in the U.S., with the goal of creating better treatments for neurologic disease. Learn more about the history of neurology at Boston Children’s and our 150th celebration.

Save the date: Translational Neuroscience Center’s Neurodevelopmental Disorders Symposium, November 15, 2019

The Translational Neuroscience Center (TNC), in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will host the fifth and final Neurodevelopmental Disorders Symposium entitled “A Collaborative Path Forward in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” Sponsored by the Anne and Paul Marcus Family Foundation, the symposium will highlight the groundbreaking work in autism that has come out of Boston-based collaborations and set the stage for the future of autism research in our community. The event co-chairs are Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Mriganka Sur, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The keynote address will be given by Joseph Buxbaum, PhD of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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

Faculty News

Clifford Woolf, MB, BCh, PhD, director of the F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, addresses the need for effective non-addictive pain treatments in Harvard Magazine's The Opioids Emergency. He is also a founding member, along with Bruce Bean, PhD of Harvard Medical School, of the new biotech company Nocion. The company is initially based on innovations developed through academic research led by through Woolf and Bean, which identified a novel class of sodium channel inhibitors that can selectively inhibit active sensory neurons responding to external insult. The company was profiled in a recent news article, How one company thinks unraveling cough can provide a new way to treat pain.

Todd E. Anthony, PhD, research associate in Neurology, was awarded an NIH/NIMH R01 for his project entitled “Genetic dissection of lateral septal circuitry that controls stress-induced persistent anxiety states.” The project builds on Anthony’s work in determining the neural and molecular substrates responsible for the induction and persistence of negatively valenced affective states brought on by traumatic experience.

Chinfei Chen, MD, PhD, research associate in Neurology, and Mark Andermann, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, were awarded a multi-PI NIH/NEI R21 grant. The goal of this research is to test whether the function of distinct retinal ganglion cell types are differentially modulated in the visual thalamus depending on behavioral state. Chen also received funding from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative through a grant that supports imaging scientists employed in imaging centers at non-profit universities or university-affiliated research institutes within the United States.

Michael Crickmore, PhD, research associate in Neurology, was awarded an NIH/NINDS R01 grant for a project which aims to develop a new system and new tools for understanding the molecular and circuit bases of interval time as it relates to motivation.

Zhigang He, PhD, BM, research associate in Neurology, received an R01 grant from the NIH/NINDS. The goal of the project is to develop KCC2-based strategies to reactivate dormant relay pathways in injured spinal cord and promote functional recovery. Dr. He also received R01 grant from the NIH/NEI for a project to use newly developed CRISPR/Cas9-technology to identify novel regulators of neuronal survival and axon regeneration.

Thomas Schwarz, PhD, senior associate in Neurology, was awarded grants from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to support the following projects: “Mitochondrial Transport Defects as a Potential Biomarker in Patient-Derived Cells” and “Small Molecules to Promote Mitochondrial Transport in Dopaminergic Neurons for Parkinson's Therapy.” 

Lastly, Mary Whitman, MD, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in the Engle laboratory, received a 2019 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. This award supports clinician-scientists presenting significant research at The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO) annual meeting.

Thanks for your time and attention. I look forward to seeing everyone at CNS’s 48th Annual Meeting in October.

Sincerely yours,

Scott L. Pomeroy, MD, PhD, FAAP

Scott Pomeroy

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