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Three from Pediatrics receive Colin's Kids Foundation awards

Friday, April 12, 2019
Duke Chapel

Three faculty members from the Department of Pediatrics have received Colin's Kids Foundation awards. The mission of Colin’s Kids Foundation is to provide funding to advance medical research related to congenital heart defects (CHDs) and to provide financial assistance to families struggling to obtain the best care for their children.

Recipients of Colin's Kids Foundation awards are listed below:

Andrew Landstrom, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology)
Award: Andrew King Research Award
Project title: Pediatric pluripotent stem cells as a model for post-operative arrhythmia in children after heart surgery

Research summary:
The Landstrom lab will be using funds from Colin’s Kids to create a cell model of an arrhythmia called JET, which is a fast heart beat that infants and children can get following heart surgery, and can be quite serious and occasionally be life-threatening. To do this, we will use a unique patient-based model from children who were born with JET to inform us about how this arrhythmia develops and how to treat it. We have taken blood from these children and created stem cells from this blood. We can then guide these stem cells to become heart cells which recapitulate JET. When we compare these stem cell derived-heart cells from children who have JET with those from healthy children, we hope to be able to learn more about the molecular changes that can cause JET.  This will be important for use to develop new and targeted therapies to cure the arrhythmia.

Elizabeth Thompson, MD
Pediatrics Resident, Level 3
Award: Colin Molloy Research Award
Mentor: Christoph Hornik, MD
Project title: Association between pre-operative caffeine exposure and post-cardiopulmonary bypass acute kidney injury in children with ductal dependent congenital heart disease using population pharmacokinetics

Research summary:
Acute kidney injury (AKI) affects as many as 25% of neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD) after undergoing cardiac surgery on cardiopulmonary bypass. Current treatment is mostly supportive. Caffeine has been shown to reduce the rate and severity of AKI in preterm neonates without CHD, but no studies have characterized caffeine dosing or its effect on AKI in the CHD population. Given this knowledge deficit and the potential impact of caffeine on AKI, our study aims to characterize the relationship between caffeine dosing, exposure, and the post-operative risk of AKI. We will first conduct a retrospective cohort analysis to determine the odds of AKI in neonates with ductal dependent CHD who received caffeine per standard of care for the prevention or treatment of apnea. Secondly, we will characterize the relationship between caffeine exposure and AKI using a previously developed neonatal caffeine population PK model refined to the CHD population using standard of care caffeine plasma concentration levels. We will leverage the model to simulate caffeine concentrations and characterize their association with the odds of developing post operative AKI. 

Reid Chamberlain, MD
Third Year Fellow (Cardiology)
Award: Colin Molloy Research Award
Mentors: Kevin Hill, MD; Christoph Hornik, MD
Project title: Evaluating Post-operative Acute Kidney Injury Criteria in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease: Urinary Biomarkers and Clinical Outcomes

Research summary:
Kidney injury can contribute to adverse outcomes following congenital heart surgery. Leveraging the infrastructure of the ongoing Steroids to Reduce Systemic inflammation after infant heart Surgery (STRESS) trial, we will conduct an ancillary prospective cohort study to validate the staged Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) acute kidney injury criteria as a predictor of post-operative outcomes. In addition, we will use a panel urinary biomarkers to compare the diagnostic accuracy of individual markers of renal injury to a composite of renal injury markers for early prediction of post-operative acute kidney injury in infants with congenital heart disease. Through this work we hope to close important knowledge gaps that will support future work to better predict and prevent post-operative acute kidney injury in infants with structural heart disease.