Seven Johns Hopkins Pediatricians Elected to Society for Pediatric Research
Seven pediatricians from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center have been elected to the prestigious Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) for their contributions to the study of childhood disease.
They are: pediatric nephrologist Meredith Atkinson, M.D., M.H.S.; neonatologist Renee Boss, M.D., M.H.S.; pediatric quality and safety expert Marlene Miller, M.D., M.Sc.; pediatric endocrinologist Ryan Miller, M.D.; pediatric infectious disease specialist Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S.; pediatric endocrinologist Christopher Romero, M.D., M.S.; and metabolism expert Andrew Wolfe, Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins seven are among 153 pediatric researchers elected to the society this year.
Dedicated to the advancement of pediatrics, the society's mission is to encourage young investigators - those under 50 years of age - to pursue research in pediatrics that has the promise to improve child health worldwide, as well as to promote collaboration with scientists from other academic institutions.
"This group is truly a 'magnificent seven,' representing a constellation of physician-scientists whose work has already made important contributions to our understanding of childhood disease," says George Dover, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "But more importantly, their ongoing research promises to illuminate a wide range of pediatric problems, including basic mechanisms of disease and its clinical manifestations, as well as frontline therapies and new approaches to reduce risk and improve patient safety on a system-wide level."
"The range and depth of the work represented by this year's selection is a testament to our efforts to tackle disease on all fronts and do so in a collaborative and synergistic way that not only elevates the science of disease and treatment but also improves patient outcomes," says Julia McMillan, M.D., executive vice chair for the Department of Pediatrics and associate dean for graduate medical education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
About the Honorees
Pediatric nephrologist Meredith Atkinson studies chronic and end-stage kidney disease in children, focusing on the mechanisms and treatment of anemia, as well as the biologic and systematic factors that account for disparities in patient outcomes. Some of her latest work has concentrated on unraveling the interplay between vitamin D levels, anemia and race. She is also working to understand treatment outcomes in anemia. Atkinson completed a residency in pediatrics, followed by a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at Johns Hopkins and received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
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Neonatologist Renee Boss is an expert in neonatal palliative care. Her research focuses on clinician-to-parent communication, as well as on ethical dilemmas in critical care neonatology and their effects on parental choice, physician decision-making and treatment outcomes. Boss received her medical degree from Boston University and completed a residency at Arizona Health Sciences Center, followed by a fellowship at Johns Hopkins.
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Marlene Miller is a nationally renowned expert on pediatric quality and patient safety. Her work has focused on understanding the mechanisms of hospital-acquired infections, medication errors and other preventable hospital-related complications among children of all ages. Her research has helped evaluate and perfect risk-reducing and risk-eliminating practices, including basic hygiene protocols, the use of computer-based systems that reduce drug errors and weekly patient safety rounds. A 2011 study led by Miller demonstrated that by following some basic rules of central line hygiene and maintenance, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and 87 other pediatric hospitals have, over five years, saved hundreds of patient lives and more than $100 million by preventing nearly 3,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections. Miller received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University and completed her pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins, where she also completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology and her master’s of science degree in clinical outcomes research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Miller is vice chair for quality and safety at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and serves as vice president for quality transformation at the Children's Hospital Association.
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Pediatric endocrinologist Ryan Miller’s work is dedicated to the study of insulin resistance and its role in the development of obesity and other metabolic pathologies. Specifically, Miller’s research has homed in on understanding how nutritional factors during fetal development can precipitate a range of metabolic conditions stemming from insulin resistance during childhood and adulthood. His work has the potential to reveal modifiable factors before birth to reduce the risk for childhood and adult-onset disease. Miller completed a pediatric residency at the University of Virginia and a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Johns Hopkins. He received a medical degree from Albany Medical College.
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Aaron Milstone is a pediatric infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist whose research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of bacterial drug-resistance and on preventing hospital-acquired infections among critically ill children. Some of Milstone’s recent work has illuminated important risk-reduction strategies, including a study showing that simply bathing critically ill children with a common antiseptic once a day can dramatically reduce the number of dangerous blood stream infections. That approach has now been adopted in many pediatric hospitals around the country. A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Milstone trained in pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and completed a pediatric infectious disease research fellowship at Johns Hopkins.
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Pediatric endocrinologist Christopher Romero’s research is dedicated to understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms that regulate the development and function of the pituitary gland — the body’s master gland that regulates growth, metabolism and development — and associated hormone deficiencies, specifically the production and secretion of growth hormone. Romero’s research has led to the development of a novel mouse model that allows him to study pituitary cells responsible for the production and secretion of growth hormone. Romero completed a residency in pediatrics at UCSF-Fresno, where he was a chief resident, prior to returning to the East Coast to pursue his fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at The Johns Hopkins University. He received his medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine.
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Metabolism expert Andrew Wolfe’s research focuses on unraveling the regulatory mechanisms behind one of the body’s most critical signaling pathways: the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which controls growth, metabolism and reproduction. Specifically, Wolfe’s work focuses on understanding how metabolic dysfunction seen in conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome affects reproduction and fertility and the precise signaling pathways that lead to such malfunctions in the first place. Some of Wolfe’s recent work has yielded surprising new clues about the role of insulin sensitivity in the pituitary and ovaries in the development of infertility, a finding that is poised to pave the way to new treatment approaches.
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