Children's Health

The mission of the Children's Health Research Center is to conduct basic, translational, and clinical pediatric research.  Interdisciplinary approaches are used to understand the underlying basis of a wide array of congenital defects and childhood diseases.  Areas of interest include rare diseases, pediatric cancers, neurological disorders, developmental disorders, and genetic and environmental effects on childhood health and disease.  In addition, a major initiative within the center is the Sanford Project, which aims to better understand, treat, and cure type I diabetes.  Researchers within the center have expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, immunology, and genetics. 

The Children’s Health Research Center is led by David Pearce, PhD.  Research activities are heavily supported by the NIH-funded Center for Pediatric Research, which enables ongoing growth of basic and translational research within the center.  The center has also formed collaborative relationships with other leading research and clinical institutions around the globe, including the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.  With a rich and dynamic research environment, the Children’s Health Research Center is actively advancing toward its goal of understanding and treating pediatric disease.

Children’s Health Research Center Upcoming Events

Symposium:

2nd Annual SDSU – Sanford Health Biomedical Research Symposium
November 13, 2014; South Dakota State University; Brookings, SD  
 

Children’s Health Research Center Features

Jill Weimer receives an R01 award
Sanford Research - Jill WeimerJill Weimer, an Associate Scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center, received an R01 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH.  This award funds a project aimed at understanding the role of intracellular trafficking in neurological disorders such as the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs).  Dr. Weimer joined the Children’s Health Research Center in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  For more information, please see the press release



Children’s Health Research Center News

GRANTS
Michelle Baack received a five-year K08 award from the NIH for a project aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease in offspring of diabetic mothers.
 
Michael Kruer received a Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for a project aimed at identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric movement disorders.
 
David Pearce received an R13 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the NIH to organize the 14th International Conference on Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses in Cordoba, Argentina.
 
Michelle Baack received a one-year faculty research grant from the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota for a project aimed at understanding the role of maternal dietary fat intake on cardiac lipid droplet stores in offspring of diabetic mothers.
 
Zhiguang Guo received a three-year research grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for a project aimed at identifying beta cell-specific biomarkers for type 1 diabetes to improve early disease detection and treatment.
 
The Children’s Health Research Center received a five-year Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the NIH to fund five projects focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying development and developmental disorders.

PRESENTATIONS
Several Children’s Health Research Center scientists presented posters at the USD Department of Pediatrics Research and Scholarship Day in Sioux Falls, SD in May, 2014.  The event featured posters from the Baack, Guo, Kruer, Lee, Surendran, Vitiello, and Weimer labs, as well as secondary faculty members Benson Hsu, Angela Myers, and Dennis Stevens.
 
Several Children’s Health Research Center scientists presented at the 5th Annual USD-Sanford Health Biomedical Research Symposium in Vermillion, SD in May, 2014.  Michael Kruer served as the event’s co-organizer and moderator.  Kamesh Surendran, Peter Vitiello, Jill Weimer, Haotian Zhao, and staff scientist Ilian Radichev (Savinov Lab) gave oral presentations, and posters were presented by members of the Guo, Kinkel, Kruer, Lee, Savinov, Vitiello, Weimer, and Zhao labs.
 
Alex Rabinovitch organized the 4th Annual Sanford Type 1 Diabetes Symposium: “The Gut Microbiome, Immunity and Type 1 Diabetes,” which featured several world renowned guest speakers, at the Sanford Center in May, 2014.
 
Pediatric residents Sarah Cole, Stacy Kern, and Michelle Schimelpfenig, all from the Baack lab, presented their projects in posters at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada in May, 2014.
 
Kurt Griffin organized and chaired a session on “Advances in Recognition and Management of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias” at the Pediatric Endocrine Society and Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada in May, 2014.
 
David Pearce chaired a session at the Nature Conference on Genomics and Stem Cell Based Therapies: Shaping the Future of Personalized Medicine in Guangzhou, China in May, 2014.
 
Michael Kruer presented research from his lab in oral presentations at the 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Stockholm, Sweden in June, 2014 and the 3rd Annual Symposium on Ubiquitin, Protein Quality Control, and Molecular Pathogenesis in Deadwood, SD in June, 2014.
 
David Pearce presented research from his lab in an oral presentation at the Swine in Biomedical Research Conference in Raleigh, NC in July, 2014.
 
Kamesh Surendran presented research from his lab in a poster at the Gordon Research Conference on Notch Signaling in Development, Regeneration & Disease in Lewiston, ME in July, 2014.
 
Michelle Baack presented research from her lab in an oral presentation at the Global Nutrition Summit in Sioux Falls, SD in July, 2014.
 
Jill Weimer presented research from her lab in a poster at the Gordon Research Conference on Neural Development in Newport, RI in August, 2014.
 
Daein Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Roux lab, presented research from the Roux lab in a poster at the Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Nuclear Organization and Function in Cold Spring Harbor, NY in August, 2014.
 
Several Children’s Health Research Center scientists attended the USD Center for Brain and Behavioral Research Symposium in Vermillion, SD in August, 2014.  Michael Kruer gave an oral presentation, and postdoctoral fellows Rozzy Finn (Lee Lab) and Seung Yon Koh (Weimer Lab) presented posters.
 
Summer students and interns from many Children’s Health Research Center labs presented their projects at the 2014 Summer Research Symposium at the Sanford Center in August, 2014.  Posters were presented by undergraduate NSF REU students in the Kinkel, Kruer, Lee, Pearce, Savinov, Surendran, Vitiello, and Weimer labs; undergraduate SPUR students in the Baack, Lee, Surendran, Vitiello, and Weimer labs; SERF teachers in the Roux and Vitiello labs; high school PROMISE Scholars in the Guo, Kinkel, and Weimer labs; and summer research assistants in the Pearce and Weimer labs.

THESIS DEFENSES 
Jake Miller, a graduate student from the Pearce Lab in the MD/PhD program at the USD Sanford School of Medicine, successfully defended his thesis in March, 2014.
 
Miranda Floen, a graduate student from the Vitiello Lab in the MD/PhD program at the USD Sanford School of Medicine, successfully defended her thesis in April, 2014.
 
Samantha Hersrud, a graduate student from the Pearce Lab in the MD/PhD program at the USD Sanford School of Medicine, successfully defended her thesis in May, 2014. 
 
OUTREACH 
Several scientists in the Children’s Health Research Center participated in Science Discovery Day at the Sanford Center in April, 2014.  Over 160 students from twelve regional high schools attended the event to learn about careers in science.  Presenters included Kamesh Surendran, Jill Weimer, Haotian Zhao, graduate student Ryan Geraets (Pearce Lab), and research associates Ryan O’Toole (Weimer Lab) and Katie Picotte (Zhao Lab).  Volunteers and tour guides included staff scientists Rosanna Beraldi (Pearce Lab) and Jaime Carcel Trullos (Pearce Lab), postdoctoral fellows Seung Yon Koh (Weimer Lab) and Marianna Madeo (Kruer Lab), graduate student Miranda Floen (Vitiello Lab), center coordinators Camille Parker (Savinov Lab) and Sarah Radel (Pearce Lab), and research associates Alyce Haugan (Roux Lab), Sam Jensen (Roux Lab), Tricia Larsen (Baack Lab), Casey McKenzie (Lee Lab), Stephanie Theel (Kinkel Lab), Derek Timm (Weimer Lab), and Anna Yarrow (Kruer Lab).
 
Kurt Griffin gave a presentation about the Sanford Project and current progress in type 1 diabetes research at the Cosmopolitan International Annual Convention in Rapid City, SD in July, 2014. 
 
2014 Sanford Children's Health Research Center faculty retreat

2014 Sanford Children’s Health Research Center faculty retreat at the Sanford Pentagon