Research Bulletin
News from the Child Health Research Institute
March 2023
CHRI Priorities & Activities:
Update from Executive Director Ann Anderson Berry, MD, PhD
Executive Director’s Message CHRI March 2023

March is finally here, and it isn’t only about longer days, warmer weather and basketball tournaments. Here at CHRI, we are looking forward to celebrating Women’s History Month throughout the month of March and International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8.

We have so many amazing women who contribute to the success of CHRI, as staff or CHRI investigators. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the women in our Child Health Research community who contribute endless amounts of scientific acumen and talent to advance children’s health and wellbeing through research. It takes a lot of energy, determination and dedication to achieve a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and we know that women are less likely than men to participate in STEM in high school, college and in future careers.

CHRI is actively building our pipeline of scientists and research personnel. We are working to ensure that these future colleagues are even more talented and diverse than we are today. Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) applicants are currently under selection and medical students are looking for MSSRP positions. As we think about the students that we choose to mentor. please take a moment to review your biases and consider selecting students who will add more to our research community.

I look forward to seeing each of you at the upcoming Pediatric Research Forum highlighting our trainees research and featuring Dr. Sid Mahapatra as our keynote speaker on May 11th in the afternoon. Abstracts can be submitted here.

I want to congratulate Dr. Rusty McCulloh on the announcement that he will serve as the new Associate Vice-Chancellor for Clinical Research for UNMC. He has resigned from his position as the co-chair of the CHRI Health Services, Policy & Population Health Area of Emphasis. Chad Abresch, PhD, the other co-chair, and I will be accepting applications from CHRI faculty to serve in the vacated position. Please be on the lookout for the position soon.
Meet a Fellow CHRI Member
Melissa Hunter, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) for Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
What is your primary area of research?  
My background is in school psychology and behavior analysis. My research interests revolve broadly around neurodiversity, especially autism spectrum and related disorders.
Please share information on a current research project.  
Currently I am involved in projects in three areas: (1) intervention and support for adults with autism and related diagnoses, including workplace supports and accommodations, (2) ableism in the autism diagnostic process, with a goal of moving toward more strength-based approaches and (3) the consideration of neurodiversity as a potential risk factor for extremism and targeted violence, with the goal of developing a screening tool for use by pediatricians and others to identify risk and direct intervention approaches.
Are you looking for a particular type of researcher to collaborate with? 
I would be interested in collaborating with anyone who shares common interests! I would be especially interested in collaborating with developmental behavioral pediatricians related to the third research question above.
Dr. Jeffrey Robinson Study Examines State Efforts to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death in Adolescent Athletes
There is perhaps no more chilling sight during a sporting event than the sudden and inexplicable collapse of an athlete, as recently occurred with Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen and NFL player Damar Hamlin, who experienced life-threatening sudden cardiac events. Jeffrey Robinson, MD, assistant professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, recently led a study designed to assess how preparticipation physical evaluations (PPE) by state athletic organizations are used to prevent adolescent athletes across the U.S. from experiencing sudden cardiac death. The study results were reported in the January issue of Pediatrics.
Dr. Robinson’s study examined the PPE forms used by each U.S. state with regard to the American Heart Association’s 14 screening elements of history and physical examination. The study found only 13 states included all of the recommended screening elements and that the median number of criteria screened for was 11. One state included only three of the recommended elements. Two states did not have standardized PPE forms, but rather, left PPE documentation to individual school districts.
The study acknowledges that false positive response rates, where athletes who are safe to compete are ruled out by the screening process, can be common. To counter this effect, the study authors state, “Careful and intentional review by a physician is then required for each positive response or physical examination finding, sometimes necessitating referral and/or additional diagnostic studies.” They recommend that the screening questionnaires be continually reviewed and evolve with the latest understanding of causes of sudden cardiac death and that medical conversations between physicians and high school athletics associations are needed to improve the compliance rate of PPEs with American Heart Association recommendations.   
Online Resources from NIH Virtual Conference Provide Insight on Grant Processes
Are you considering a first-time fellowship or research grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) but feel intimidated or unsure where to begin? Are you more established but looking to update your grasp of the agency’s grants policies (new and old)? NIH recently made available a collection of fresh content from a recent virtual conference.
CHRI’s grants team members enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the professionals who work “on the inside” while participating live in the February virtual conference titled “NIH Grants Conference: Funding, Policies & Processes.” This learning opportunity attracted thousands of investigators and administrative personnel from across the U.S. and the world. Researchers and other stakeholders are encouraged to explore the video recordings and PowerPoint slides (link below) designed to demystify NIH funding. A sampling of the presentation titles include:
  • Budget Building Blocks
  • Grant Writing for Success
  • Let’s Look at Peer Review
  • NIH Peer Review: “Live” Mock Study Section with Extended Q&A - A favorite of CHRI participants – very informative, surprisingly engaging
  • Ready! Set! Submit! Application Preparation and Submission
  • Roles, Responsibilities and Partnerships throughout the Grant Life Cycle
Check out the composite list of resources, available indefinitely on the 2022-2023 NIH Grants Conference and Pre Con Events: Session Recordings and Resources Page. As always, please reach out to a CHRI grants writer Matt Sandbulte, Caitlin Ray or grants coordinators Shamaere Ashby, Valarie Warner for discussion or assistance on any funding-related topic or idea. 
CHRI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Journal Club
Join us Friday, March 31, at Noon
for the final discussion of
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

You are invited to the CHRI DEI Journal Club discussion of part 3 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot at noon on Friday, March 31. A Zoom link will be emailed to you before the meeting. If you do not receive a link or have any questions about the meeting, email Kelly Erickson.
Abstracts Accepted for
CHRI Pediatric Research Forum
Researchers are invited to submit abstracts for the 21st annual CHRI Pediatric Research Forum May 11-12. Abstracts must be submitted through this link by midnight on March 27, 2023. All information regarding your abstract will be submitted by completing the fields within the form. You are not able to submit attachments. Complete submission guidelines, as well as poster instructions, are available here. In the coming weeks, CHRI will provide information about available support for those needing assistance or clarity around the abstract writing process. 
Pregnancy Associated Hypertension Seminar
Join us for a virtual seminar on Wednesday, March 15 at noon to learn about pregnancy associated hypertension.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy lead to major morbidities including preterm delivery, maternal pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, stroke and hemorrhage after delivery. Black birthing people in the US are at significantly higher risk of encountering this pregnancy complication. Close attention to education and assessment of early signs of these complications can positively impact care. This seminar will discuss risk, symptoms, possible prevention and current research into disease management with nutrition before and during pregnancy.

Distinguished Panelists include:

Dr. Ann Anderson Berry – Executive Director, Child Health Research Institute, UNMC & Children’s Hospital

Dr. Teresa Berg – Medical Director of Nebraska Medicine Labor and Delivery and a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist

Dr. Corrine Hanson – Program Director, Medical Nutrition Education Division, College of Allied Health Professions, UNMC

Lashelle Freeman – Mother
Academic Affairs Diversity Fund Grant Applications due April 15, 2023
Diversity Funds may be awarded for up to $50,000 per year for up to two years. Applications are now open for funding that will be awarded in July. All applications should be submitted online by April 15, 2023, and will go through a competitive review process.
Monies are available for new faculty and to assist retention of current faculty. The applicant should contribute diverse cultural experiences to UNMC or have a background or special talents that will lead to a more diverse campus environment that can be evaluated on an individual basis. The applicant must also demonstrate a track record of commitment to the service of underserved communities and/or patients.
Previous recipients of Diversity Fund grants are eligible to apply after three years from the end of the previous grant. Faculty members can receive a maximum of two Diversity Fund grants. Please review the UNMC Faculty Diversity Funding Guidelines for further information.
Diversity funding is for faculty development and/or research. Monies can be used to support new research projects, supplement research funding, provide “bridge” funding during preparation for a revised national grant submission, or support clinical projects such as community outreach initiatives. Monies may also be used for professional development including release time to permit professional development or to match competitive state or national educational loan repayment awards. Diversity Fund monies cannot be used for faculty salary. It is expected that college, departmental or institute funds released as a result of receipt of a diversity award will be re-invested in the faculty member’s research, scholarly activity or professional development.
Application due dates are Oct. 15 and April 15 with funding beginning Jan. 1 and July 1, respectively. Instructions for application and application forms are available online. Please note that the respective Dean or Institute Director (or their designate) of the applicant must provide a letter of support and sign each application. 
Applications should be submitted online by April 15, 2023 The Faculty Diversity Fund Committee will review grant requests, and funding will be awarded on July 1.
Please email Faculty Affairs with any questions regarding the Diversity Fund. 
Save the Date
Please save the date of Tuesday, August 29 to attend the Pediatric Cancer Research Symposium.
NPQIC Hosting an Educational Webinar
"Opioid Prescriptions in Pregnancy"
for Providers and Dispensers: 
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 
12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST  
This is a medical safety alert brought to you by the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPQIC). Opioid exposure in pregnancy is an increasingly common problem in the United States, and in Nebraska, there is a large amount of variability in maternal opioid prescriptions among health districts. 
Information from prescribing resources suggests that maternal prescriptions for opioids (opioids prescribed to a currently pregnant woman) are 3-5-fold higher in some health districts compared to others in the state. This invariably leads to an increased incidence of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) related to the increased number of pregnant women prescribed opioids that can, at times, go undiagnosed and, as such, undertreated. 
We know that perinatal opioid use and intrauterine exposure are associated with adverse health outcomes for mothers and their newborns, including: 
  • Preterm birth, low birth weight, and postnatal feeding difficulties 
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) and non-accidental trauma 
  • Death  

While we understand that there are varied reasons for opioid prescribing for pregnant women that are unique to given areas of the state, we are hoping to provide some information that you might find helpful about opioid prescribing to pregnant women and its impact on them and their babies. NPQIC has partnered with state and national experts to develop education for prescribers and dispensers about the risks of opioid prescribing in this population. 
Please check out our website for more information and share the webinar information below to help educate healthcare providers in your organization on safe opioid prescription use in their pregnant patients. This education is meant for prescribing providers and is not intended for patient education. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact the NPQIC team at any time.  

Please scan the QR code to register for this event. Contact Sydnie Carraher ([email protected]) or Chelsey Kennedy ([email protected]) with any questions.   
Save the Date
Please save the date of Friday, Nov. 3 to attend the Pediatric Cancer Research Symposium.
Disseminating Discoveries -
February Publications
CHRI members listed as authors in publications:
Jesse Barondeau, MD
Division of Adolescent Medicine

  • Freedom to Play, Learn, Live, and Thrive: A Youth-Serving Professional Call to Action to Address Firearm Violence. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2023;72(2):177-8.

Melissa Cullimore, MD, PhD
Division of Pediatric Critical Care

  • BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccination Against Coronavirus Disease 2019 is Associated With a Decreased Likelihood of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Aged 5-18 Years-United States, July 2021 - April 2022. Overcoming C-I. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2023;76(3):e90-e100.

  • Life-Threatening Complications of Influenza vs Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in US Children. Pediatric Intensive Care I, Overcoming C-I. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2023;76(3):e280-e90

  • Factors Associated With COVID-19 Non-vaccination in Adolescents Hospitalized Without COVID-19. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. 2023;12(1):29-35.

Kristen Fishler
Munroe-Meyer Institute of Genetics and Rehabilitation
Melissa Muff-Luett, MD
Division of Pediatric Nephrology
Teri Mauch, MD, PhD
Division of Pediatric Nephrology

  • Variants in AQP11 may result in autosomal recessive bilateral cystic renal dysgenesis. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A. 2023;191(2):612-6.

James B. Ford, DO
Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

  • Burkitt lymphoma after solid-organ transplant: Treatment and outcomes in the paediatric PTLD collaborative. British Journal of Haematology. 2023;200(3):297-305.

James B. Ford, DO
Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
DJ Murry, PharmD DJ
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science
Sarah A. Holstein, MD, PhD
Department of Internal Medicine

  • Evaluation of geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase inhibition as a novel strategy for the treatment of osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma. . Drug Development Research. 2023;84(1):62-74.
Gargi Ghosal, PhD
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy

  • Modeling Ewing Sarcoma Lung Metastasis. Dasgupta A, Kurenbekova L, Patel TD, Rajapakshe K, Ghosal G*, Nirala B, Coarfa C, Yustein J. Current protocols. 2023;3(2):e670.

David Kingston, PhD
Department of Biomechanics, UNO

  • Muscle activation and rating of perceived exertion of typically developing children during DRY and aquatic treadmill walking. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2023;68:102737.

Ling Li, MD, PhD
Mary Craft
Division of Pediatric Cardiology

  • Ventricular Flow Profile in Young Patients With Single Left Ventricle Fontan Using Echocardiographic Contrast Particle Imaging Velocimetry. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2023;36(2):250-2.

Russell McCulloh, MD
Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Families with Children: Examining Sociodemographic Differences. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2023;44(2):E88-E94.

Laura Pratt, MD
Division of Pediatric Rheumatology

  • Reliability of the Pediatric Specific Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Scoring Systems for the Elbow, Wrist, and Finger Joints. The Journal of rheumatology. 2023;50(2):236-9.

Eli Rhoads, MD
Division of Pediatric Pulmonology

  • The Effects of Air Pollution in Pediatric Respiratory Disease. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2023;207(3):346-8.

Don Ronning, MD
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Don Coulter, MD
Division of Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology

  • Targeting BRD4 and PI3K signaling pathways for the treatment of medulloblastoma. Journal of Controlled Release. 2023;354:80-90.

Lois Starr, MD, PhD
Department of Genetic Medicine

  • Biallelic GTF2IRD1 variants in brothers with profound neurodevelopmental disorder: A possible novel disorder involving a critical gene for Williams syndrome. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A. 2023;191(2):332-7.
Funding Opportunities:
CHEST Foundation
Max. $30,000 over 1 year
Deadline: April 10, 2023
National Institutes of Health
Applicable to R01, R03 and R21 grants, with the pertinent deadlines and limits on duration, dollar amount

Max. $250k over 2 years
Deadline: April 11, 2023
Max. $800k over 4 years
Deadline: May 11, 2023
Max. $800k over 4 years
Deadline: May 12, 2023
Child Health Research Institute
986847 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-6847
402-559-4032 or 402-955-7907