February 2022
NIH Releases FOA for Small Projects Using Datasets from Common Fund Programs
Many NIH Common Fund programs produce rich public data sets containing various multi-dimensional molecular and phenotypic data from a range of sources. To maximize the impact of these data, engage a diverse community of end-users for broader adoption of these data sets, and to obtain feedback from award recipients to enhance the data resources, the Common Fund plans to support small research projects (R03) using data sets from two or more Common Fund programs. Read the FOA.

Applications are due February 18 by 5:00 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and learn more on the Enhancing the Use of Common Fund Data website. You can contact the CFDE team at with any additional questions. Please reach out to your OSP contact as soon as possible, if interested in pursuing this opportunity.
Upcoming events, including virtual and in-person educational opportunities, and important Manne Research Institute deadlines, are communicated to the Research Institute in a bi-weekly "Events and Deadlines" e-mail. You can view the most recent edition here, or by clicking the link below. Past editions can be found in the Research Communications archive.
I-ACT Webinar Slated for March 8: Clinical Research Staff Recruitment and Retention

The Best Practices, Education & Tools (BET) Committee of the Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials for Children (I-ACT) will host “Clinical Research Staff Recruitment and Retention,” an educational webinar scheduled for March 8 from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Panelists will be announced soon. SOCRA members will be able to apply for CEU credits. View the flyer here. Questions can be directed to
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Bariatric Surgery Reverses Low Testosterone Levels in Male Teens with Obesity
Bariatric surgery not only treats obesity and reverses Type 2 diabetes, but a new study now shows that it also reverses low testosterone levels in teen males with obesity. The finding is important because in addition to reducing inflammation and increasing insulin sensitivity, weight loss after bariatric surgery may also influence sexual and fertility functions. The results were published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

This is the first major study to examine how weight loss after bariatric surgery affects testosterone in adolescent boys. Obesity in adolescent boys can often lead to hypogonadism, as shown by lower-than-normal testosterone concentrations, which may lead to sexual difficulties and reduced fertility.

“It is remarkable that testosterone levels more than doubled and in fact normalized in most adolescent boys who underwent bariatric surgery, and this was maintained up to five years,” said study co-author Thomas Inge, MD, PhD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Director of Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This testosterone response was greater than that expected in adults undergoing these same operations and adds to the growing list of benefits of using bariatric surgery in teenagers with severe obesity.” Click here to read more.
More Than Half of Chicago Infants Potentially Unsafe While Sleeping
New research from VOICES of Child Health in Chicago has found that a majority of Chicago parents of infants do not follow safe sleeping practices for their babies. The latest survey brings cause for worry because these practices are putting a high number of babies at risk.

Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) occurs in infants less than 1 year old in their sleep areas. The most recent data indicate that about 2 out of every 5 infant deaths in the U.S. are classified as SUID, despite broad prevention efforts over the last 2 decades. About 3,500 infants die every year in this country from SUID, which is an average of 9 babies every day.

Of concern, 58 percent of Chicago parents in the survey reported that they had placed their infants in sleeping situations that are known to be unsafe, based on cases of SUID in the U.S. These included practices such as bringing babies in parents’ bed to sleep, putting babies to sleep on their side or stomach rather than their back, or letting babies under age 1 year old sleep with objects such as loose blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals or toys. Click here to read more.
First Public Health Survey of New Dads to Help Improve Outcomes for Entire Family
"PRAMS for Dads" Informs Efforts to Support New Fathers
While federal legislation requires tracking and reporting data on maternal health behaviors around childbirth, fathers have been overlooked in these public health efforts to improve maternal and infant outcomes. Recognizing that new dads play an important role in the health and wellbeing of children and families, Manne Research Institute's Craig Garfield, MD, MAPP, partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health to develop and pilot a new survey on the health behaviors and experiences of men as they enter fatherhood.

Modeled on the annual surveillance tool that the CDC and public health departments have used for the past 35 years for new mothers called PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System), PRAMS for Dads for the first time provides data on the unique needs of new fathers. Findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“Having a reliable source of information to see how men are impacted by the transition to fatherhood is an important first step in understanding how best to support families and children today,” said Dr. Garfield, lead author on the study and founder of the Family & Child Health Innovations Program (FCHIP) at Lurie Children’s. Dr. Garfield also is a Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“For example, we found that 70 percent of fathers in our survey were overweight or had obesity, so clearly public health strategies are needed to address this issue, which has significant health ramifications for the child and the entire family,” explained Dr. Garfield. “Likewise, nearly 20 percent reported smoking, 13 percent were binge drinking and 10 percent had depressive symptoms since their infant’s birth. These data, especially in combination with data from mothers, offer a roadmap of where we need to focus attention to improve the health and wellbeing of families during pregnancy and after a child is born.”

Three other statesMassachusetts, Ohio, and Michiganare beginning to replicate the piloted process and the relatively inexpensive means to survey new fathers. Read more here.
A Focus on Infants, Mothers, and Heart Health with Amanda Marma Perak 
February is American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, a time to learn more about treating and preventing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MSCI, FAHA, FACC, Attending Physician (cardiology) with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, shared her expertise in pediatric cardiology as an author of AHA’s recently published Heart Disease & Stroke Statistics 2022. The annual update details information about cardiovascular health, risk factors, and disease in the U.S. and global populations.

Dr. Perak, who is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (cardiology) and Preventive Medicine with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, studies the earliest influences on a baby’s heart health. AHA named two of her studies in JAMA and American Journal of Preventive Cardiology as some of the top heart disease and stroke research advances of 2021. The studies detailed findings about pregnancy health and offspring health.
Carolyn Foster Discusses Remote Patient Monitoring on AAP Podcast 

Carolyn Foster, MD, MSHS, Attending Physician in Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, recently appeared in an episode of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Pediatrics On Call Podcast.

Dr. Foster, who is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, provided insights into the latest research on how technology and remote patient monitoring are improving health outcomes. This conversation is an extension of her State-of-the-Art Review Article on the topic that is published in the February 2022 issue of Pediatrics and her K23 award from NIH/NHLBI to study remote patient monitoring as a method to safely speed weaning from ventilators among children in the Pulmonary Habilitation Program.
Nancy Young Speaks at Cochlear Implant Innovation, Research, and Advancement Workshop 

Nancy Young MD, FACS, FAAP, Medical Director of Audiology and Cochlear Implant Programs at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, was an invited speaker at this month’s Cochlear Implant Innovation, Research, and Advancement virtual workshop. The event, which was co-sponsored by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Medical Device Epidemiology Network, featured experts who provided input on the challenges and opportunities for advancing cochlear implant research and innovation. Dr. Young shared her expertise on evidence needs and considerations for pediatric patients.

In addition to her role at Lurie Children’s, Dr. Young is the Lillian S. Wells Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her recent research involves work to investigate prediction of language after cochlear implantation based on brain structure and function. The long-term goal of this research is to develop custom therapies to maximize language and cognition.
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Remembering Louis A. Simpson
Photo by Jim Prisching
Louis A. Simpson, a Northwestern University trustee and benefactor who championed a variety of programs at the university, died on January 8 following a prolonged illness. He was 85. 

Over the past two decades, Simpson and his wife, Kimberly Querrey, provided more than $250 million in total Campaign giving to Northwestern University, including various schools, programs, scholarships, building projects, and more. The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center, which opened in June 2019, was named in their honor to recognize their generosity. 

Simpson became a member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees in 2006 and a life trustee in 2010. He was a senior fellow and adjunct professor of finance with the Kellogg School of Management. In 2018, he received the Northwestern Alumni Medal. 

Read more about Simpson’s legacy and dedication to Northwestern University in Northwestern Now(Photo: Jim Prisching)
Research Staff Additions and Promotions
Welcome Ashley Hoambrecker, Director of the Clinical Trials Office 
Ashley Hoambrecker has been named Director of the Clinical Trials Office (CTO). Prior to joining Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, Hoambrecker spent 18 years with the University of Chicago, where she founded and led the Clinical Trial Financial Group (CTFG), a team that develops, negotiates, and manages clinical trial budgets, contracts, policies, as well as earnings reconciliation, invoicing, and payment tracking. The CTFG group supported more than 800 clinical trials for nearly 300 nationally recognized faculty in Anesthesia, Critical Care, Cardiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Diseases & Global Health, Nephrology, Neurology, Population and Precision Health, Psychiatry, Pulmonary, Rheumatology, and Surgery. Hoambrecker and her team developed and implemented a comprehensive process for budget development and earnings tracking. Most notably, they introduced an earnings tracking tool institution-wide that increased reconciliation compliance, quadrupled cash capture, and is currently being transformed into a Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS). Previously, Hoambrecker served as the Associate Director of Sponsored Programs and a Clinical Trial Budget/Contract Manager.

In each role, Hoambrecker served as a subject matter expert with a deep understanding of clinical trial budget and contract constraints and their intersection with billing, compliance, operational, and regulatory requirements. She especially enjoys collaborating with leadership, faculty, research teams, regulatory and research administration, and stakeholders across multiple business units to develop and implement strategy and best practices for clinical research administration. She graduated from Bradley University with a degree in international business.
Michelle Corbett, MS, ACRP-CP
Associate Director of Learning & Development, Office of Research Development

Michelle Corbett was recently promoted to Associate Director of Learning & Development with the Office of Research Development. In this new role, Corbett will oversee both the Research Education and Navigation teams, which continue to expand into the clinical and community trials, community, population health and outcomes, and basic and preclinical science pillars. This will allow for the development and alignment of resources, orientation and onboarding, and identification of the research needs and gaps that research faculty and staff are facing.

Corbett has been working at Lurie Children’s Hospital for 3 years. Prior to that, she held various research positions in clinical research at the University of Chicago, Rush University, and Boston Children’s Hospital. She earned a Master of Science in Biotechnology from Rush University and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. 
Kelley Elahi, RN, MSE
Manager, Innovation Portfolio, Innovate 2 Impact

Kelley Elahi recently accepted the position of Manager, Innovation Portfolio, for Innovate 2 Impact (I2I), the official Innovation Program for Lurie Children’s. In this role, she will provide operational, strategic, and implementation support to I2I’s Innovation Program, which highlights research discoveries, medical device concepts, and ideas and tools for transforming care within Lurie Children’s, as well as regionally and globally.

Elahi will split her time between the Manager role and her bedside nursing role in the Lurie Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Elahi started her career at Medical Technology Transfer and Services in Vietnam, designing neonatal healthcare equipment and training doctors and nurses throughout Southeast Asia on the equipment’s use. She then served as Director of Technology Development at Rice University’s Institute for Global Health, where she led the development of multiple maternal and pediatric global health technologies. She has Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Nursing, and a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. 
Melissa M. Gesbeck, PhD, MBA, MA
Research Scientist Navigator, Community, Population Health and Outcomes Pillar,
Office of Research Development

Melissa M. Gesbeck joins the Research Navigation team in the Office of Research Development as a Research Scientist Navigator, where she will contribute her expertise as a medical sociologist committed to improving the wellbeing of patients, families, and their communities through research and program development. Gesbeck previously was Senior Manager, Innovative Surgical Education Programs and Education Research Associate in the Division of Education with the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In that role, she led the development of the Entering Resident Readiness Assessment, the Senior Resident Readiness Assessment, and other novel programs. She also consulted on socio-behavioral research methods, data management, reporting, and IRB and HIPAA compliance, and served as Society Editor of the journal Surgery for the annual ACS AEI Surgical Simulation Summit. She earned a Master of Arts and PhD from Loyola University Chicago. 
Erin Lynch
Lead Research Educator, Office of Research Development

Erin Lynch, a Certified Clinical Research Professional, was recently promoted to Lead Research Educator in the Office of Research Development. She will focus on institutional training and education that will allow for the development and alignment of resources with current and new education team initiatives such as onboarding, specific trainings, tools, and resources for the basic and preclinical science, clinical and community trials, and community, population health and outcomes pillars. Lynch has worked for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for more than 12 years, starting her research career working on clinical trials and then transitioning to the Research Compliance Coordinator role with the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance. Her most recent role was Research Educator. 
Kaleigh Sands, MS
Assistant Director, Office of Research Integrity and Compliance

Kaleigh Sands has been promoted to Assistant Director in the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance where she will be responsible for the management of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the IRB staff. She joined Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in September 2018 as a Single IRB Coordinator, and then advanced to the role of Senior Research Compliance Coordinator. Since 2021, she has served as a member of the Manne Research Institute Research Administration Steering Committee.

Prior to her career in human subjects protections, Sands spent eight years as a researcher primarily in the social sciences. Her work and interests draw upon her training and graduate work in social psychology, which focused on psychological processes and interpersonal dynamics in intimate relationships. She is passionate about the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ and gender-diverse participants in research. In 2019, she earned a Certified IRB Professional certification from Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R). Her research is published in the British Journal of Social Psychology and Social Psychology and Personality Science. She has a Master of Science in Social Psychology from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. 
Priya Tripathi, MS
Research Educator, Office of Research Development

Priya Tripathi, a CITI Program and Good Clinical Practice–trained regulatory compliance professional with seven years of experience in research compliance and conduct, clinical trial management, education and training, and quality assurance, is the newest member of the Research Education team. In the position of Research Educator, Tripathi will develop, coordinate, and deliver research training programs and materials for investigators and research staff within the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. She will also work directly with research administration teams to aid in the development of resources related to new and existing research processes and procedures, streamlined communications, external engagement, and institutional outreach. She earned a Master of Science in Regulatory Compliance and Clinical Research from Northwestern University. 
If your team has a staff addition, transition, or promotion to share, please use the button to the right to submit a short profile and photo.
Innovate 2 Impact
What is Innovate 2 Impact?

Innovate 2 Impact (I2I) is the innovation program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. I2I helps bridge the gap between discovery and useful products and technologies. See the following resources for more details:

  • Visit the I2I website to gain insights into how I2I works with Northwestern University’s Innovations and New Ventures Office (INVO) and to learn about the many tools and tips on inventions. 
  • Contact Kosh Ghosh at if you have an idea to discuss or if you have any questions about the program.  

Watch for more I2I and innovation highlights in a future issue.
Office of Research Development
Expanded Research Professional Orientation Begins February 15
The Office of Research Development is excited to announce an expanded version of research professional (RP) orientation, including content relevant for research professionals across all four Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute Pillars:

  • Basic and Preclinical Science 
  • Clinical and Community Trials 
  • Community, Population Health and Outcomes 
  • Quantitative Science 

The first orientation session will be held virtually on February 15 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  

What will be covered?  
Research Professional (RP) Orientation will provide an overview of the Manne Research Institute, research administrative offices and support services, available research technologies, research specific training and education, and research professional community engagement opportunities.

Who needs to attend? 
Newly hired RPs across all research pillars, research students, interns, and research administrative staff. In addition, we encourage and invite all current RPs to sign up for a refresher in the upcoming months.

When do these sessions occur? 
RP Orientation will be held virtually on the second Tuesday of each month. The session will last 90 minutes.

How do I sign up or assign a new RP up for a session?  
Supervisors and managers must complete the RP Orientation Intake form for all new hires. Please note that one intake request is required per employee.

Contact with any questions or concerns.
Update Your Profile Info for the New Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute Website by February 28

The Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute website will be launched in 2022. It will feature profiles for individual researchers and lab or program pages for affiliated research groups. The Office of Research Development invites you to submit information about yourself for your new profile page using this form.

If you are the head of a lab or research group, please visit the research communications page and select the appropriate form for your research pillar.

Please have submissions completed by February 28. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the contents of your new Manne Research Institute profile in more detail, please contact the Office of Research Development.
Office of Research Integrity and Compliance
Lurie Children's Hospital 2022 Conflict of Interest (COI) Survey is Live
On February 1, the annual Conflict of Interest Survey at Lurie Children’s Hospital was successfully launched. Intended respondents have received the survey if they are subject to one or more policies regarding conflicts of interest and business integrity, which includes investigators responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research or sponsored programs.

If you received the Conflict of Interest Survey, please complete the form in a timely way. Notifications and follow-up from the system and office staff will be sent until completion. As a reminder, new significant financial interests must be disclosed on an ongoing basis within 30 days of discovering or acquiring the interest. Additional details can be found in Lurie Children’s Policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research and Sponsored Programs.

If you are an Investigator responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research or sponsored programs and have not received the survey, please contact the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) at 312-503-7110 or

ORIC team members are also available to answer any questions you may have regarding your financial interest disclosures in research, or questions about the review and management process.
Office of Sponsored Programs
Early Outreach to OSP is Key for Grant Proposal Success 

The grant proposal process is challenging, but the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) offers a series of proposal preparation tools to support researchers and ensure grant application materials are ready for submission.

A common misstep that principal investigators make is not working with OSP and the Research Support Office staff on their application from the beginning, said Robin Lewis, MPA, CRA, CPRA, Director of OSP. She reminds investigators that the office is their resource to make an application the best it can be and help submit a proposal that, once awarded, will be easy to implement quickly. “It’s never too early to discuss proposal ideas with OSP, but it can be too late,” says Lewis. Investigators should alert OSP to their desire to pursue grant funding as early as possible in the idea stage, which enters them in OSP’s queue for services, adds Lewis. “At that time, we will help identify potential issues with any funding opportunities and provide plenty of resources to make the experience as easy as possible for the investigators.”

Contact for information about how OSP can assist with the grant proposal and application process. An article from Edge for Scholars offers additional tips to help improve the grant submission process.
Research Business Operations
Facilities and Administrative Rate Change Update
Lurie Children’s Hospital negotiates its Facilities and Administrative (F&A) rates — sometimes called “indirect cost rates”— with the federal government, specifically the Department of Health and Human Services, every few years. Manne Research Institute's new F&A rate for Organized Research is 55%, which is a 2% increase over our prior rate of 53%. Our Other Sponsored Activities rate remains 39%.

The new F&A rate is effective immediately and will be implemented for all active federal awards. Please contact your Research Financial Portfolio Manager with any questions regarding your specific awards. If you need assistance connecting with your Portfolio Manager, contact

As a reminder, F&A costs include facilities operation and maintenance costs (research space and equipment), depreciation (capital), and administrative costs (research administration, scientific operations, and programmatic expenses). As award volume rises, so does the need for continued investment in infrastructure. F&A recoveries help to fund these investments for us to better serve the growth of our research enterprise.
This increase reflects our growing research enterprise, and we appreciate your contributions to our continued success.
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