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Pediatric Specialists Win Awards from the Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund

Date: 07/09/2010
Contact: Amy Albin ()
Phone: (310) 794-8672

(Note to Editors: This release contains information about a community member.)

Traumatic brain injury repair, reversing liver disease and providing cardiac telemedicine to newborns in remote areas were all research topics that earned top accolades at the fifth annual Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund (TTCF) Faculty Presentation Awards.
         
The TTCF prizes honored compelling presentations made by faculty members engaged in pediatric research at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.  The group presented the three winners with grants totaling more than $326,000 at a luncheon in July.

Dr. Christopher Giza
Dr. Christopher Giza
Dr. Robert Venick
Dr. Robert Venick
Dr. Gary Satou
Dr. Gary Satou
Dr. Christopher Giza (Culver City), associate professor of pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, won the grand prize and was awarded a gift of $175,000 for his research in developing new treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI)-the number one cause of death and disability in children and adolescents. Giza's work focuses on promoting neurotransmission to activate the injured brain, restore plasticity and facilitate recovery.  He is also developing new technology called pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging to study the effectiveness of neurotransmission-enhancing drugs. 

Dr. Robert Venick (Westwood), assistant clinical professor of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, earned second-place honors and a gift of $88,100.  Venick's research aims to help children whose intestines do not work and must be fed intravenously through parenteral nutrition.  While this treatment is life-saving, it is also associated with a life-threatening disease called parenteral nutrition associated liver disease (PNALD) that can require a liver transplant.  Venick's research focuses on an experimental drug that can reverse PNALD and thus alleviate the need for a transplant.        

Dr. Gary Satou (Agoura Hills) associate professor of pediatric cardiology and director of Pediatric Echocardiography, was awarded a gift of $63,100 to support his work in developing a telemedicine connection with rural, remote medical facilities that do not offer specialty pediatric heart care.  The TTCF award will help fund the purchase of necessary equipment and design a study to quantify the accuracy and success of the telemedicine program.
         
Organized in 2006, Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund was born out of the belief that, by pooling their donations, a group of committed individuals can award a major gift every year to make an important difference in the work of talented UCLA Pediatrics faculty members whose cutting edge research benefits the boys and girls at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. The group continues to grow each year and currently includes almost 60 volunteer members from the community.  UCLA faculty members are selected to present their research projects to the group members, who then select the winning presentations.  Ultimately, the group hopes to expand its membership and to provide an annual award of $1 million to one or more pediatric researchers.

For more information on the Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund, please contact Jennifer Jung, director of development at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, at jjung@support.ucla.edu or (310) 267-1832.

Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA is a vital part of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which is consistently ranked "Best in the West" in U.S. News & World Report's annual survey of America's best hospitals.  The hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents.  The mission of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA is to provide state-of-the-art treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere, as well as to improve the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases.  For more information, please visit www.uclahealth.org/mattel.

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