Current Happenings

E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award


Congratulations to the recent recipients of the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award.  We look forward to working with these investigators as they work towards finding solutions to improve the health of children worldwide.​

David Anderson, PhD – Burnet Institute 

Improved diagnosis of active syphilis at point-of-care for the elimination of congenital syphilis


Gary L. Darmstadt, MD, MS – Stanford University School of Medicine

Emollient therapy for severe acute malnutrition: Randomized controlled clinical trial in Bangladesh


Michael R. DeBaun, MD, MPH – Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Hydroxyurea for stroke prevention in children with Sickle Cell Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa


Reynaldo Martorell, PhD – Emory University

Assessing the impact of home fortification of complementary foods on child cognitive development


Catherine G. Sutcliffe, PhD – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Evaluation of a novel HIV point-of-care test for early infant diagnosis at birth in rural Zambia


Michael D. Weiss, MD​ – University of Florida

Melatonin as a neuroprotective therapy in neonates with HIE undergoing hypothermia


Early Career Award Program


We are pleased to announce the recent recipients of the Spring 2015 Early Career Award Program​.  We look forward to working with these exceptional new investigators as they work towards improving the health of children and establishing independent research careers.

Ashley Bjorklund, MD, FAAP - University of Minnesota Advancement of modified bubble CPAP for use in children in low resource settings: A study of safety

Manu Chaudhary, MD - Texas Children's Hospital Prevalence of maternal group B Streptococcal colonization in India

Sarah Coors, DO - Texas Children's Hospital Dextrose gel for newborn hypoglycemia

Jennifer Dan, MD, PHD - University of California, San Diego Immunology of group A Streptococcus tonsillitis

Michelle Eckerle, MD, MPH - Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Metabolite Profiles in Viral Respiratory Illness among Malawian Children

Shannon Farmakis, MD - Saint Louis University School of Medicine Shear wave sonoelastography for the noninvasive evaluation of hepatic fibrosis in the pediatric population

Krista Kelly, PhD - Retina Foundation of the Southwest Binocular iPad treatment for amblyopia

Jakob Stokholm, MD, PhD - University of Copenhagen Development of the gut microbiome and the risk of asthma, eczema and allergy

Nathaniel Meuser-Herr, MD - University of Minnesota Sensitivity of lung ultrasound in Ugandan children with radiographic pneumonia

Benson Ogunjimi, MD - University of Antwerp Gene expression analyses for the differentiation between viral and bacterial meningitis in children

Paulina Rebolledo, MD, MSc - Emory University The influence of infant nutritional status on rotavirus vaccine immunity in Bolivia

Kathryn Ridout, MD, PhD - Butler Hospital Examining the mental and physical health sequelae of childhood maltreatment and psychiatric illness

Johanna Riesel, MD - Boston Children's Hospital Surgical management of Typhoid perforations at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital: A pilot, prospective cohort study

Holger Unger, MBChB - The University of Melbourne Intermittent treatment in pregnancy with azithromycin – does it prevent preterm birth by ablating inflammation?

Rens Zonneveld, MD​ - University Medical Center Groningen Infection, sepsis and meningitis in Surinamese neonates: Novel diagnostic strategies​

E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards 2015


We would like to congratulate the recipients of the Spring 2015 E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards.  We we look forward to working with these grantees through the duration of their studies.

Grace C. John-Stewart, MD, PhD – University of Washington Preventing Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in HIV-exposed infants

Katrin Mattern-Baxter, PT, DPT, PCS – California State University, Sacramento Intensive home-based treadmill training and walking attainment in young children with cerebral palsy


Mary Ellen McCann, MD, MPH – Boston Children’s Hospital Neurocognitive outcomes 5 years after infant anesthesia: The GAS Trial


Loren G. Miller, MD, MPH – Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute Decolonization of the oropharynx, an important and neglected reservoir of S. aureus colonization


Francisca Mutapi, PhD – University of Edinburgh 

Childhood schistosomiasis: A novel strategy extending the benefits/reach of antihelminthic treatment


Tina M. Slusher, MD – Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Filtered sunlight phototherapy to treat significant jaundice: safety and efficacy in neonates

Early Career Awards


We would like to congratulate the 25 recipients of the Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award for the Fall 2014 cycle.  We look forward to working with each of them and learning about the outcomes and impact of their research on their careers and child health.  Congratulations!

Engi Attia MD – University of Washington  Mechanisms and risk factors for abnormal chest CTs and spirometry among HIV+ adolescents in Nairobi

Serkan Belkaya PhD – The Rockefeller University  Genome-wide dissection of Mendelian predisposition to acute viral myocarditis in children

Ross Boyce, MD – Massachusetts General Hospital  Rapid diagnostic tests for the identification of severe malaria (RDTSM)

Lauren Cohee, MD – University of Maryland Malaria in school-age children: Defining new interventions to improve health and reduce transmission

Adam Collison, PhD – Hunter Medical Research Institute A novel peanut allergy blood biomarker to predict anaphylaxis risk

Emoke Deschmann MD, MMSc - Karolinska Institute The Neonatal Hemorrhagic Risk Assessment in Thrombocytopenia Study - Neo-HAT Study

Gretchen Domek MD, MPhil - University of Colorado Denver Dissemination and implementation of SMS mobile technology to improve child vaccinations in Guatemala

Prapti Gautam PhD, BSc - University of Southern California Modeling and testing change in mental abilities in childhood through computer-based interventions

Daniel Gonzalez PharmD, PhD - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Use of physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models to streamline pediatric drug approvals

Ines Gonzalez-CasanovaPhD - Emory University Early exposure to environmental contaminants, home stimulation, and child cognitive development trajectories

Bhakti Hansoti MBChB, MPH- Johns Hopkins University Evaluating a screening program to prioritize critically ill children in low resource clinics

Narutoshi Hibino MD, PhD - Nationwide Children's Hospital Nanofiber tissue engineered vascular grafts for complex shapes using 3D printing technology

Leigh Howard MD, MPH - Vanderbilt University Medical Center Molecular epidemiology of rhinovirus detections in children in the Peruvian Andes

Kelly Huibregtse MS, MD - University of California, San Francisco Incidence and risk for secondary malignancy in neuroblastoma patients after treatment with 131I-MIBG

Peace Imani MD, MPH – Texas Children’s Hospital Impact of chronic kidney disease on health related quality of life of children in Uganda

Beatriz Larru MD, PhD - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Carbapenem vs. therapy with other b-lactam antibiotics for the treatment of gram-negative bacteremia in children

Troy Markel MD - Indiana University School of Medicine Human mesenchymal stem cell therapy as a surgical treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis

Kari Neemann MD - University of Nebraska Medical Center ESBL colonization in pregnant women in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria

Ruud Nijman MD, MSc, PhD​ - Imperial College London Improving diagnostic research in children with fever at risk of serious bacterial infections at the emergency department

Judy Orikiiriza MBChB, MMED - Makerere University College of Health Sciences Impact of nutrition on immunity and pharmacokinetics in HIV infected malnourished Ugandan children

Elliot Pearson MD - Duke University Evaluation of endothelial function in single ventricle patients receiving Ambrisentan after surgery

Jessica Saben, PhD – Washington University Finding new therapies for improving placental function in preeclampsia

Ravi Shah MD - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center A circulating miRNA phenotype of early myocardial remodeling in adolescent obesity

Bradley Sullivan, PhD - University of Kansas Development of a multi-dose budesonide dry powder inhaler for pediatric patients

Ryan Yuen PhD ​- The Hospital for Sick Children Investigation of copy number variation in the placentas of pregnancies with intrauterine growth restriction​

E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards


We are pleased to announce the recipients of the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards for the September 2014 Cycle.  We would like to congratulate these investigators and look forward to working with them over the next few years. Their projects are promising and we look forward to watching the impact of these studies on child health unfold.

Kjersti Aagaard, MD, PhD - Texas Children's Hospital  Saving lives at birth: Primary prevention of periodontal disease & preterm birth in Malawi

Davidson H. Hamer, MD - Boston University  Prevention of nosocomial bacteremia and mortality among neonates at a tertiary referral center in Zambia

Beate Kampmann, MD, PhD, FRCPCH, DTM&H - Imperial College London Group-B streptococci: Developing a correlate of protection for future vaccine trials in Gambian women and infants

Elke Leuridan, MD, PhD - University of Antwerp, Belgium  Vaccine responses in infants after pertussis vaccination during pregnancy in Thailand

Megan E. Reller, MD, PhD, MPH, DTM&H - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  Effectiveness of PCV-10 to reduce severe viral acute lower respiratory infection in Bangladesh

Margaret Zacharin, MBBS, FRACP - Royal Children's Hospital, Australia Clinical trial of Zoledronic acid (Aclasta) in children and adolescents with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Early Career Awardees Announced


​Congratulations to the recent recipients of the Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award.  We look forward to working with these bright and upcoming pediatric researchers. 

Silvia Chiang, MD - Texas Children's Hospital  Optimizing treatment regimens for pediatric multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

Hillary Crandall, MD, PhD - University of Utah  Invasive Staphylococcal disease in pediatric patients

Andrew DiNardo, MD - Texas Children's Hospital  Effect of helminth infection on Tuberculosis-specific immunology and DNA methylation

Jennifer Duchon, MDCM, MPH - Columbia University Medical Center  Trending and modeling multi-drug resistant organisms in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Dawn Gano, MD, FRCPC - University of California, San Francisco  The neuroToxicity of General Anesthesia (TOGA) study

Whitney Harrington, MD, PhD - University of Washington  Placental malaria and maternal-fetal microchimerism

Susan Hiniker, MD - Lucile Packard Children's Hospital  Feasibility of a computerized neurocognitive intervention program in the early post-transplant setting

David Hoganson, MD - Boston Children's Hospital  Autologous umbilical vein as a shunt conduit in neonatal cardiac surgery

Mildred Iro, MBBS, MRCPCH - University of Oxford  Investigating the effect of Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment on the immunological and inflammatory response in childhood encephalitis

Youn Jee, MD - National Institutes of Health  The role of heparin binding growth factors in fetal and childhood growth

Anja Keitel-Hasler, MD, MPH - Boston Children's Hospital  Electronic algorithms based on host biomarkers Point of Care Tests to decide on admission and antibiotic prescription in Tanzanian children presenting with fever (e-POCT)

Lawrence Ku, MD - Duke University  Effect of feedings on caffeine pharmacokinetics in premature infants

Alison Lee, MD - Columbia University Medical Center  In utero biomass smoke exposure, pro-oxidant/antioxidant imbalance and lung function in rural Ghana

Gwenyth Lee, PhD - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  An evaluation of environmental enteropathy in childhood as a risk factor for later chronic disease

Christopher McKinney, MD - University of Colorado Denver  Statin inhibition of microparticle-mediated inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in sickle cell disease

Leena Mithal, MD - Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago  Cord Blood biomarkers and 16S RRNA PCR for early diagnosis of sepsis in premature infants

Elizabeth Van Dyne, MD - University of California, Los Angeles  Infection prevention of invasive pneumococcal infection in children with sickle cell disease in Malawi

Julia von Oettingen, MD​ - Boston Children's Hospital  Vitamin D deficiency in Haitian children and efficacy of a novel 25(OH)D point-of-care test device

Filtered Sunlight Phototherapy


One of our current grantee’s, Dr. Tina Slusher, recently hit the mainstream news for her Thrasher sponsored project bringing filtered sunlight phototherapy to children in Africa.  This therapy shows great promise for treating neonatal jaundice in areas of the world where electricity and maintenance of equipment are serious issues.  Her study was recently presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Vancouver, BC and a journal article in Pediatrics.

See the Reuter's Health Article

See the Pediatrics Article​

Tina Slusher, MD -  University of Minnesota

E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards


​We are pleased to announce the recipients of the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards for the February 2014 Cycle.  We congratulate these investigators and look forward to working with them and learning about the outcomes of their research.

Dinesh Mondal, MBBS, MD, PhD​ - ICDDR,B (Bangladesh)  Safety and efficacy of Miltefosine for treatment of children and adolescents with Post-Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) in Bangladesh

Theresa J. Ochoa, MD - The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston  Enteric infections, enteropathy and malnutrition (Peru)

Christine P. Stewart, PhD, MPH - University of California, Davis  The effect of water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition interventions during the first two years of life on anemia and micronutrient status (Kenya & Bangladesh)

Tor A. Strand, MD, PhD - University of Bergen, Norway  The effect of vitamin B12 supplementation in Nepali infants on growth and development

Bridget Wills, BMBS, DM, FRCPCH​ - Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam   A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of magnesium sulphate for severe HFMD in Vietnamese children

Early Career Awardees Announced


We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award for the October 2013 Cycle.  These grants were chosen from a large pool of excellent ​applicants and studies.  We look forward to learning about the outcomes of this research and the impact of this award on the careers of these awardees. Congratulations!

Sarah-Blythe Ballard, MD, MPH - PRISMA   Norovirus genetic characterization and clinical severity of diarrhea in a "post-rotavirus" setting

Bo Chawes MD, PhD - University of Copenhagen   The early life metabolome in the origins of childhood asthma and allergy

Josephine HaDuong MD - Children's Hospital Los Angeles  Metabolic profiling of malignant bone tumors in pediatrics

Benjamin Hanisch MD - University of Minnesota  Disruption of the blood brain barrier in retinopathy positive vs. negative cerebral malaria

Joshua Lacsina MD, PhD - University of Washington Cytokine expression profiles in Kenyan children with helminth infection

Farrah Mateen MD, PhD - Massachusetts General Hospital​ A smartphone-electroencephalogram to diagnose pediatric epilepsy in Bhutan

Peter Moschovis MD, MPH – Massachusetts General Hospital  The role and consequences of anemia in children with pneumonia

Christina Nixon PhD – Rhode Island Hospital  Naturally acquired T cell immune responses to novel malaria vaccine candidate, PfSEA-1

Daniel Swarr MD – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia  Clinical and molecular analysis of congenital pulmonary airway malformations

Melissa Young BS, PhD​ – Emory University  Influence of maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy on child birth outcomes


Robin K. Ohls, MD


rko photo-1.jpg
  Robin K. Ohls, MD

The American Academy of Pediatrics
recently published a study headed by Dr. Robin Ohls​, an E.W. “Al” Thrasher award recipient, from the University of New Mexico entitled, “A Randomized, Masked, Placebo-Controlled Study of Darbepoetin Alfa in Preterm Infants.” When administered every 1 to 3 weeks in anemic adults, darbepoetin alfa (Darbe) increases hematocrit by stimulating red blood cell production. Ohls’ study assessed weekly dosing of Darbe in preterm infants as compared to erythropoietin (Epo) or placebo, the effects of which were previously unknown. Results from the study indicated that infants receiving Darbe or Epo required fewer blood transfusions, were exposed to fewer donors, and had higher hematocrit levels than the placebo group. Additionally, infants in the Darbe group required less-frequent dosing than those in the Epo group. These results suggest that Darbe and Epo can reduce or eliminate the need for transfusions in preterm infants.

 ​Please follow this link for the article: 

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