|(L-R) Rosalyn Adam, PhD, Michael Freeman, PhD, Keith Solomon, PhD, Marsha Moses, PhD, and Tucker Collins, MD, PhD
researchers have successfully completed a rigorous national competition
sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish
the George M. O'Brien Center for Urologic Research. The O'Brien
competition resulted in a $5.4 million award spread over five years.
The new Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Urological Diseases
Research Center will be based here, with participation by Wake Forest
Medical Center and the University of Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.
Molecular biologist Michael
Freeman, PhD, director of Urologic Research, will serve
as director of the center.
The other Children's principal investigators that will lead projects
in the Center include Marsha
Moses, PhD, associate in Surgical Research; Tucker
Collins, MD, PhD, chief of Pathology, Rosalyn
Adam, PhD, associate director of Urology Research,
Solomon, PhD, research associate in Orthopaedic Surgery.
Former Children's urologist Anthony
Atala, MD (who will be leaving Children's on Dec. 30
for Wake Forest University) and Darius Bagli, MD, a researcher at
the University of Toronto, will also lead projects in the center.
The work of these researchers will provide a new understanding
of genitourinary tract tissues, which have been poorly studied in
comparison to other organ systems like the brain and heart. The
absence of fundamental knowledge severely limits the development
of new and innovative therapies for a variety of common illnesses,
including incontinence, chronic pelvic pain and congenital defects
affecting the urologic tissues.
¿The O'Brien Center should allow us to use new tools to better
understand and attack urologic diseases not related to cancer,"
Freeman says. In addition, a group led by Moses will study novel
mechanisms of fighting genitourinary cancers. And in another exciting
O'Brien initiative, Freeman says, ¿Dr. Solomon will lead the creation
of new proteomics capabilities at Children's. This kind of analysis,
where proteins can be studied on a large, unprecedented scale, really
represents the future of basic and translational biomedical research."
The long-range objective of the center will be to integrate knowledge
in basic cell biology, regenerative medicine, biochemistry, molecular
biology, proteomics and genomics into a collaboration that has not
existed before. Freeman points out that the O'Brien Center will
offer a unique opportunity to foster new relationships between the
Urology, Vascular Biology, Pathology and Orthopaedic research programs.
Notably, this is the first time the NIH has ever awarded such a
center grant to a pediatric institution.—CM