Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress 2014 Abstract Award Winners

We are proud to announce that several trainees connected to the Safar Center were selected as award recipients during the 43rd Annual Congress of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, which took place January 9-13th in San Francisco. 

Alicia Au MD, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, former T32 fellow, current scientist at the Safar Center, was awarded the SCCM Young Investigator Award for her abstract, titled "Autophagy Biomarkers Beclin 1 and p62 are Detectable in Cerebrospinal Fluid after Traumatic Brain Injury in Children."  Alicia and her co-authors found that two autophagy protein biomarkers, namely Beclin 1 and p62, to both be increased after severe pediatric TBI. Increased Beclin 1 levels positively correlated with accidental TBI, but were negatively correlated with abusive head trauma, implying differences in autophagic flux in these two subsets of TBI patients. Elevated p62 levels were associated with unfavorable GOS, consistent with decreased autophagy or reduced turnover of autophagosomes in patients with poor outcome after TBI.  Further study is required to determine the role of autophagy after TBI. Dr. Au is working closely with Dr. Robert Clark and a team of other Safar Center Scientists on this project.

Dennis Simon MD, a Safar Center T32 fellow, has won the SCCM In Training Award for his abstract titled “HMGB1 Translocation and Microglial Activation After Pediatric TBI Attenuated by Minocycline,” using an established pediatric TBI model. Dr. Simon found marked effects of the drug minocycline on neuroinflammation suggesting that this agent may have potential in the pediatric arena. Dr. Robert Clark was Dr. Simon’s mentor on the project.

Bob Newmyer, a second year fellow in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) working under the mentorship of Dr. Ericka Fink, won the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) In-Training Section Travel Grant for his abstract titled, "Interfacility specialized transport of children with neurologic disease.”  The abstract was based on a project looking to describe the epidemiology, interventions, and outcomes of a large pediatric population requiring transport with non-traumatic neurologic diagnoses.  He and co-authors, including Brad Kuch, Director of the Transport Team at CHP, and Dr. Kate Felmet, Medical Director of the Transport Team, compared a large cohort of children with (n=2,155) and without (n=10,730) neurologic diagnoses, describing interventions required en route, and described associations with outcomes including hospital and ICU lengths of stay as well as in-hospital mortality.  His work and a better understanding of this population should inform quality improvement measures regarding ongoing care during interfacility transport of these patients.  

Emin Fidan MD, a researcher working in the laboratory of Dr. Hulya Bayır at the Safar Center, was awarded an SCCM Annual Scientific Award for his abstract, titled “Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury in the Immature Brain.” The project described by the abstract is on repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (rmTBI) in the developing brain. rmTBI occurs in a significant portion of trauma patients, especially in populations, such as abusive head trauma victims or athletes suffering sports concussion. While accumulating evidence suggests that rmTBI may cause long term cognitive dysfunction in adults, it is unknown whether rmTBI causes similar deficits in the immature brain. Emin found that rmTBI amplifies the response producing inflammation in specific brain areas, damage to neuronal processes and memory deficits in a brain injury model mimicking preschool age children. Defining the mechanisms underlying damage from second impact could be vital to therapy development for child abuse or sports concussion in children. The rmTBI model was developed by Dr. Bayır’s laboratory team at the Safar Center. 

Leah Manchester, a 2nd year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine working under the mentorship of Dr. Ericka Fink, won the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) Neurology Specialty Award for her abstract, titled, “Correlation of Cerebral Blood Flow and Apparent Diffusion in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest.” The abstract was based on her research project from this past summer in the department of Pediatric Neurocritical Care. She and her co-authors examined regional and cerebral blood flow (CBF) via arterial spin-labeling, and diffusion patterns via apparent diffusion coefficient, in children after cardiac arrest, abusive head trauma, or traumatic brain injury. Leah’s work provides novel insight into CBF and brain trauma swelling after acute brain injury using contemporary magnetic resonance imagery methods.

The SCCM abstract award winners are selected based on abstract scores and training qualifications. They are awarded in recognition of excellence in critical care research, and were presented during the Society’s Poster Award Presentation at the 43rd Critical Care Congress. A fundamental tenant of the Safar Center’s mission is to provide training for the next generation of resuscitation researchers, and we take great pride in the achievements of the trainees and young investigators that conduct research here. Please join us in congratulating them on their awards.