Lupus Foundation of America Awards Four Grants to Support and Advance Childhood Lupus Research
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is pleased to announce four recipients of pediatric lupus research grants under the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program. The grants will support researchers in their studies of lupus in children as they address the most urgent challenges in this area of medicine.
The 2023 recipients are:
- Joyce Chang, MD, MSCE, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Cuoghi Edens, MD, University of Chicago
- Linda Hiraki, MD, FRCPC, SM, ScD, Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
- Ram Raj Singh, MD, University of California – Los Angeles
Established in 2006 with the generous support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the LFA’s Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program is the first and only national childhood lupus research program, founded in memory of Michael Jon Barlin who passed away at the age of 24 following a long battle with lupus.
“Studies indicate that lupus is more aggressive and severe in children and adolescents than adults. The disease can devastate a child’s growth and day-to-day life, and even shorten a child’s life,” said Joy Buie, PhD, MSCR, RN, Vice President of Research, Lupus Foundation of America. “The Lupus Foundation of America has long recognized the critical importance of supporting our youngest lupus warriors, and we are excited to support the important work of these grantees within the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Program who are dedicated to solving the unique challenges of childhood lupus and helping to improve their quality of life.”
“Young people who get lupus often have organ involvement, making the disease more difficult to control and having a severe impact on quality of life. These research grants under the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Program will move childhood lupus research forward and help to ensure that more children can live their lives to the fullest with more controlled lupus disease and improved prognosis,” shared Wayne and Judy Barlin.
The pediatric grant recipients are committed to advancing childhood lupus exploration by studying these important areas of lupus research:
- Joyce Chang, MD, MSCE, will be looking at cognitive dysfunction in children with lupus using a non-invasive brain imaging tool. This approach could pave the way for future studies on brain function in children with lupus so there is a better understanding of how to diagnose and treat brain involvement, which is poorly diagnosed and undertreated.
- Cuoghi Edens, MD, will study the interplay between reproductive planning and childhood lupus. Her study will help provide foundational information to improve awareness and educational resources around the topics of family planning and infertility for those diagnosed with lupus as children.
- Linda Hiraki, MD, FRCPC, SM, ScD, will investigate the genes that contribute to anxiety and depression in children and teens with lupus. This study will help shed light on the genetics underlying lupus symptoms and other outcomes in children with lupus to help improve care and treatment.
- Ram Raj Singh, MD, hopes to identify genes and proteins that are abnormally present in children with lupus using recent advancements in technology. The study will help identify cellular and molecular abnormalities in pediatric lupus nephritis with the goal of finding new targets for treatment.
Learn more about these pediatric grant recipients and their studies here.