Scott Pomeroy MD PhDA note from Neurologist-in-Chief Scott Pomeroy, MD, PhD

Summer greetings from Boston’s Children’s Hospital. This note will fill you in on happenings since our last update in January, plus an exciting milestone this fall.

The IDDRC turns 50

On October 30th, 2018, Boston Children’s will be marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center with a reunion and day-long symposium. The nation’s 15 IDDRCs, launched by legislation signed by John F. Kennedy, have a long history of discovery that underpins today’s understanding of the nervous system and developmental neurobiology — a scientific impact rivalling that of the space program. Invited speakers include:

  • Diana Bianchi, MD, Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • David Ginty, PhD, professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Virginia Lee, PhD, endowed professor, Alzheimer's Research Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, University of Pennsylvania
  • Anthony Monaco, MD, PhD, president and professor of Biology and Neuroscience, Tufts University
  • Pasko Rakic, MD, PhD, professor of Neuroscience and Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Carla Shatz, PhD, professor of Biology and Neurobiology, Stanford University
  • Beth Stevens, PhD, associate professor of Neurology and member of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, professor of Pediatrics and Neurology and Chief of Genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Faculty News

Beth Stevens, PhD, was named one of 19 new Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. Her no-strings-attached award, $8 million over seven years, will enable her to push the limits of her research, which focuses on microglia, synaptic pruning and the role that aberrant pruning plays in diseases like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Takao Hensch, PhD recently received a 10-year grant from the Japanese Government, via the University of Tokyo, to establish an International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN). Takao will direct a trans-oceanic network of scientists conducting bench-to-bedside research on the foundations of human intelligence, aided by computational modeling and artificial intelligence approaches. At Boston Children’s, projects are investigating the cognitive consequences of repeated anesthetic exposure, tracking excitatory-inhibitory imbalance in autism through electrographic biomarkers and seeking to correct amblyopia by reopening brain plasticity.

Honoring Dr. Alvarez

I hope many of you have had the opportunity to know Norberto Alvarez, MD, a beloved long-time member of the Department of Neurology. He formally retired in June after 45 years of caring for children with epilepsy — starting in 1973 as a trainee in the Seizure Unit under Cesare Lombroso, MD, PhD, and a fellow with Allen Crocker, MD, in the Developmental Evaluation Clinic. In 1976, Norberto started an epilepsy clinic at Wrentham Developmental Center, on the heels of de-institutionalization and a lawsuit by parents and guardians of children with developmental disabilities. The medical program in Neurology and Epilepsy he established played an integral role in being able to place these children in the community.

That’s it for now — thanks for tuning in. As always, we welcome your input and inquiries.

Sincerely yours,

Scott L. Pomeroy, MD, PhD, FAAP

Scott Pomeroy