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Dr. Faiza Khurshid awarded a CTAQ Research Endowment Grant

Dr. Khurshid and her team wlll use the funding to develop clinical prediction models for neonatal hypoglycemia among infants considered at risk because of factors like having a mother with diabetes, or being born prematurely. It is estimated that about 30% of newborns fall into the “at risk” category. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that these babies be screened for low blood sugar multiple times during the first 12 to 24 hours of life. Screening for hypoglycemia is generally done using a heel stick, a procedure that is recognized as causing pain.

Not every at-risk infant will develop hypoglycemia. If we could predict which of them are most likely to, it would allow health care providers to appropriately target preventive measures to reduce the number of newborns who need to be admitted to neonatal intensive care for treatment of low blood sugar. It would also reduce the number of painful screening procedures among at-risk newborns who have a low probability of actually developing hypoglycemia.  

Information on births in Ontario will be sourced through the Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN). The research team will examine which in utero, birth and postnatal factors affect an at-risk infant’s likelihood of developing hypoglycemia. Statistical models will then be developed using these factors. These models will provide clinicians with an easy-to-use tool to guide decision-making around screening and preventive measures for neonatal hypoglycemia.

Posted on Aprll 25, 2023

Drs. Shaira Wignarajah and Dawa Samdup receive funding through Canadian Paediatric Society's Paediatric Resident Advocacy Education Grant and SEAMO Innovation Fund 

These awards will be used to improve the experience of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when attending local outpatient clinics for blood work, hearing tests, electrocardiograms, and imaging. Together with patient partners Renay Loucaides and Michael Trautrimas and team members Helen Coo, Josie Jakubowski, Naomi Marrast, Simoon Moshi and Bryan Wong, they will create “what to expect at your clinic visit” social stories (videos and pictorials) to mitigate the anxiety that these patients may experience when exposed to unfamiliar environments and medical procedures. They will also employ an approach known as experience-based co-design to gain a better understanding of patients’ and caregivers’ experiences when attending these outpatient clinics, as well as staff perspectives on the factors that contribute to negative experiences. Together, families, clinic staff and members of the research team will then co-design solutions to improve quality of care at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre. 

Posted on March 6, 2023

Members of the Department of Pediatrics awarded three Innovation Fund grants

Dr. Faiza Khurshid will lead a team of Canadian Neonatal Network investigators in developing statistical and machine learning models to predict bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). BPD most commonly affects infants born at very early gestational ages and can have lifelong impacts on respiratory and cardiovascular function. Once Dr. Khurshid and her team have identified the top-performing models, they will create an online tool that will allow clinicians to easily assess an infant’s risk of BPD. This information can be shared with families so that together, parents and health care providers can make informed decisions and provide very preterm infants with the best possible care and outcomes.

Dr. Daniel Mulder is the Principal Investigator on a study that will examine blood samples from patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using mass cytometry to better understand IBD disease activity. By closely examining an individual’s lymphocytes, this study will characterize IBD disease activity without needing invasive testing. Thus far, Dr. Mulder and his team have collected blood from 63 IBD patients with both active disease and in remission. They will analyze these blood samples for unique markers of disease activity by combining mass cytometry and machine learning. As has been done for other inflammatory diseases, combining state-of-the-art technology and advanced statistical analysis will allow the research team to unravel previously hidden markers of internal disease activity. This novel approach will allow for radical new understanding of IBD disease activity, resulting in less reliance on invasive testing and improved patient outcomes.

Drs. Anupam Sehgal and Lakshmimathy Subramanian (a second-year pediatrics resident) are co-Principal Investigators on a study that will examine 30 years of administrative health records housed at ICES. Together with co-investigators Dr. Amy Acker, Dr. Jennifer Flemming and Dr. Daniel Mulder, and third-year medical student Alanna Jane, their aim is to answer two questions: 1) What proportion of Ontario children and youth with an immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorder (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease) go on to develop an eating disorder?; and 2) Are children and youth with immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorders at higher risk of developing eating disorders than the general population? The answers will help to address two further, as-yet unresolved questions around the care of these patients: 1) Should they undergo routine screening for eating disorders? and 2) Should families and healthcare providers be encouraged to implement nutritional interventions once a young person is diagnosed with an immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorder?

Congratulations to the three teams on their successful applications!

Posted on March 8, 2022

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural
Pediatric Research at Queen’s (PRAQ) Fund!

The research awards will support the following projects, which were selected for their considerable potential to generate new knowledge and improve patient care.

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prenatal screening in rural Ontario (Principal Investigator: Dr. Andrea Guerin)
  • Immune cell subsets from peripheral blood differentiate inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome (Principal Investigator: Dr. Daniel Mulder)
  • A problem-based, “hypothetical patient” email exercise teaching residents skills in the management of patients with type 1 diabetes (Principal Investigator: Dr. David Saleh)


Posted on September 8, 2021