May 05, 2017

New research unit opens in Birmingham to advance treatment of childhood disease

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Child Health Research Unit tsThe University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama have partnered to open the Child Health Research Unit.

“The CHRU is a crucial tool that enables pediatric investigators to improve our understanding of childhood diseases and bring new therapies to children,” said Mitchell B. Cohen, M.D., chair of the UAB Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at Children’s of Alabama. “This new physical unit will allow pediatric investigators and research coordinators to execute safe and age-appropriate clinical research protocols in children. We needed an expanded research unit because we are growing and increasing our role in new knowledge discovery to understand, prevent and treat childhood diseases, and improve the health of the children of Alabama.”

The UAB Department of Pediatrics, UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and Children’s of Alabama expanded the unit to meet the growing needs of pediatric researchers by reducing barriers for researchers at UAB and Children’s to conduct rigorous clinical and transitional research in childhood diseases. The 2,500-square-foot facility, located on the third floor of Dearth Tower at Children’s, will include a reception area, triage room, six exam rooms, office and conference space, workspace with monitors, a lab with a centrifuge and freezer, and a storage room for equipment.

Research teams have already expressed interest in the new unit for studies including that for epilepsy patients, the natural history of Rett Syndrome, and the efficacy of maternal immunization with a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine during pregnancy.

The CHRU has supported studies within the Divisions of Hematology-Oncology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Pulmonary, and Rheumatology. The current unit located on the seventh floor of Dearth Tower will become the Satellite CHRU. It will focus on the robust portfolio of pulmonary research, while the new third-floor unit will provide much-needed space for other investigators.