Initially known as the Pediatric Research Institute, the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI) was created by the Board of Trustees of Children’s of Alabama in 1989 to provide internal funding for junior faculty who were just beginning their academic careers. The initial funding came from proceeds (10%) of the Children’s Miracle Network telethon, with half committed to an endowment, and the other half to support grants submitted by faculty or professionals working at Children’s of Alabama. The first grants were awarded in 1993. Following the donation of an initial $5 million from the Kaul Foundation to increase the endowment, the Board of Trustees changed the name of this program to the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI).

KPRI Grant Program

Initially, four two-year grants of $20,000 per year were awarded. With the increase of the contributions to the KPRI and the growth of the endowment, multiple awards are made each year in the amount of $35,000 each for new investigators and $50,000 each for established investigators.

The major goal of the KPRI grant program is to allow investigators to obtain data that will advantage applications for additional extramural funding. This will bring new knowledge to the care of children, leverage the investment of the KPRI, and allow projects to be competitive for the very best science on the national stage. A second, but important, goal is to ensure that a dedicated funding source is available to unique segments of the pediatric research and education.

The cycle for funding is now open. Visit the KPRI Grant Application page to view the guidelines. 

2022 Awardees

Established Investigators

Gregory Friedman, M.D.

Gregory Friedman, M.D.

Professor
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Project Title
Targeting Tumor Metabolism to Enhance Efficacy of Oncolytic HSV

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    Pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of brain tumor related death in children. Immunotherapy with altered cold sore virus (HSV) “G207” offers an innovative, targeted, less toxic therapy for pediatric brain tumors. G207 is unable to harm normal cells but can infect and kill tumor cells while also stimulating the patient’s own immune system to attack the tumor. In our recently completed Phase 1 pediatric trial of G207, the therapy was safe with evidence of dramatic responses and prolonged survival. While the results are very promising, we learned that to achieve even more long-term responses, we must develop combination therapies with G207. Our goal is to enhance this promising therapy substantially by developing a novel combination therapy that increases tumor cell killing and maintains the immune attack on the tumor. If safe and effective, we will advance the combination to clinical trials in children with brain tumor.

Robert Russell, M.D.

Robert Russell, M.D.

Associate Professor
Division of Pediatric Surgery

Project Title
Sex-dependent imbalance of blood ADAMTS13 and vWF activity: A mechanism for the development of post-TBI acute kidney injury?

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    Brain injury sustained as a result of traumatic injury is extremely common in children and adults. As a result of the traumatic injury, it has been established that the normal blood clotting or coagulation mechanisms can be altered following trauma. This coagulopathy can lead to worsening brain injury and secondary injury to other organs. We have discovered that specific coagulation factors may play specific roles in the coagulation sequence following trauma and their alteration in levels can exacerbate secondary injury to these organs and alter the patient’s response to certain infections. We plan to clarify these exact mechanisms and evaluate whether restoration of specific coagulation factors may improve outcomes and response to injury/infection in mouse models of traumatic brain injury.

New Investigators

Anna Hoppmann, M.D.

Anna Hoppmann, M.D.

Instructor
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Project Title
Social determinants of health and adverse outcomes among children with cancer

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in the environment where an individual is born, lives, learns, works and plays and that influence the individual’s health, functioning and quality of life. Living in poverty is one example of a SDOH that negatively impacts health. Adults with cancer who live in a persistent poverty community (poverty that persists over time) are more likely to die sooner than people who live elsewhere. Living in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation is another SDOH that is associated with premature cancer death even when the patients are receiving the best treatments. Further, among black adults with cancer, increasing residential segregation is associated with declining cancer outcomes. The vast majority of children with cancer are now cured due to advances in treatment and supportive care. However, these improvements are not shared equally by all children. This study examines the role of SDOH, including persistent child poverty, to learn how these factors impact childhood cancer outcomes.

Thomas Spencer Poore, M.D.

Thomas Spencer Poore, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine

Project Title
Impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus Co-Infection in CF

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common genetic diseases in the world leading to lower life expectancy. People with CF often have long term infections in the lung with bacteria, causing difficulty breathing and inflammation. The mold Aspergillus fumigatus is more of a fungus that we often see in CF lungs, and is seen in complex lung conditions in this population. However, we don’t know much about this and this mold seems to be associated with a bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that is common in CF, but is known to have long term lung damage. Given this, we need to understand more about what Aspergillus fumigatus is telling us and what it is associated with. To do this, we will use CF cells and a CF rat to mimic these two infections. People with CF have very thick mucus that may allow this mold to grow. Given that, we will also stimulate the cells to make more CF mucus to see if this helps promote mold growth. In both of these experiments, we will try and treat the Pseudomonas aeruginosa to see if it has lasting effects that make the mold grow. At the end of the experiment, we will see how much mold and bacteria have grown, what inflammation they have triggered, and how they have damaged the lungs. By doing this, we will better understand how Aspergillus fumigatus affects people with CF and can hopefully develop new screening and treatment guidelines when pairing this with clinical experiments.

Vivek Shukla, M.D.

Vivek Shukla, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Neonatology

Project Title
Brain MRI Radiomics-based Prediction of Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Neonates

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    This innovative project will develop machine learning based predictive models to accurately predict adverse outcomes (death or moderate/severe neurodevelopmental disability) in infants who have hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) at birth. Infants with HIE are at a high risk of adverse outcomes and earlier identification of the risk by the proposed project may help in better management and improvements of outcomes in such infants.

Aman Wadhwa, M.D.

Aman Wadhwa, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Project Title
Body Composition and Outcomes in Children post Blood or Marrow Transplantation

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    Blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) is being increasingly used as curative therapy for many cancers and blood disorders among children. However, children who receive a BMT experience many side effects, some of which can lead to death. Currently, our understanding of who will experience these serious side effects is limited. We are proposing a study to assess how body composition (muscle and fat mass) before BMT measured using CT-scans affects early side effects after BMT and deaths from complications due to treatment at 1-year after BMT. It is possible that children who receive same doses of chemotherapy (based on weight) have differing biodistribution of drugs (due to variations in body composition) which could explain the differences in outcomes. We will also test this hypothesis in a subgroup of patients who receive a drug called busulfan by assessing how pre-BMT body composition influences levels of this drug among patients.

Tennille Webb, M.D.

Tennille Webb, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Nephrology

Project Title
Early Detection and Management of AKI after Cardiopulmonary Bypass

  • Project Summary

    Project Summary

    This proposal will provide standardization of care for neonates who develop severe AKI after undergoing cardiac surgery by proving that early initiation of dialysis is beneficial and improves outcomes. This proposal will also assist with the timing to effectively discontinue dialysis. This is beneficial because performing dialysis is not without risks, such as infection. The findings from this proposal will help reduce some of the complications associated with AKI that will not only be beneficial to the patients but also has a large economic impact on the healthcare system by reducing healthcare cost, complications and duration of hospitalization.

Past Awardees

  • 2021

    2021

    New Investigators

    Pallavi Iyer, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes

    Project title: "Integrative Genomic Characterization of Pediatric Differentiated Thyroid Cancer"

    Viral Jain, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Neonatology

    Project title: "Chorioamnionitis Leads to Altered Neonatal Immune System Development"

    Claudette Poole, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

    Project title: "The Association of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Diabetes Mellitus in Children"

    Brandon Rocque, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery

    Project title: "Traumatic Stress and Shunt Failure: A Link between Psychology and Inflammation"

    Emily Smitherman, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Pediatric Rheumatology

    Project title: "Evaluating Access to Care in Childhood-onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Nephritis"

    Kent Willis, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Neonatology

    Project title: "The Mycobiome Shapes Oxygen Exposure Lung Injury in Newborns via the Chitin­ Binding Receptor FIBCDl"

    Established Investigators

    William Britt, M.D.
    Professor
    Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

    Project title: "Seasonal Coronavirus Infections and Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2"

    Randy Cron, M.D.
    Professor
    Division of Pediatric Rheumatology

    Project title: "Functional Genomics of Novel Cytokine Storm Syndrome Genes Linked with SARS-CoV- 2"

  • 2020

    2020

    New Investigator Award

    Nitin Arora, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Neonatology

    Project title: Interaction Between HCMV and FcRn to Understand Viral Transcytosis Across the Maternal-Fetal Interface.

    Sam Gentle, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Neonatology

    Project title: Reducing Adverse Delivery Outcomes Through Teleneonatology: a Feasibility Study

    Marissa Gowey, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology

    Project title: Targeting Self-Regulation in Family-Based Behavioral Treatment for Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention  

    Bhuvana Sunil, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes

    Project title: Disparities in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Youth with Type 2 Diabetes

    Colm Travers, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Division of Neonatology

    Project title: Predicting Episodes of Bradycardia Among Infants with Apnea of Prematurity  

    Established Investigator Award 

    Suresh Boppana, M.D.
    Professor
    Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

    Project title: Role of HCMV Envelope Protein Glycosylation Patterns on Virus Neutralization

    Ambika Ashraf, M.D.
    Professor
    Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes

    Project title: Gut Microbiome and Type 2 Diabetes in Children

  • 2019

    2019

    New Investigator Awards

    Ammar Alishlash, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine 
    Prostacyclin Agonist Therapy for Acute Chest Syndrome in Sickle Cell Mouse Model


    Emily E. Johnston, M.D., MS
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
    End-of-Life Care of AL Children with Cancer: Disparities and Parent Priorities


    Michael A. Lopez, M.D., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Neurology
    Smad8 in Dystrophic Muscle Disease & Its Role in MicroRNA Regulation & Disease


    Donna L. Murdaugh, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
    A Longitudinal Pilot Study Examining Neurocognitive Outcomes in Survivors of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Before and After a Cognitive Remediation Program 


    Gabriela R. Oates, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine
    Technology-Enabled Patient Support System for Self-management of Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis 


    Swetha G. Pinninti, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Infectious Disease
    Significance of co-infection with CMV and STI’s during pregnancy


    Aman Wadhwa, M.D.
    Instructor (7/1/2019)
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
    Body Composition and Adverse Outcomes in Childhood Cancer


    Established Investigator Award

    Shannon A. Ross, M.D., MSPH
    Associate Professor
    Pediatric Infectious Disease
    Neuroimaging Findings and Hearing Outcome in Asymptomatic Congenital CMV Infection

  • 2018

    2018

    New Investigator Awards

    Ismail S. Mohamed, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Pediatric Neurology

    Project title: Computational Neurology for Non-invasive Delineation of the Epileptogenic Zone

    Robert P. Richter, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Critical Care

    Project title: Heparanase and Endotheliopathy in Pediatric Sepsis

    Robert T. Russell, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Pediatric General Surgery

    Project title: Coagulopathy Following Head Injury in Pediatric Trauma: From Bedside to Bench

    Arial A. Salas, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Neonatology

    Project title: Effect of Increased Enteral Protein on Body Composition of Preterm Infants: A Randomized Trial

    Established Investigator Awards

    Daniel I. Feig, M.D.
    Professor
    Pediatric Nephrology

    Project title: ESTaBLISH: Impact of Early life STressors on the BLood pressure and vascular function In adoleScents and cHildren 

    Gregory K. Friedman, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Pediatric Hematology & Oncology

    Project title: Immunovirotherapy to Target Pediatric Brain Tumors

    Wendy Landier, Ph.D., RN
    Associate Professor
    Pediatric Hematology & Oncology

    Project title: Integrating Technology to Enhance Patient/Family Education in Pediatric Oncology

  • 2017

    2017

    New Investigator Awards

    Matthew Alexander, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Neurology
    “Genetic modifiers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy via genome sequencing of discordant siblings”

    Margaux Barnes, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
    “Mediational Analysis of Diet, Physical Activity, and Lean Mass in Youth with IBD”

    Jegen Kandasamy, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Neonatology
    “Mitochondrial Genetic Contribution to Hyperoxia Induced Lung Injury”

    Charitharth (Vivek) Lal, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Neonatology
    “The Role of Microbiome Induced Ac-PGP in Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia”

    Colin Martin, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Surgery
    “Maternal and Environmental Influence on Early Neonatal Immunity”

    Michael Seifert, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Nephrology
    “Early Life Stress and Cardio-renal Disease in Kidney Transplantation"

    Established Investigator Awards

    Elizabeth Beierle, M.D.
    Professor
    Pediatric Surgery
    “Role of PIM kinase in maintaining hepatoblastoma tumor initiating cell population”

    Karen Fowler, Ph.D.
    Professor
    Pediatric Infectious Diseases
    “Racial & ethnic disparities in congenital CMV infection: role of maternal CMV”

  • 2016

    2016

    Established Investigator Awards

    Dr. Suresh Boppana 

    Project title: Vestibular and Balance Disorders in Children with Congenital CMV Infection (Sergio Stagno Award)

    Dr. Randy Cron

    Project title: Inhibition of HIV-1 Expression by Regulatory CD4 T Cells (Rud Pohill Award)

    New Investigator Awards

    Dr. Jennifer Guimbellot

    Project title: Development of Personalized Approaches to CFTR Modulator Efficacy

    Dr. Manran Ramani

    Project title: Mechanisms by which Retinoids Attenuate Hyperoxia-Induced Memory Deficits in Mice

    Dr. Julie Wolfson

    Project title: A Comprehensive Investigation of Outcome Disparities in Children, Adolescents, & Young Adults with Cancer

    Dr. Veronica Sanchez

    Project title: HCMV Affects Glioblastoma Invasive Phenotypes

    Dr. Purnima Singh

    Project title: Molecular Pathogenesis of Anthracycline-related Congestive Heart Failure in Childhood Cancer Survivors

KPRI Quality and Safety Awards

In 2016 Children’s of Alabama and the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI) began the KPRI Quality and Safety Award Program. The major goal of the this grant program is to allow teams to identify and address specific quality and safety issues that cannot easily be addressed using existing operational resources or structures.

2021 Awardees

Emily Smitherman, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Rheumatology
Project title: Adolescent Transfer to Adult Care—Rheumatology Patients

Mary Lauren Scott, M.D.
Associate Professor
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes
Project title: Improving Glycemic Control in High-risk Patients with Type I Diabetes 

Ismail Mohamed, M.D.
Associate Professor
Division of Pediatric Neurology
Project title: Pediatric Epilepsy Learning Health System

Past Awardees

  • 2020

    2020

    Nicole Samies, D.O.
    Fellow
    Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
    Project title: Review of Bacterial Tracheitis Diagnosis and Management

    Mary Lauren Scott, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes
    Project title: Improving Glycemic Control in High-risk Patients with Type I Diabetes

  • 2019

    2019

    Michael Seifert, M.D.
    Pediatric Nephrology

    Project title: Reducing residual cardiac risk after pediatric kidney transplantation

    Betsy Hopson, MSHA

    Project title: QI project to improve bowel management in Spina Bifida Clinic

    Avi Madan-Swain, Ph.D.
    Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
    Margaux Barnes, Ph.D.
    Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

    Project title: Improving family centered psychosocial screening

  • 2017

    2017

    David Galloway, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
    “Improving Care for Pediatric Constipation: A joint effort between pediatricians and gastroenterologists” 

    Chrystal Rutledge, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Pediatric Critical Care 
    “Development of a Novel Nursing-Focused Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training Program”

  • 2016

    2016

    Dr. Robert Russell

    Project title: Quality Improvement in Imaging Strategies for Ped Appendicitis

    Dr. Leslie Hayes

    Project title: Reducing Waste in the PICU Through a Standardized Lab Reduction Strategy