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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Announces Recipients of Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation Research Awards

As the nation's first pediatric transplantation program, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been at the forefront of the transplantation field for more than 25 years. And now, Children’s is taking transplantation research to the next level with the announcement of five Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation  research awards.

The Hillman Strategic Award is designed for a researcher with an existing project who is prepared to advance to the next level. It provides three years of funding. The Hillman Innovation DevelopmentAward is intended for those with promising ideas, to help them get off and running in previously unexplored areas of research. All grants are funded for two years.

“The direction in which each of these researchers is going is very promising and we’re excited to see the fruits of their labor,” said George K. Gittes, MD, surgeon-in-chief and chief of the Division of General and Thoracic Surgery at Children’s.

Transplant surgeon Rakesh Sindhi, MD, received the Hillman Strategic Award for his proposal, titled “Genetic Predisposition in Pediatric Transplant Outcomes.” 

“Dr. Sindhi has developed a mechanism by which surgeons can check a patient for genetic predisposition on how they will respond to transplants in general,” Dr. Gittes said.

The Hillman Innovation Development Award went to four recipients:

  • Kathy Lawrence, MN, RN, transplant nurse, for her proposal entitled “Promoting Independence and Adherence in Pediatric Heart Transplantation.”
  • Judith Martin, MD, Infectious Disease specialist, for her proposal entitled “Ethanol Lock Therapy,” which could revolutionize the managing of problems with infections in central lines.
  • George Mazariegos, MD, director, pediatric transplantation, for his application entitled “International Organ Transplantation Tolerance Registry.”
  • Brian Feingold, MD, pediatric cardiologist, for his proposal entitled “Cell-Bound Compliment Activation Products as a Marker for Humoral Rejection.”

“These programs hold great potential, and with continued support from the Hillman Foundation, they will continue to grow and lead to bigger and better things,” Dr. Gittes said. “These Hillman grants raise the bar for transplant research here at Children’s and lend even more credibility to our program.”

Learn more about the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital.


Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
August 27, 2013
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Last Update
August 27, 2013