Expert in Inflammation Research Named Mellon Scholar at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

November 7, 2016

A researcher from the National Institutes of Health with a strong background in inflammation research has been recruited to join the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Scott Canna, M.D., is the fifth scientist appointed to Children’s Mellon Scholars Program, which enables promising researchers in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine. Scholars are selected on the basis of work that is highly innovative, delivering new expertise to the biomedical research community that is likely to lead to major breakthroughs and capable of having a long-lasting impact on the practice of medicine.

“The recruitment of Dr. Canna and his expertise further exemplifies the talent we have in our program and the continuing effort to bring leading researchers here to pioneer pediatric research,” said Jay Kolls, M.D., Mellon Institute director. “We look forward to Dr. Canna furthering his work to find treatments for pediatric inflammatory diseases.”

Dr. Canna’s research focus is on autoinflammatory disorders where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks its own tissues. In particular, he studies an inflammation-inducing molecule called IL-18 and how it may contribute to human diseases including macrophage activation syndrome—a potentially life-threatening complication of certain childhood inflammatory diseases. His research involves studies in human subjects as well as experimental model systems to improve treatment for this disorder.

Dr. Canna comes to Children’s Hospital from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he was the Metzger Scholar of Translational Research and head of the Autoinflammatory Pathogenesis Unit.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Canna has published numerous papers in prestigious journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Genetics, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Blood. Dr. Canna has received support from the NIH as well as several disease-focused foundations, and he is the recipient a National Institutes of Health transitional “K” award.

Established through a groundbreaking gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Institute is an incubator for research that challenges conventional wisdom and can lead to paradigm shifts in pediatric medicine. This kind of high-risk, high-impact investigation is not typically funded through government or conventional sources, placing Children’s Hospital in a unique realm of pediatric research centers.

Located within the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center on Children’s main campus, the Institute's faculty and programs are a part of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

For more information on The Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research, please visit