Child Health Research Institute

About Us

The Child Health Research Institute was established in 2006 to provide the environment necessary to focus on and develop a wide variety of unique research concepts and to support pilot research activities of faculty to obtain data necessary to submit research proposals to outside agencies. The institute also supports fellows and residents during their research rotation which is a requirement of their Pediatric and Pediatric Sub-Specialty training programs.

The development of a sustainable Pediatric research program that encompasses basic science, bench-to-bedside, clinical and outcomes projects has required focused administrative support and stable infrastructure that supports initiative from within and outside of the Department of Pediatrics. The Child Health Research Institute was established and continues to function to further these research initiatives that generate extramural funding for the PIs.

The Child Health Research Institute is designed to promote multidisciplinary research, provide a framework for collaborative projects and enhance collaboration among and between basic science and clinical faculty within the Department of Pediatrics and across the UF Health Science Center. Facilitating the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and resources creates a dynamic, collegial environment that fosters innovation and promotes excellence.

The Institute has been an integral part of the process of establishing pre-eminent pediatric translational research programs with NIH-funded investigators creating synergy with the Cancer Center, Brain Institute, Genetics Institute, Diabetes Research Center, and the Powell Gene Therapy Center. The Institute fills an infrastructural gap by providing support for collaborative research across divisions of the Department of Pediatrics and the Health Science Center; fostering interactions and collaborations by bridging the gap among physicians, physicians/scientists, and basic scientists on campus.

Team Members

Name Title Email
Rumana Akhter Biological Scientist III akhterr@ufl.edu
Ibukun A Akinyemi POSTDOC ASO aakinyemi@ufl.edu
Julie A Berthy Clinical Research Manager jberthy@ufl.edu
Radhika S Bhake Biological Scientist II radhikabhake@ufl.edu
Valerie M Bowen shelley.bowen@ufl.edu
Barry J Byrne Professor And Associate Chair barry.byrne@ufl.edu
Youseline Cajusma ycajusma@ufl.edu
Kerven Cassion OPS – Time Limited k.cassion@ufl.edu
Emilee T Cato OPS-Spons Prjs Non-Clerical emileecato@ufl.edu
Vijayendran Chandran Assistant Professor vijayendran@ufl.edu

Vision, Mission, and Goals

The vision of the Child Health Research Institute is to be nationally recognized as outstanding among academic departments in our core missions of acquiring and imparting knowledge related to child health and human development and applying that knowledge to the care of children. The CHRI supports infrastructure and fosters collaboration between investigators and teams from various departmental specialty divisions, the College of Medicine departments, the Health Science Center colleges, and the main campus departments.

Our mission is to promote innovation and advance discovery in the biomedical and psychosocial aspects of child health and human development, to educate and train Pediatric scientists, and to directly translate basic scientific discoveries into new patient-oriented therapies. We strive to achieve distinction by being a highly competitive and adaptable leader of change, and by focusing on quality, performance and value in selected innovative programs of excellence, which have a high impact on child health. This includes programs of fundamental discovery, applied clinical programs, and innovation in education, child health policy and pediatric healthcare systems development.

Our primary goal is to increase NIH funding for pediatric research and to achieve a ranking in the top 30 in the U.S. To achieve this goal we focus on the development of new translational therapies with particular emphasis in the strategic areas of genetics, cancer, diabetes and neurosciences. Further, we strive to build diversity within our faculty and trainees.


Grant Funded Medical Miracles: Mike Stanzione

Barry Byrne

When first diagnosed with Pompe disease five years ago, the news was dismal. With muscles growing more and more dysfunctional, doctors in Saddle Brook, NJ told Mike he would never leave the hospital. He would certainly never breathe without a ventilator again.

But with one call to Dr. Barry Byrne, UF pediatric cardiologist and avid researcher, his prognosis changed. Over the course of the past twenty years, Dr. Byrne has been the recipient of several federal and foundation-level research grants which fund his construction of a stern foundation in genetic breakthroughs that could one day lead to the cure to Pompe disease and other muscular generative diseases.

For Mike this breakthrough was a diaphragmatic pacemaker which allows him to do the unthinkable—breathe on his own for up to an hour at a time. Because of this, on October 14th, 2011 Mike was able to return home to his wife and son for the first time in four years. Though Dr. Byrne will tell you this is only the first step of many towards finding a cure, for Mike it’s the miracle that brought him home.


Contact Information

Barry Byrne, MD, PhD
Director
PO Box 100296
Gainesville, FL 32610-0296
barry.byrne@ufl.edu