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Pediatric Research Day

Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital exterior building on a sunny day

Celebrating the promise of today's research becoming tomorrow's medical advances

Pediatric Research Day is an annual event that celebrates the promise of today's research becoming tomorrow's medical advances. This event also is an opportunity for researchers and caregivers at Penn State College of Medicine, other Penn State campuses and in the community to discover new applications for their work or to talk about potential areas for collaboration.

"We are the region's leading provider of medical care for children, and we continually seek innovations to improve the quality of care we deliver. By investing in research, we are able to discover better approaches to preventing and treating childhood diseases and to utilize today's most advanced therapies. By sharing our knowledge through forums such as Pediatric Research Day, we contribute to improving children's health everywhere," said Barbara Miller, MD, Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Christopher Millard Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology, and Associate Director for Pediatrics, Penn State Cancer Institute.

Contact us

Beth Brennan with questions at

Tenth Pediatric Research Day - How the environmental becomes the biological

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 from 11:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, PA

A keynote lecture will be given by Steve Cole, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the UCLA School of Medicine. His research uses genomics and computational bioinformatics to map the biological pathways by which social environments influence gene expression by viral, cancer, and immune cell genomes. He pioneered the field of human social genomics and supports a world-wide array of research programs in his role as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory.

The day will also feature a presentation by Heather H. Burris, MD, attending Neonatologist at CHOP Newborn Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Burris uses molecular epidemiologic approaches to study the intersection of social and environmental factors and how they contribute to birth outcome disparities.

Registration is required

Steps to submit an abstract

Accepted abstracts will be presented as posters and will also be printed in the research day program. Note that abstracts that do not adhere to these guidelines may not be reviewed or printed. Please read all instructions before you start to prepare your abstract.

Abstract structure and formatting

  • Abstracts are limited to one page including all figures and tables.
  • Use the abstract template provided with 1-inch margins.
  • Edit the title and authors/affiliations as instructed in the template.
  • The title should be in bold Arial 12-point font.
  • The authors, affiliations, and body of the abstract must be in Arial 11-point font.
  • Do not edit the header.
  • Use the headings provided for the body of the abstract: Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusion.
  • The body of the abstract (excluding title, authors/affiliations, figures and tables) can be no more than 300 words.
  • One or two small figures or tables may be included. Figures and tables must be within the 1-page maximum and the 1-inch margins, and must be legible without magnification. Figures must be readable printed in grayscale.

Abstract submission instructions

  • Submit the abstract via REDCap by 11:59 p.m. on January 15, 2019. Please note: there will be no extensions given.
  • You will need to answer additional questions when you submit your abstract. Please review the questions on the REDCap submission form now because some information may take time to gather. We will request your IRB number for research involving human subjects and IUCAC number for research involving vertebrate animals.
  • Please note that we may return or reject your abstract if we do not have sufficient information, particularly if the reviewers believe that IRB assessment was required but was not obtained.

Abstract content

  • The primary goal of Pediatric Research Day is to share research that has not been previously published. We will consider acceptance of work that has not been previously published or accepted for publication (except in abstract form). Please see this page ( for information on submitting previously published or accepted work.
  • We will consider acceptance of works in progress as long as some preliminary data are available for inclusion in the abstract at the time of submission.
  • We will also consider reports of quality improvement and community projects, but these reports must include data about the process or outcomes of the project.
  • If we receive closely related abstracts with overlapping authors, we may ask you to combine these abstracts and/or may only accept one of the submitted abstracts. If you plan on submitting closely related abstracts, you may include a brief note to the review committee about why you think multiple abstracts are appropriate in your submission email(s).
  • If you have a question about the suitability of an abstract for Pediatric Research Day or feedback regarding the abstract submission process, please email

Considerations while preparing abstract

  • Abstract reviewers and Pediatric Research Day attendees have a variety of backgrounds and include clinicians, trainees, and basic science, clinical, and public health researchers - keep this in mind when composing your abstract.
  • Please make sure the relevance of the work to pediatrics is clear in the abstract.
  • You may include 1-2 brief background sentences in the Objective section if it is necessary to explain the rationale for your project or its relevance to child health to a general audience. Most of your abstract should be used to describe the methods and results.
  • Make sure that information is provided in the appropriate section: methods should be in the methods section, and results in the results section.
  • Make sure that your conclusions are supported by your results. In particular, ensure that any causal language (e.g. impacts, affects, increases, reduces, prevents, etc.) or direct claims of causation are justified by your study methods and results

Young Investigator Awards

  • Eligibility for Young Investigator Awards (YIA) is limited to trainees (at any level) and junior faculty members (7 years or fewer from completion of training) who are the first author of an abstract, and who are primarily responsible for the research in the abstract.
  • Young Investigator Award finalists will be chosen on the basis of submitted abstracts. Finalists will be required to do an oral presentation (7 minute presentation with 3 minutes for questions) of their abstract at Pediatric Research Day. Finalists may choose to present a poster in addition to the oral presentation if they wish.
  • Recipients of the Young Investigator Awards will be determined at PRD based on the quality of the science and the communication of that science during the oral presentations. Recognition of all finalists and award winners will occur at the end of Pediatric Research Day.

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Lunch and Poster viewing

12:30 p.m.-12:35 p.m. - Introduction
Carrie Daymont, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Pediatric and Public Health Sciences

12:35 p.m.-12:40 p.m. - Welcome
Sinisa Dovat, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Basic Science Research, Department of Pediatrics

12:40 p.m.-12:45 p.m. - Introduction: Keynote Lecture
Sarah M. Iriana, MD, Interim Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Associate Professor of Pediatrics

12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m. - Keynote Lecture
Social Regulation of Gene Expression
Steve Cole, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine

1:45 p.m.- 2:45 p.m. - Young Investigator Award Finalist Presentations
Moderator: Valerie I. Brown, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics

2:45 p.m.-3:10 p.m. - Break

3:10 p.m.-3:15 p.m. - Introduction: Invited Lecture
Carrie Daymont, MD, MSCE

3:15 p.m.- 4:15 p.m. - Invited Lecture
The role environmental factors play in racial disparities in preterm birth
Heather Burris, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

4:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m. - Work in Progress Presentations
Moderator: Valerie I. Brown, MD, PhD

Childhood trauma, attachment, and psychophysiological stress response
Brian Allen, PsyD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Director of Mental Health Services, Center for the Protection of Children

Dissecting the glioblastoma microenvironment
Wei Li, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Universal vs. targeted school screening for adolescent major depressive disorder
Deepa Sekhar, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Academic General Pediatrics

Penn State pediatric cardiac assist devices: Update on current research and development
Joseph B. Clark, MD, FACS, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery

5:15 p.m.-5:25 p.m. - Young Investigator Award Presentations
Sarah M. Iriana, MD

5:25 p.m.-5:30 p.m. - Closing remarks
Valerie I. Brown, MD, PhD
Carrie Daymont, MD, MSCE

Check back for information on making scientific posters and links to resources for making well-designed posters.
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State College of Medicine
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