TL1 Trainees


  • Matthieu K. Chardon, MS PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Department of Physiology
    Project Title: Computer Controlled Pediatric Regional Anesthesia to Improve Patient Safety
    Project Description: Matthieu Chardon, PhD, will be developing a tool to measure the effectiveness of local anesthetic dosage in children with the goal of reducing dosage and increasing safety. “Regional anesthesia in pediatrics has dramatically increased over the past 30 years because it provides localized pain relief, diminishes opioid use and facilitates earlier mobilization, internal feeding and hospital discharge,” said Dr. Chardon. “It is also used frequently due to concerns about the effect of general anesthesia on brain development.” Nonetheless, Dr. Chardon explains that there are several concerns surrounding local anesthesia, and that there are no tools to determine its effectiveness or toxicity in real time. As a result, he is seeking to develop a solution in partnership with his mentors Santhanam Suresh, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, and Charles Heckman, MD, Professor of Physiology/Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences.
  • Bimal P. Chaudhari, MD MPH

    Clinical Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology
    Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
    Project Title: Electronic Medical Record Integration of Genomic Testing Results
    Project Description: Bimal Chaudhari, MD, MPH, is developing a knowledge base that will deliver genomic testing results to non-geneticist clinicians via an electronic medical record. Many patients may benefit from genomic testing, but not all physicians feel prepared to take action based on the results of genetic testing. However, this new knowledge base will address this problem by offering clinical decision support that is patient specific and compatible with a physician’s workflow. “Right now, methods for DNA sequencing are fairly robust and well-developed but methods of sequence interpretation are evolving,” said Dr. Chaudhari. “The result is that, unlike an X-ray or blood culture, the interpretation of a sequencing test result can change over time. Results may also be more or less relevant at different points in time.” “The TL-1 program provides me the support I need to develop my knowledge base in this area and gain practical experience,” said Dr. Chaudhari. “I'm developing collaborations in fields I didn't even know existed a year ago. My hope is that this relatively novel collaboration is the foundation for sustained extra-mural research funding.”
  • Lajja Desai, MD

    Pediatric Cardiology Fellow
    Project Title: Novel Non-Invasive cMRI Technique to Estimate Continuous Oxygen Saturations in Pediatric Heart Disease
    Project Description: Despite gains in survival, decreased quality of life and morbidity continue to be challenges in congenital heart disease (CHD). Until recently, blood oxygen content in the heart and central vessels (i.e., ‘oximetry’) has only been measured by an invasive technology: catheterization. However, this technique does not take into account complex streaming effects in complex CHD. The course and extent of deoxygenated blood streaming likely contributes to poor tissue growth and abnormal neurodevelopment. Non-invasive data obtained with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) has improved surveillance capabilities in these children and adults. Lurie Children’s and Northwestern University are leaders in advanced cMRI. Our long-term goal is to establish an accurate, non-invasive and non-Gadolinium-contrast cMRI technique (T2 mapping) to estimate continuous oxygen saturations in the heart and vasculature.
  • Michael Dominick DiVito, PhD

    Post Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Transplant
    Department of Surgery
    Project Title: Differentiating Hepatocytes from iPSCs to Treat Pediatric Metabolic Liver Disease
    Project Description: Dr. DiVito will be studying ways to treat pediatric metabolic liver deficiencies using induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells derived from liver cells. He plans to improve iPS cell differentiation protocols and to develop an infusion method for these cells with the overall goal of making both in vitro and living models of metabolic liver diseases that can be used to develop stem cell therapies and other treatments for these diseases. “I am excited at the potential of using stem cells with our lab’s bioreactor systems to develop disease models and cell therapies for pediatric metabolic diseases,” said Dr. DiVito. “With this award and the resources it offers, I feel I am in a great position to fulfill these goals. I am excited to see the output of this project after two years under the TL1 training program” Because the TL1 program promotes interdisciplinary mentorship, Dr. DiVito will be able to not only have the opportunity to enhance his engineering knowledge but also acquire new knowledge of hepatology, stem cell biology and other topics important to his research.
  • Alicia Lenzen, MD

    Hematology/Oncology Fellow
    Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, IL
    Project Title: A Novel siRNA Approach for Targeting Immunosuppresive IDO1 in Pediatric Brain Tumors
    Project Description: Alicia Lenzen, MD, will be studying a novel form of treatment for pediatric brain tumors that will use immunotherapy combined with nanotechnology. She will be researching the inflammation-induced expression of indoleamine 2,3 deoxygenase 1 (IDO1), its role in suppressing tumor immunity, and therefore its promising therapeutic reactivation of the immune response against brain tumors. Dr. Lenzen will also integrate nanotechnology as a direct delivery mode into central nervous system tumors in order to create precise targeting. “This TL1 training will facilitate the building blocks of that research foundation now, obtaining findings related to the development of novel treatment regimens using mouse brain tumor models, with the possibility of direct translation into patients,” said Dr. Lenzen. “It will also allow me a look into multi-disciplinary work in order to create the best projects.”
  • Yen-Sheng Lin, MS PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)
    Project Title: The Effects of tDCS on Abnormal Synergistic Coupling in Children with CP
    Project Description: Gait deviations in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy are multifactorial including sagittal plane impairments at the ankle and knee combined with hip hiking and circumduction. These kinematic patterns are metabolically inefficient and may lead to significant musculoskeletal comorbidities including joint diseases. While it has been proposed that weakness, spasticity, and leg length discrepancy may contribute, the underlying factors remain unknown. We argue that these impairments may be a manifestation of aberrant motor coordination. The goal of this project is to construct a training paradigm to help shape the underlying motor sequence during gait in children with cerebral palsy with hemiparesis. The technique will leverage our understanding of the motor control of hemiparetic gait and neuromodulation for locomotor training.
  • Michael G. Sherenian, MD

    Allergy/Immunology Fellow - Department of Pediatrics
    Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
    Project Title: Development of a Virtual Flow Cytometry for use on Longitudinal Large Cohort Studies
    Project Description: Michael Sherenian, MD, will be studying the association between whole methylome sequencing and T-cell subsets to identify and establish differences between these cells. In doing so, Dr. Sherenian wants to develop alternative ways to examine T-cell development and pathology in allergic diseases. “The skills that I develop through the program will promote my learning of asthma, allergic disease, and the immunologic basis of these conditions,” said Dr. Sherenian. “The experience will increase my knowledge of important research gaps, relevant epidemiological approaches, and understanding of data science.”
  • Susan M. Slattery, MD

    Pediatric Neonatology Fellow
    Northwestern University, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Prentice Women's Hospital
    Project Title: Process Vulnerabilities in Hospital Discharge after Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Stays
    Project Description: Dr. Slattery will be focusing her research on the timing of a safe transition home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Along with her mentors, she hopes to develop a valid, reliable predictive tool using data captured in the Electronic Health Record.


  • Daniel Giles Fort, MPH PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Health and Biomedical Informatics
    Department of Preventive Medicine
    Project Title: Informatics Interventions to Accelerate Pediatric Clinical Trial Recruitment
    Project Description: Dan Fort, PhD, MPH, will be researching ways to use informatics in order to accelerate pediatric clinical trial recruitment. To do this, he will be looking at patterns in clinical trial recruitment success and failure as well as digging into historical cohort selection queries for insights into how they might be modified to increase the number of patients identified for recruitment. “This award is vital early career support, allowing me to build a solid body of investigatory, preliminary work for R-scale funding proposals as well as address important skill gaps in team and decision sciences,” said Dr. Fort.
  • Brian T. Burmeister, PhD

    Postdoctoral Researcher
    Department of Pharmacology
    Project Title: Determining the Mechanism of Pediatric Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity
    Project Description: Dr. Burmeister will be studying patient-specific responses to chemotherapy agents, specifically doxorubicin which is used to treat pediatric cancer patients. Doxorubicin is very effective in treating pediatric cancer, however one of the drug’s side effects, cardiotoxicity, limits it’s usefulness. As a result, Dr. Burmeister will be working to determine the molecular mechanisms that regulate doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in order to identify new targets for drug discovery.