News and Events

CHi Annual Scientific Retreat

CHI hosted its Third Annual Scientific Virtual Retreat on September 21, 2021. The program featured Keynote Speakers Carlos N. Pato, MD, PhD, Michele T. Pato, MD, and Tim Bigdeli, PhD. 


Dr. M. Chiara Manzini was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, RWJMS.

Agata Krzyzanowska was selected as a recipients of the 2021-20 Shatkin scholarship.  The committee of faculty was very impressed by her academic and scholarly accomplishments in graduate school. The award presentation will take place at the Annual Aaron Shatkin Lecture on Tuesday, November 2 at 4 pm.


New Grants Awarded

Several CHI Faculty received new grant awards:

Derek Sant’Angelo, PhD received a NIAID R21AI159066 Grant titled, “PLZF expression in adipose resident natural killer T cells” and a NJ Commission on Cancer Research Grant titled, “Functional evaluation of novel immunologically relevant receptor-ligand pairs identified via an unbiased protein interaction screen.”

Zhiping Pang, MD, PhD received two grants from the NIH NIMH titled, “Multimodal profiling neurons in 3D human cortical organoids using patch-seq” and “Loss-of-Function Analyses of SETD1A in Human Neural Model.”  He also received a NIH Shared Instrumentation Award for a new Multiphoton system that allows simultaneous multiphoton imaging and 3D optical stimulation.

Arnold B. Rabson, MD and Lawrence Kleinman, MD were awarded a grant from the RWJ Foundation Grant titled, “Bringing together child health research, a commitment to science and community engagement to create a Culture of Health for children in New Jersey.”

Manuel Jimenez, MD was awarded a AHRQ R18 HS028574 Grant titled, ”Ready and Healthy for Kindergarten: A Primary Care Innovation to Promote a 360-degree View of Child Health.”

Nancy Reichman, PhD received a NICHD R01 multi-PI Grant titled, “Fragile Families: The Third Generation.”

Max Tischfield, PhD was awarded a Rutgers Core Grant to perform computed tomography scans for analyzing skull malformations in craniosynostosis and a Young Investigator Award from Brain and Behavior Research Foundation titled,“Cognitive, sensory processing, and attentional control deficits in animal models for Tourette Syndrome with comorbid ADHD.”


New Papers Accepted for Publication

Comoletti D, Trobiani L, Chatonnet A, Bourne Y, Marchot P. Comparative mapping of selected structural determinants on the extracellular domains of cholinesterase-like cell-adhesion molecules. Neuropharmacology. 2021 Feb 15;184:108381. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108381.

Jimenez ME, Rivera-Núñez Z, Crabtree BF, Hill D, Pellerano MB, Devance D, Macenat M, Lima D, Martinez Alcaraz E, Ferrante JM, Barrett ES, Blaser MJ, Panettieri RA Jr, Hudson SV. Black and Latinx Community Perspectives on COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors, Testing, and Vaccines. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jul 1;4(7):e2117074. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.17074.

Congratulations to Drs. Davide Comoletti and Manual Jimenez!!!

New Papers Accepted for Publication

Davide Comoletti, DVM, PhD, just published two new papers.

“The structure-function relationship of a signaling-competent, dimeric Reelin fragment.” Authors: Turk LS, Kuang X, Dal Pozzo V, Patel K, Chen M, Huynh K, Currie MJ, Mitchell D, Dobson RCJ, D'Arcangelo G, Dai W, & Comoletti D.

“In trans neuregulin3-Caspr3 interaction controls DA axonal bassoon cluster development.” Authors: Cui W, Gao N, Dong Z, Shen C, Zhang H, Luo B, Chen P, Comoletti D, Jing H, Wang H, Robinson H, Xiong W-C, & Mei L.

The El Ouaamari and Pang Labs collaborated on and just published a new paper in Molecular Metabolism.

“Deconstructing the origins of sexual dimorphism in sensory modulation of pancreatic β cells.”  Authors: McEwan S, Kwon H, Tahiri A, Shanmugarajah N, Cai W, Ke J, Huang T,
Belton A, Singh B, Wang L, Pang Z, Dirice E, Engel EA, & El Ouaamari A.

Congratulations to Everyone!!!

CHI Students Receive 2021 Henry Rutgers Scholar Awards

2021 receipients include:  Anna Shi, Tischfield Laboratory; Cindy Song, Rabson Laboratory, Greg Garber, Denzin Laboratory; and Jay Phansalker, Pang Laboratory.

The Henry Rutgers Scholar Award recognizes graduating seniors who have completed outanding independent research projects leading to a thesis in their major field of study or an interdisciplinary thesis.  These awards are offered across all departments of the School of Arts and Sciences, and so represent only the very finest achievements of our students.

We are grateful to all of these wonderful students for their tremendous scientific conributions to their mentors, as well as graduate students and post-docs in each of these labs, for providing such thoughtful guidance and outstanding teaching.

Congratulations to Everyone!!!

New Papers Accepted for Publication

Dr. Gaetan Barbet has a new paper published in Nature Immunology.  The article is titled, "TAP dysfunction in dendritic cells enables noncanonical cross-presentation for T cell priming."  Authors: Barbet G, Nair-Gupta P, Schotsaert M, Yeung ST, Moretti J. Seyffrer F, Metreveli G, Gardner T, Choi A, Tortorella D, Tampe R, Khanna KM, Garcia-Sastre A, and Blander JM.

Agata Krzyzanowska just published a new paper in Scientific Reports.  The article is titled, "Activation of nuclear factor-kappa B by TNF promotes nucleus pulposus mineralization through inhibitation of ANKH and ENPPI."  Authors:  Krzyzanowska AK, Frawley RJ, Damie S, Chen T, Otero M and Cunningham ME.

Dr. Lisa Denzin has a new article published in the journal Immunity.  The article is titled, "Pleiotropic consequences of metabolic stress for the major histocompatibility complex class II molecule antigen processing and presentation machinery."  Authors: Clement C, Nanaware PP, Yamazaki T, Denzn LK, Stern LJ and Santambrogio L.

Congratulations to Everyone!!!

CHI Faculty Elected to the Society for Pediatric Research

Lisa Denzin, PhD, Derek Sant'Angelo, PhD and Nancy Reichman, PhD, Resident Scientists at the Child Health Institute of NJ and Faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, RWJMS, were all elected to the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR).  The SPR is the premier society for research on childhood diseases, with the goal of facilitating and promoting communications and research collaborations and catalyzing pediatric research.  Memorship is honorific and competitive. 

The election of these faculty to membership in the SPR is a recognition of their outstanding research and their status as leading researchers in the field of child health!  This is a remarkable achievement for CHI and for our Pediatric colleagues who really pushed these nominations forward.  We are so proud of these superb scientists who are moving child health research forward.

Congratulations to Nancy, Derek and Lisa!!!

New Papers Accepted for Publication

Liam Turk and Davide Comoletti, PhD announced they have published two new papers!

"Purification of heterodimeric Reelin construct to investigate binding stoichiometry." European Biophysics Journal.  14 October, 2020 Online.  Utilizing tandem affinity chromatography, we have purified the heterodimeric product with the aim of utilizing it to understand the importance of stoichiometry in the Reelin signaling pathway using primary neuronal cultures.  

"Synapse type-specific proteomic disection identified lgSF8 as a hippoampal CA3 microcircuit organizer" Nature Communications.  October, 2020.  This paper has state-of-the-art technology like the isolation and characterization of a specific type of synapse (mossy fibers synapses), electrophysiology, proteomics, EM, etc.

Faculty Awards Received

Dr. Zhiping Pang received the Chancellor Basic Sciences Researcher Award for his contributions to the study of neurodevelopment and neuropsychiatric disorders and discovery of new technologies to advance neuroscience research.

Dr. Nancy Reichman received the Chancellor Clinical or Health Sciences Investigator Award for her studies of the effect of socioeconomic status on infant and child health.

Student Receives Fellowship Award - Dr. Pang Lab

Andrew Boreland from Zhiping's lab was selected for the highly competitive New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translation Science (NJ ACTS) Fellows program.

The NJ ACTS Fellowship Program will equips its Fellows with enhanced knowledge, skills, and abilities that provide a broad introduction to clinical and translational research concurrent with their current pre- or postdoctoral research program. 

New Grant Awarded - Dr. Abdel El Ouaamari Lab

Dr. Abdelfattah El Ouaamari and his lab were awarded their first NIH R01 Grant on July 28, 2020.

This 5-year, nearly $2M grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will be used to study aspects of sensory neuromodulation of pancreatic beta cells in health and disease.

New paper accepted for publication - Lisa Denzin Lab

Dr. Denzin announced the paper titled, "Human Hepatitus B Viral Infection Outcomes are Linked to Naturally Occuring Variants of HLA-DOA that have Altered Function" was published in The Journal of Immunology. 

Austin M. Graves, Francesca Virdis, Eliot Morrison, Miguel A lvaro-Benito, Aly A. Khan, Christian Freund, Tatyana V. Golovkina, and Lisa K. Denzin.

Austin Graves and former CHI member, Francessca Virdis working in Lisa Denzin's lab, showed that variants of an antigen presentation protein are linked to the ability of humans to clear hepatitis B. Big implications for why some people clear viruses and others don't.

New paper accepted for publication - Zhiping Pang Lab

Dr. Zhiping Pang announced that the paper, titled, "Differential sensitivity of human neurons carrying opioid receptor (MOR) N40D variants in response to ethanol" was published in the journal, Alcohol. Authors: Matt Scarnati, Andrew Boreland, Marisa Joel and Zhiping Pang.

This study shows that iPS and iN technology are fantastic tools for studying gene variants associated with human disease. In this paper, Matt and the gang studied the connection between alcohol use disorders and a single nucleotide polymorphism of the mu-opioid receptor.

Dr. Davide Comoletti featured in New Zealand news program: The Spike Hunters

CHI Hosts its First Annual Centerwide Research Retreat

CHI hosted its first annual centerwide research rereat on September 17, 2019. The event took place at the Cook Student Center and included 15 faculty presentations, a poster session, discussion Q&A and luncheon.

CHI Receives Donation from Gertrude B. Kimble Charitable Trust

CHI received a generous donation from the Gertrude B. Kimble Charitable Trust of the Springpoint Senior Living Foundation. Ms. Kimble was a personal acquaintance of the late Dr. Robert Trelstad.

CHI Attends the Annual Hudson Shea Foundation "The Angel Walk"

Members of Child Health Institute of NJ participated in the Annual Hudson Shea Foundation "The Angel Walk" for pregnancy and infant loss held on September 14, 2019 in Van Saun Park in Paramus, NJ. The years' funding will be awarded to Dr. Todd Rosen to support his ongoing research.

hudson shea

CHI Welcomes New Faculty Member Dr. M. Chiara Manzini

Dr. M. Chiara Manzini joined the CHI Faculty in June, 2019 as a new Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology and is the Director of a newly established neurobehavioral core facility at CHI. Dr. Manzini came from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.. Her previous training in neurosciences and neurogenetics was at Columbia University and Boston Children's Hospital. Her laboratory studies neurodevelopmental genetics and is currently focused on genes that contribute to autism and to disorders of neuromuscular develoment. Following her arrival to CHI, Dr. Manzini was awarded her second NIH R01 grant for the study of genetic and molecular pathways in congenital disorders affecting brain and muscle function. Dr. Manzini has established her new lab at CHI, which includes: Dr. Adele Mossa (Postdoc); Dr. Pablo Munoz-Llancao (Postdoc); Dr. Paola Parlanti (Postdoc); Abigail Heller (Research Assistant); as well as several undergraduate students.

CHI hosts its Annual Research Symposium

Dr. Zhiping Pang Receives NIH Brain Initiative Grant Award

Dr. Zhiping Pang received a new NIH Brain Initiative Grant Award totaling $2,187,116. Funding will be used to develop genetically encoded detectors of neuropeptide releases.  These new tools will allow neuroscientists to have a real-time understanding of how small neuropeptides affect different aspects of brain health.

Child Health Institute Research Program for Undergraduate Honors Students

CHI hosted its 2nd annual research symposium for the undergraduate honors students who participated in the Child Health Institute Research Program or CHIRP this summer. CHIRP is a collaboration with the Rutgers Honors College and is hosted by Dr. Derek San'tAngelo. The event took place on July 16, 2019 and included student presentations and a reception. Eight outstanding undergraduates participated in this year's program.

CHI Hosts its Annual Endowed Lectureship

CHI hosted its annual Dr. Kenneth S. And Audrey S. Gould Lecture Series on May 2, 2019. This year's guest speaker was Brendan Lee, MD, PhD from Baylor College of Medicine.

CHI attends the Annual Hudson Shea Foundation "The Angel Walk"

Members of the Rutgers Department of Pediatrics and Child Health Institute of NJ participated in the Annual Hudson Shea Foundation "The Angel Walk" event held on September 15, 2018.

Child Health Institute Researchers Mentor Honors College Students

Over the summer semester, CHI hosted an innovative new research program for Rutgers Undergraduate Honors College Students, called "the Child Health Institute Summer Research Program or CHIRP. The program was co-hosted by Drs. Derek Sant'Angelo, CHI Associate Director for Basic Sciences and Sunita Kramer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students worked in the laboratories under the direct mentorship of CHI scientists and presented their own research findings at the inaugural "CHIRP Student Symposium", held on August, 3, 2018 at CHINJ.

In addition to providing a special research opportunity for these talented students, the CHRIP also increases collaboration between key components of Rutgers-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, helping leverage the powerful opportunities available when different parts of Rutgers work together.

Congratulations to the entire inaugural group of students and their mentors:

  • Immanuella Boah (’19, SAS), mentor: Arnold Rabson, MD
  • Sanya Bansal (’21, SAS), mentor: Svetlana Minakhina, PhD, and Fredric Wondisford, MD
  • Stephanie Ji (’21, EMSOP), mentor: Derek Sant'Angelo, PhD
  • Katherine Fink (’20, SAS), mentor: Moshmi Bhattacharya, PhD
  • Dhruv Shah (’21, RBS), mentor: Abdelfattah El Ouaamari, PhD
  • Patricia Shelton (’19, SAS), mentor: Manuel Jimenez, MD, MS

Dr. Lisa Denzin Presents to High School Students

Lisa Denzin, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics visited Edison High School in Edison, NJ to present her research and teach students what it is like to be a College Professor on April 9, 2018.

Rutgers Launches New Jersey Health Kids Initiative

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Rutgers 3 million for a collaboration that brings together pediatric research efforts across the university.

Read full ariticle: RU Launches NJ Health Kids Iniative Article

Annual Gould Lecture - Spring 2018

Annual Gould Lecture - Spring 2018

Arnold B. Rabson, MD, Director of CHI, is one of Four Rutgers University professors who have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

An honor bestowed by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance human knowledge. The honorees, representing Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), will be presented with official certificates and gold and blue rosette pins – the colors representing science and engineering – at the Feb. 17 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Read the full press release: Four Rutgers Professors Named Fellows of AAAS - Rutgers Today

Scientific Lectures

Special Science Seminar: Sponsored by the Generous Support of the Gould Endowment

Julie A. Blendy, PhD

Professor of Pharmacology University of Pennsylvania Medical School

December 12, 2017

Special Science Seminar: Sponsored by the Generous Support of the Gould Endowment

Michael B. Brenner, MD
Theodore B. Bayles

Professor of Medicine Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hosptial

February 13, 2018

Research Publications

Open Chromatin Profiling in hiPSC-Derived Neurons Prioritizes Functional Noncoding Psychiatric Risk Variants and Highlights Neurodevelopmental Loci.

Forrest MP, Zhang H, Moy W, McGowan H, Leites C, Dionisio LE, Xu Z, Shi J, Sanders AR, Greenleaf WJ, Cowan CA, Pang ZP, Gejman PV, Penzes P and Duran J.
Cell Stem Cell; 21: 1-14, 2017.

61_Forest_Cell Stem Cell 2017

μNeurocircuitry: establishing in vitro models of neurocircuits with human neurons.

Joseph A. Fantuzzo JA, De Filippis L, McGowan H, Yang N, Ng YH, Halikere A, Liu JJ, Hart RP, Wernig M, Zahn JD and Pang ZP.
Technology; 5(2):87-95, 2017.

60_Joseph_Technology 2017

Students in the News

Apoorva Halikerewas one of 4 students selected as recipients of the 2017-2018 Shatkin Scholarship, which recognizes a student's academic and scholarly accomplishments in graduate school.

Jingjing Liu Ph.D. from the Pang lab was invited to give a talk at the 12th Biennial Conference of the Chinese Neuroscience Society in Tianjing in October, 2017. The speaker panel included scientists from Harvard, Yale, Switzerland and China. Dr. Liu shared her recent results on, “Decoding the synaptic mechanism of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) in the lateral septum neurocircuitry” with the audience.”

Jingjing Liu Ph.D. from the Pang lab published a paper titled, “Pre-synaptic regulation of leptin in a defined lateral hypothalamus—ventral tegmental area neurocircuitry depends on energy state,” in The Journal of Neuroscience.

This paper provided important synaptic mechanisms describing how the hormone Leptin controls feeding and how dysfunction in its signaling leads to obesity.