Message from the CFRI

In the past 25 years, the Children’s Foundation Research Institute (CFRI) and its impact have grown substantially, enabling investigators at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to conduct groundbreaking research that will improve the lives of children in our community and beyond. This scientific report provides a glimpse into our investigators’ work in critical areas of research, such as congenital heart disease, epilepsy, obesity, tuberous sclerosis complex and diabetes.

The CFRI facilitates all basic and translational research at Le Bonheur by providing critical infrastructure. In the CFRI, investigators have access to state-of-the-art equipment and guidance for all aspects of the research process. The CFRI supports all of Le Bonheur’s service lines, and we have also strengthened relationships with other departments and colleges at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, as well as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Memphis.

The high productivity of CFRI investigators is evidenced by more than 220 peer-reviewed publications in 2019, with multiple articles in high impact journals, such as Acta Neuropathologica, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and Nature Communications. In the past year, our scientists have made breakthroughs in treating obesity and diabetes in children, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infections in infants, cystic fibrosis, kidney cysts and tumors in patients with tuberous sclerosis, patent ductus arteriosus in infants, life-threatening cardiomyopathies, liver and gastrointestinal diseases, complex orthopedic problems, severe trauma and pediatric neurological disorders, including complex seizures and brain tumors.

The generosity of our donors makes these achievements possible. The Children’s Foundation of Memphis played a pivotal role in establishing the CFRI and has continued to generously support our efforts. The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Plough Foundation, Brinkley Foundation and Belz Foundation have also made significant contributions to the CFRI.

The CFRI is dedicated to providing investigators with expertise, services, technology and resources to conduct research that will impact the children of today, as well as future generations. Moving forward, the efforts of the CFRI will enable Le Bonheur to become a nationally recognized pediatric research center and make significant contributions to the understanding, prevention and treatment of childhood disease and injury. We anticipate these contributions will continue to better the health and lives of children.

With gratitude,

Michael Wiggins, MBA, FACHE
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

Jon McCullers, MD
Senior Executive Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs,
Chief Operating Officer,
Dunavant Professor and Chair,
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Department of Pediatrics
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

Dennis Black, MD
Scientific Director,
Children's Foundation Research Institute
J.D. Buckman Professor,
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Department of Pediatrics
Vice President of Research,
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

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