The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has a long and distinguished tradition of research that has spanned more than 80 years and positioned the Hospital as a world-renowned pediatric research center. The many research breakthroughs at Children's Hospital have improved the lives of countless children not only in the Philadelphia region, but throughout the world.
Research at the Hospital had modest beginnings. The Hospital established its first research laboratory in 1922 as a single room in its basement. By 1931, the Hospital founded the “Society of Pediatric Research” for its expanding base of investigators, who conducted their experiments wherever space permitted.
These beginnings gained significant momentum in 1972 when Children's Hospital designated 70,000 square feet to research and established the Research Institute, the first pediatric research department in the country.
Today, the Hospital's entire research enterprise is organized under the aegis of the CHOP Research Institute and constitutes a separate organizational, administrative and financial entity within the Hospital.
While Research Institute investigators have academic homes in one of the Hospital's six departments and hold faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers also belong to interdisciplinary, cross-divisional Research Affinity Groups.
The affinity groups and their investigators are supported by more than a dozen Core Facilities that substantially enhance basic and clinical research programs by providing investigators with sophisticated research equipment, knowledgeable advisors and experienced support staff. The Research Institute invests annually in refreshing the cores and acquiring new cutting-edge resources to ensure that investigators have access to the best tools available.
As the number of research projects has grown and expanded over the years, so too have the facilities available to support investigators, their staff and administrative offices. Research at Children's Hospital is not confined to the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Pediatric Research Center or the Main Hospital Building, but expands to include three cross-campus buildings devoted to clinical research staff. In addition, construction is underway for a South Campus that will house several new research buildings.
Today, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute is home to one of the largest pediatric research programs in the country with more than $100 million in total federal awards and an annual budget of more than $200 million (FY08).
With a phenomenal increase in research staff, space and external funding, doubling twice in the past decade alone and exceeding the growth of the NIH's extramural budget, the Research Institute at Children's Hospital continues to build upon its rich research history and continue its pursuit to improve the health of children throughout the world.
Innovation to Intervention
Among the historical research breakthroughs that have made Children's Hospital an international pioneer in pediatric medicine are vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella, the development of a balloon catheter for use in cardiology, and the generation of methods for changing sickle-shaped red blood cells.
By fostering collaborations between clinical and basic scientists the Hospital's traditional “bench to bedside” philosophy has resulted in an array of other major scientific achievements.
Building upon its solid foundation in both clinical and laboratory investigation, the Hospital and its Research Institute continue on the course to pediatric research preeminence.
Research today at Children's Hospital reflects the institution's commitment to improve child health and concentrates on basic, translational and clinical research on issues of importance and relevance to child health. With more than 425 investigators and a research staff in the thousands, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute continues its groundbreaking research on diabetes, neonatal seizures, childhood cancer, hemophilia, pediatric heart disease, cystic fibrosis, nutrition disorders, hypercholesterolemia, mental retardation, AIDS, sickle cell disease and numerous other diseases and disorders that affect children. Among its distinguished investigators are seven members of the Institute of Medicine, two investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences, and NIH Merit Scholars.