UW-Madison researcher named Hartwell Investigator

June 3, 2010

Dr. De-Ann Pillers, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently received a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award from The Hartwell Foundation, based in Memphis, Tenn.

Pillers, a medical doctor and Ph.D., is chief of neonatology and vice chair for research in the School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Pediatrics. She also serves as medical director for the Meriter Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

She is one of 10 people, representing nine institutions, selected as Hartwell Investigators. The award offers support for three years at $100,000 direct cost per year. She won her award for her study of "Genetics of the Innate Response of the Infant as a Potential Biomarker for Premature Birth."

"We are very proud that our school has been selected again to receive this prestigious national award, and we are especially pleased that Dr. De-Ann Pillers, one of our truly gifted physician researchers, has been recognized and given support for the advancement of her science," says Robert N. Golden, dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health.

"One of the greatest challenges and opportunities for research in child heath is to identify and treat the causes that underlie our ever-increasing incidence of premature birth, and in so doing to eliminate its complications." Pillers says. "One legacy of 20th century medicine has been the dawn of the age of molecular medicine, in which understanding fundamental genetic mechanisms of disease may lead to novel treatment approaches."

"The goal of my project is to delineate potentially important genetic factors that may increase the risk of infection during pregnancy, a major contributor to premature birth," Pillers adds.

Through the Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards, The Hartwell Foundation provides financial support to exceptional individuals pursuing biomedical research to advance children's health.

In selecting awardees, The Hartwell Foundation takes into account the nature of the proposed innovation, the extent to which a strategic or translational approach might promote rapid clinical application of research results, the supportive role and extent of collaboration in the proposed research, and the institutional commitment to provide encouragement and technical support to the investigator.

The Hartwell Foundation seeks to inspire innovation and achievement by funding early-stage, transformative ideas with the potential to benefit children of the United States.