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Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis and Dr. Sydney Rice symbolize the vision and limitless possibilities of the research at the UA Steele Center

EXTRAORDINARY THINGS HAPPEN HERE For 25 years, the UA Steele Children’s Research Center has been unlocking the secrets to some of the most challenging children’s diseases. It takes passion, limitless vision and a steadfast commitment to improve children’s health. We keep moving forward, asking big questions that expand the boundaries of knowledge. This is what leads to new discoveries, better treatments and cures. We couldn’t do it without YOU—our community supporters, volunteer groups and donors. Together, we’re creating a healthier future for children.

RESEARCH AREAS: Allergy & Immunology Autism Autoimmune Disorders Cancer Cardiology Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy


Critical Care Diabetes (Type 1) Gastroenterology & Nutrition Genetics Infectious Diseases Neonatology Pulmonary Diseases

Meet Alexander Rundquist, diagnosed with cancer when he was six weeks old. Now 15, Alexander is doing well. Read about his continuing journey on page 21.

CONTENTS Message from the Director.................................................................................................................. 5 25 Years of Impact................................................................................................................................. 6 Historical Highlights............................................................................................................................. 8 Louise Thomas: A Legacy of Service, Motivated by Love............................................................... 18 Then and Now: Alexander Rundquist................................................................................................ 21 PJ Calihan: From Pain to Playing......................................................................................................... 22 Then and Now: Danny Lochhead........................................................................................................ 23 First of Its Kind: CPAE Center of Excellence..................................................................................... 24 Hope and Healing for Holland............................................................................................................ 25 Research in Action: NHE8, Colon Cancer, IBD and the Gut Microbiome.................................... 29 Dr. Andreas Theodorou: 25 Years of Teaching, Healing and Discovery....................................... 31 Our Vision: Looking Forward............................................................................................................... 32 Grateful for Groups Who Give............................................................................................................. 34

Arizona Elks Major Projects......................................................................................................... 34

PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers)...................................................................... 36

Father’s Day Council Tucson........................................................................................................ 40

Kids of Steele.................................................................................................................................. 43

Tucson Advisory Board................................................................................................................. 45

Led by Ginny Clements, ‘Louise Thomas Endowed Chair’ Completed!............................... 45

Grateful for Organizations................................................................................................................... 46

The Steele Foundation.................................................................................................................. 46

Angel Charity for Children, Inc................................................................................................... 47

Armstrong McDonald Foundation.............................................................................................. 48

Courtney’s Courage....................................................................................................................... 49

Grateful for Families............................................................................................................................. 50

Dorrance Family Foundation....................................................................................................... 50

Words of Gratitude for the Dorrance Family Foundation...................................................... 51

The Diamond Family..................................................................................................................... 52

The Cowin Family.......................................................................................................................... 54

Karen and Bob Hobbs, Sr............................................................................................................. 55

Alan and Jan Levin......................................................................................................................... 56

Curtis Cosden................................................................................................................................. 57

Helen Wertheim............................................................................................................................. 58

Ruth and Paula Mondschein....................................................................................................... 58

Philanthropy Impacts Research.......................................................................................................... 59 Photographer and Philanthropist: Allison Tyler Jones.................................................................... 59 New Endowments Established............................................................................................................ 60 Jeannine and Mia Mason Team Up to Create Hope........................................................................ 63 Your Giving, Your Legacy..................................................................................................................... 64 Research Means Everything to Families like Holland’s.................................................................. 64 Faculty 2017-2018.................................................................................................................................. 65




FROM THE DIRECTOR Dear Friends, We hope you enjoy this special publication, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center! We have made significant advances and impact in children’s health over these last 25 years, as you will see in the following pages. We couldn’t do it without you! Looking Back As I look back over the last 25 years, I’m simply amazed at what we’ve accomplished. When I arrived at the UA Steele Center in 1995, I had big dreams—dreams to make the center Arizona’s beacon of science devoted to improving children’s health through research. It’s hard to imagine now, but back then, there was no pediatric basic science research being conducted in Arizona. My first tasks were to secure the necessary state-of-the-art research equipment and recruit the best physicians, scientists and physician-scientists to advance our knowledge in pediatric health. Our Present With the help from grant funding, philanthropy and extraordinary community support, the UA Steele Center has grown into a world-class pediatric research center. We now have about 50 researchers conducting approximately 50 research projects! We continue to receive important NIH and other grant support, which is a testament to our dedicated faculty. Because of supporters like you, and in partnership with Banner Health, we established the Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (CPAE) Center of Excellence at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center, the first of its kind in the nation to implement a model of clinical care, research and education to treat and research a complex spectrum of diseases known as “postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathies.” This is an amazing example of what we can accomplish by working together! Looking Forward The UA Steele Center continues to be on the forefront of medicine. Indeed, we have created a 10-year vision. As you will see, we will focus our research in autoimmune diseases, genomics (as it relates to personalized medicine in kids), and behavioral/developmental pediatrics. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of the UA Steele Center over the years. Without you, we would not exist, and our advances in science would not have been realized. There is not enough space in this publication to thank everyone specifically, but please know how grateful we are to each and every one of you. Thank you for sharing in our passionate quest to improve children’s health through research. In infinite gratitude,

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD Professor and Head, UA Department of Pediatrics Director, UA Steele Children’s Research Center Physician-in-Chief, Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center Horace W. Steele Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research Alan and Janice Levin Family Endowed Professor in Pediatrics The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson The University of Arizona Health Sciences





Pediatric infectious disease physician-scientist Dr. Sean Elliott with a young patient

$125 million in research grants and $55 million in philanthropic contributions produces amazing results.


Academic children’s medical research facility in Arizona



Future researchers trained

“Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy Center of Excellence” in the United States to offer an integrated model of clinical care, research and education




Curcumin (in turmeric) blocks metastasis of colon cancer

Research labs

FDA-approved scorpion antivenom developed




To clone sodium/hydrogen exchanger protein NHE8

Number of clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients

Endowments supporting faculty and research



New drug and delivery system to treat ulcerative colitis

To identify the role bile acids play in development of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies

ESTABLISHED PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center

ONLY ADA-accredited clinic in Tucson devoted to children with diabetes (Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes)

TWO Prestigious MERIT Awards from NIH for superior science


HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS Here are just a few of the many highlights from the past 25 years. Please visit the UA Steele Center website at to see a comprehensive overview of the center’s history.

19 9 0 Construction begins. The Steele Foundation, led by the foundation’s President Dan Cracchiolo, donates $2 million to help build the center. The center now is officially the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center in honor of Phoenix businessman Horace Steele.


1 9 86 Arizona Board of Regents approves Children’s Research Center (CRC) as a separate administrative unit; approves one-story facility. UA Dept. of Pediatrics head, Lynn Taussig, MD, appointed center director.

1 9 8 8 Arizona Board of Regents approves expansion of the center to four stories.

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1987 Louise Thomas named first chair of the CRC advisory board. Louise played a pivotal role in the creation of the CRC. CRC advisory board votes to expand plans for the center to four stories; commits to raise $7 million.


Joan and Donald Diamond make initial lead gift to the capital campaign.

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Anderson, DeBartolo, Pan, Inc., selected as architects for the CRC. Sundt Corporation chosen as construction manager. Carnes Construction Inc., selected to build the center.

Children’s Research Center (CRC) advisory board is formed.

Angel Charity for Children, Inc., selects the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center as its beneficiary, donating $783,000 toward the building project.

Women’s 20/30 Club of Southern Arizona hold first charitable event to benefit the CRC.

Robert Erickson, MD, appointed associate director of the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center. He is named Douglas S. Holsclaw Family Endowed Chair in Genetics.

Otakar Koldovsky, MD, PhD, receives prestigious Shwachman Award. This award honors a physician-scientist who has made major, life-long scientific or educational contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition in North America.

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19 92:The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center Opens!

October 26, 1992 Building is complete! The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center officially opens. Dedication ceremony is led by UA President Manuel Pacheco and UA College of Medicine Dean, Jim Dalen, MD. Week of celebration includes Mad Hatters Ball and Scientific Symposium.

Anthony F. Philipps, MD, professor and section chief of neonatology, appointed acting director of the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center.

Arizona Elks Major Projects, Inc., adopts the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center as its major project. Makes pledge to donate $250,000 $300,000 annually.

Arizona Elks Major Projects, Inc., raises $250,000 to establish the Arizona Elks Laboratories for Transplantation Research.

Maxine Henig named chair of the advisory board.

Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities donates $100,000 for nutrition research.

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Dedication of Angel Charity for Children – Wings for Genetic Research.

Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation provides funding for research on Niemann-Pick Type C disease at the center. This was the first lab in the country funded by the Parseghian Foundation.

Father’s Day Council Tucson hosts its first Father of the Year Awards Gala to raise money for type 1 diabetes research.


19 9 5 Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, appointed director of the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center. Dr. Ghishan came from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where he was professor and vice chairman of pediatrics/research and director of the Division of Gastroenterology and the Clinical Nutrition Research Center.

Caitlin Robb Foundation forms, in memory of the daughter of Ross and Jennifer Robb of Mesa, who died of neuroblastoma when she was 2 years old. The foundation supports neuroblastoma research at the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center.

1996 Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, receives prestigious MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) award from the NIH. He was one of only three researchers in the area of pediatric gastroenterology in the nation to receive this award. The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center receives $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study growth factors in human breast milk. Dorothy Novak named a life member of the advisory board. Dorothy, who passed away in 1997, was a longtime supporter of the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center. The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center was one of the sites to test a new drug to help prevent Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a common, sometimes fatal, disease affecting infants and children. With data from the center and other research centers, the drug, RespiGam, was approved by the FDA in 1996. Retired pediatrician Virginia Furrow, MD, named a life member of the advisory board. Dr. Furrow, who passed away in 2010, was a passionate advocate of children’s health and a generous supporter of the center.


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The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease choose the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center as one of the seven sites in the nation to study asthma among low-income children. The grant represents collaboration among the Arizona Respiratory Center, the UA Department of Pediatrics and pediatricians in the community. The study was led by pediatric pulmonologist Wayne Morgan, MD, professor.

1 9 9 8 W.M. Keck Foundation awards $1.1 million to establish Keck Bioimaging Core Facility at the center. The UA establishes the first pediatric center in the nation to research alternative therapies in pediatrics. This effort is funded by a $5 million grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and is a collaboration with the UA Program in Integrative Medicine (now the UA Center for Integrative Medicine). Phoenix Advisory Board is created, led by Kim Sterling.

Steve Lynn named chair of the Tucson advisory board.

19 9 9 Jerry and Kathy Zillman establish Tee Up For Tots, Inc., to raise money for pediatric cancer research and to help families of cancer patients. They fund the Courtney Page Zillman Fellows in Pediatric Cancer Research in memory of their daughter, Courtney, who died from neuroblastoma at the age of 4. Tee Up For Tots raises $50,000 with its inaugural golf tournament.

The Phoenix Women’s Board for the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center is formed. Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning are the founding chairs. Mrs. Laura Bush visited the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center while on the presidential campaign trail.

2000 The Diamond Foundation contributes $310,000 to establish the Diamond Microarray Core Facility.

The Phoenix Women’s Board hosts their first event, the “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon. The board adopts a nickname: PANDA – People Acting Now Discover Answers. Funds raised enabled the center to purchase an AutoGen Robot, used to prepare and purify DNA to define genetic origins of disease.

Grand re-opening of the Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults on the third floor of UMC. Thanks to the Arizona Elks Major Projects the clinic was completely renovated.

The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center hosts the first annual continuing medical education conference on pediatric integrative medicine. The threeday conference was attended by 350 pediatricians from across the nation. Financial support was provided by the Arizona Elks Major Projects.

Maurice Zee, MD, named life member of the Tucson advisory board. Dr. Zee was a longtime pediatrician and passionate supporter of children’s causes.

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Joan Diamond appointed life member of the Tucson advisory board.

Angel Charity for Children Inc., pledges $750,000 to create the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes, providing research space and new clinical space.

Ray Novak, MD, named chair of the Tucson advisory board.


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Sherman Garver, PhD, research assistant professor, receives the first Investigator Award from the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to research Niemann-Pick Type C disease.


Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, awarded the prestigious 2004 Shwachman Award. This award honors a physician-scientist who has made major, life-long scientific or educational contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition in North America.

The Sara Courtney Memorial Walk/Run was founded after the untimely death of 26-year-old Sara Courtney due to complications from type 1 diabetes. The event raised $45,000 to fund type 1 diabetes education and research.

Research conducted by Courtney Page Zillman Fellow, Ryan Falsey, PhD candidate, discovers that Withaferin A (the medicinal agent found in the herb winter cherry) shows promise in killing cancer cells. Future studies may prove Withaferin A could be used in less toxic chemotherapy treatments.

The Deanne M. Diamond Pulmonary Function Lab is established from a donation made in honor of Joan and Donald Diamond’s 50-year anniversary.

Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes is completed.

The Arizona Elks Major Projects commit to create the Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Neonatology Research.

Arizona Elks Major Projects provide funding to renovate the pediatric residency offices and create a conference room within the office. The space was dedicated to the memory of past Grand Exalted Ruler Marvin Lewis and named the Marvin Lewis Pediatric Teaching Center. Eddie and Nadine Basha make lead gift to create the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. Mel and Enid Zuckerman make a major gift toward the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. Maxine Henig named life member of the Tucson advisory board.


The Steele Foundation, led by the foundation’s president Dan Cracchiolo, donates funds to create the Horace W. Steele Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research.

The Raise a Racquet for Kids tennis event fundraiser raises funds for the pediatric cancer Phase 1 clinical trial for a novel anticancer drug whose mechanism of action was discovered by former Steele Center researcher Luke Whitesell, MD. The clinical trial was led by pediatric oncologist Rochelle Bagatell, MD. Raise a Racquet for Kids was established by former tennis pro turned pediatric cancer researcher, Anne Fritz.

The Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center drops “Memorial” from its name, officially changing it to the Steele Children’s Research Center.

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University Medical Center, in collaboration with the UA Steele Center, announced plans to build Tucson’s first children’s academic medical center — Diamond Children’s Medical Center. Joan and Donald Diamond made a $15 million lead gift.

After a national search, Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, is named the first Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. Dr. Katsanis’ research efforts are focused on cancer immunotherapy and developing therapeutic vaccines to boost patients’ immune systems after successful chemotherapy treatments.

Steele Center investigator Jennifer Uno, PhD, discovers link between protein and bone disease. The study, “The Role of TNF-alpha in DownRegulation of Osteoblast Phex Gene Expression in Experimental Murine Colitis,” was published in the prestigious journal Gastroenterology.

Robert P. Erickson, MD, and researchers from Harvard University cloned the gene that causes Athabaskan Brainstem Dysgenesis—a disease that causes breathing problems, deafness, inability to move the eyes properly and intellectual disabilities. Cloning the gene will enable tests to be developed to detect carriers of the gene and provide prenatal diagnosis and support.

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Andrew Norell named chair of the Tucson advisory board.

The PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center opens. This unique clinical program was made possible through the hard work and fundraising efforts of PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers). This center is the only one of its kind in Arizona and serves children with aerodigestive disorders such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EG) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Michael Daines, MD, pediatric allergist/immunologist, and Cori Daines, MD, pediatric pumonologist, are recruited to lead the center.

Researchers Murray Brilliant, PhD, and Orit Cohen-Barak, PhD, discovered that the protein Sox6 plays a role in sickle cell anemia and other blood diseases. The discovery laid the foundation to begin exploring ways to develop new therapies for the disease.

The Women’s 20/30 Club of Southern Arizona “Red Carpet Event” raised $15,000 for the Melody Luyties Endowment, which supports a variety of research and educational programs.

Research findings from a $1.8 million NIH grant, led by Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, and Pawel Kiela, PhD, discover answers to deadly diarrhea that kills 5 million children annually. They documented new findings about the sodium-hydrogen transporter NHE3.

The Steele Center receives a CDC grant of $1.4 million to determine prevalence of autism in children in Maricopa County.

PANDA nears $1 million in donated funds to the Steele Center; establishes a White Coat Fund to recruit and retain promising young researchers and clinician-scientists.

The Steele Center receives $1.5 million, 5-year grant from the CDC to investigate the history and treatment outcomes of children and young adults with muscular dystrophy.

Marianne Cracchiolo Mago becomes president of the Steele Foundation.


2 0 0 8 2 0 1 0 A $1 million gift from The Dorrance Family Foundation establishes the Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Graduate student Rajalakshmy “Raji” Ramalingam PhD, is the first Dorrance Fellow. The fellowship provides funding for talented young investigators researching gastroenterology and nutrition.


Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, receives second prestigious NIH MERIT award for $2.5 million, extends his NIH grant, “Development of Intestinal Transport of Calcium and Phosphate,” for an additional 10 years.

PANDA establishes the Women in Science fund, to provide “seed” money to enable talented female physicians, Hillary Franke, MD, MS; Mona Zawaideh, MD; and Sydney Rice, MD, MS, to start their research. Father’s Day Council Tucson commits to raise $1 million to establish the Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes.


Phil Lacovara, PhD, named chair of the advisory board.

PANDA raises $750,000 toward the creation of the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center, and help recruit a pediatric neurologist and other specialists to expand services for children. With an NIHfunded grant, Steele Center researchers Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, and Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, show that curcumin may be a viable supplement to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Diamond Children’s Medical Center opens. Steele Center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, the Steele Center advisory board, department faculty members and others worked many years to make this dream a reality!

Steele Center family auxiliary, “Kids of Steele” is formed. Kids of Steele is dedicated to teaching children the importance of community service while raising awareness and funds for the Steele Center through family-friendly events.

Steele Center researcher Slava Dvorak, PhD, and his team reveal that probiotics could be a promising treatment for premature babies suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious disease that occurs when the infant’s intestinal tissue become damaged and begins to die They confirmed that the probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum, when added to infant formula, significantly reduces incidence and severity of NEC.

Dorrance Fellow, Raji Ramalingam, PhD, makes a novel discovery regarding a newly identified cellular pathway required to maintain immunological tolerance.

The Steele Center receives $2.3 million from the CDC to continue studying prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in Maricopa County.

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The Steele Center receives a five-year, $3.6 million LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) grant to train individuals to improve the health status of infants, children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.

Arizona Elks Major Projects commit to raise $2.5 million for the Steele Center over the next 10 years to support basic science research, expanding the Steele Center to Phoenix and establishing the Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Statewide Pediatric Research.

Michael Daines, MD, receives $1.25 million NIH grant to investigate how a common mold may trigger allergic asthma.

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, and Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, receive a $1.65 million, five-year NIH grant to study how the NHE3 protein contributes to GI tract health.

Pediatric cancer researchers Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, and Puja Gupta, MD, are awarded grants from Hyundai Hope on Wheels. Dr. Katsanis received a $100,000 “Hope Grant” and Dr. Gupta received a $50,000 “Hyundai Scholar Grant” for their cancer research. Jim Click makes an additional donation to support the Steele Center.

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, appointed physician-in-chief of Diamond Children’s.

PANDA event raises $420,000 to expand the Steele Center to Phoenix.

Peggy Rowley named chair of the Tucson advisory board.

The Steele Center was named a beneficiary of Angel Charity, Inc., for $537,230 to increase the number of clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients and expand basic science pediatric cancer research. Pediatric intensivist and Steele Center researcher, Katri Typpo, MD, receives two-year NIH grant to discover the best nutritional strategies to feed children during critical illness. Pediatric pulmonologist Wayne Morgan, MD, receives the Richard C. Talamo Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This award is given to individuals who have spent their careers in the research and care of patients with cystic fibrosis and whose contributions have had significant influence on the course of the disease. 15th annual Tee Up For Tots golf tournament funds pediatric cancer research in the area of cancer immunotherapy, led by pediatric oncologist Emmanuel Katsanis, MD. Over the past 15 years, Tee Up For Tots has raised more than $600,000 for pediatric cancer research at the Steele Center.


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Vijay Radhakrishnan, PhD, Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, and Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, discover that curcumin (the medicinal agent found in turmeric) can block the metastasis of colon cancer.

Researcher Melissa Halpern, PhD, receives NIH grant to study the role bile acids play in predicting and preventing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and potentially dealy inflammatory disease that afflicts nearly 9,000 premature infants in the U.S. every year.

PANDA event breaks fundraising record, grosses more than $1 million for the PANDA Children’s Anti-Tumor Immunity Program at the UA Steele Center.

The UA Steele Center logo is redesigned to align with the University of Arizona’s new marketing and branding vision.

PANDA Children’s Neurological Center opens. PANDA raised approximately $1 million to establish the clinic and fund research and recruitment of pediatric neurological specialists.

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, UA chemistry professor Eugene Mash, PhD, and Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, develop new drug delivery system to treat inflammation and ulcerations of the colon.

20th annual Father’s Day Council Tucson “Fathers of the Year Awards Dinner and Gala” raises $205,000. Over the past 20 years, FDC Tucson has raised nearly $3.3 million for type 1 diabetes research, clinical programs, recruitment and the Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes.


The Tucson advisory board hosted the “I Think I Can” gala to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Banner – Diamond Children’s and raise funds for both the UA Steele Center and Diamond Children’s. The event features an award-winning float from the 2015 Rose Bowl Parade.

NIH-funded research led by Melissa Halpern, PhD, in the area of NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) advances to human studies. Dr. Halpern and her research team were the first to show that bile acids play a crucial role in the development of this disease.

The UA Steele Center opens in Phoenix, thanks to support from the Arizona Elks Major Projects and PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers). The new facility provides clinical research space, exam rooms and meeting space. Melissa Halpern, PhD, is able to expand her necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) study to Phoenix, collaborating with St. Joseph’s hospital. The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (ADDSP) team is able to utilize the space to coordinate its surveillance research.

Kids of Steele Fifth Annual Mini Golf Event raises $71,000 for research and physician recruitment.

Hyundai Hope on Wheels awards a combined $400, 000 in grants to Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, and Yi Zeng, MD, PhD, for their pediatric cancer research. Jim Click donates an additional $100,000 towards research.

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The Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy Center (CPAE) of Excellence opens. It’s the first center of its kind in the nation.

Katri Typpo, MD, receives prestigious NIH grant to study how the gut microbiome may be key in postsurgery organ failure after heart surgery in children.

Since adopting the UA Steele Center in 1992 as a “major project,” the Arizona Elks Major Projects have raised about $6.3 million for the UA Steele Center’s research, endowments, education and clinical space renovation.

Since the first “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon (in 2000), PANDA has donated nearly $8 million to support UA Steele Center research projects and clinical programs.

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD and Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, receive $1.73 million NIH grant to explore triggers of autoimmune disease.

Scott Klewer, MD, receives $260,000 Congenital Heart Surveillance Grant from the March of Dimes, for Arizona CHSTRONG Project, to provide a better understanding of social and quality-of-life issues facing individuals with congenital heart disease in Arizona as they transition into adulthood. Funding for the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research is completed, thanks to the Tucson advisory board. The endowed chair is held by Emmanuel Katsanis, MD. Larry Ring named life member of the Tucson advisory board.

Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, receives a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society grant to advance his haploidentical bone marrow transplantation (haploBMT) research and fund a Phase I/II clinical trial.

Mary Drachman named chair of the Tucson advisory board.

The Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (CPAE) Center of Excellence at the UA Steele Center received funding for basic and clinical research. Funding was provided by the Arizona Dept. of Health Services, UA Health Sciences, UA College of Medicine – Tucson and the Phoenix-based PACE Foundation.

Hua Xu, PhD, and Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, receive a 5-year, $1.9 million NIH grant to expand their research into the sodium hydrogen exchanger, NHE8.

18th Annual PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon breaks record, donating more than $1.2 million to support the PANDA Children’s Autoimmunity and Allergies Project. Peggy Rowley named life member of the Tucson advisory board.


LOUISE THOMAS A LEGACY OF SERVICE, MOTIVATED BY LOVE As the first chair of the advisory board, Louise Thomas holds a special place in the history of the Steele Children’s Research Center. “Louise is truly a pillar of the UA Steele Center,” said director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. “Without her incredible hard work and boundless dedication, I don’t think we’d exist. I will always be grateful for her unwavering commitment to children’s health, and am so grateful to know Louise—she is an inspiration to all.”

BEGINNINGS In 1987, then UA Department of Pediatrics head, Lynn Taussig, MD, asked Louise to lead a new advisory board for a “Children’s Research Center” that recently had been approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.


By then, Louise was known in Tucson for her success in helping children’s causes. She successfully retired the Ronald McDonald House mortgage, as well as adding a 3,000 square foot-addition, by creating the Angel Charity for Children, Inc., which launched in 1983. “Dr. Taussig said I’d done such a good job with the Ronald McDonald House and Angel Charity, he was hoping I would consider chairing the board for the new children’s research center,” said Louise. “I accepted the offer. It was terrifying, but I just learned along the way.” She recruited all of the members of the first advisory board and they committed to raise the needed funds to build a four-story facility—estimated to be $7 million. Louise was pivotal in garnering the $2 million “naming” donation from the Steele Foundation in Phoenix, and the

building was originally named the Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center. Throughout the years, Louise has been actively involved in raising funds for the UA Steele Center, in addition to running her successful event production company, Events Made Special. And her work with Angel Charity continues as well, of which the UA Steele Center has been the beneficiary on multiple occasions. Through all the awards and accolades Louise has received over the years, her purpose remains clear. “It’s key that our community has the best health care for children,” said Louise “And research plays a major role in providing the best care possible.” Louise led the advisory board from 1987-1993 and is now a Life Member. She remains enthusiastically involved to this day. When asked what keeps her motivated, her answer is simple: her son, Michael. “Michael was such a loving and bright young boy,” remembers Louise. “He was very popular and had many friends. He was a leader in his group, loved sports and could have accomplished anything he set his mind to.” When Michael was 8, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Through many painful treatments, Michael went into remission, but the disease returned. Michael passed away when he was just 9 years old. “It was the most painful day of our lives,” recalled Louise. “My husband, Al, and Michael’s older brother, Alan, were completely devastated.” To process their profound grief, Al, Louise and Alan threw themselves into helping others—especially families with children struggling with cancer. This is when Louise became involved with the Ronald McDonald House. Her long-time friend, Robyn DeBell, remembers that time vividly: “As a young mom in Tucson in the ‘70s, I met Louise in the Junior League,” said

Robyn. “Until then, I hadn’t known anyone with a seriously ill child. We empathized as Louise and her family saw Michael endure debilitating chemotherapy, and sadly pass away. I remember watching in awe as Louise turned her unimaginable grief into advocacy. It’s remarkable what she has accomplished in establishing the UA Steele Center. Louise has been a role model and mentor to so many. Her boundless energy, focused dedication and love of children is truly inspiring!”

THE LOUISE THOMAS ENDOWED CHAIR FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER RESEARCH In 2002, the UA Steele Center advisory board created the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair for Pediatric Cancer Research to honor Louise. The endowed chair was completed in 2016, when the board raised an additional $500,000 for the fund, totaling $2 million. Friend and fellow board member Ginny Clements led the effort to complete the goal. “Louise has been a stalwart member and advisor to the UA Steele Center. Her leadership and fortitude throughout the years has been a remarkable example to all of us who serve on the advisory board,” said Ginny. “As one of her dearest and supportive friends, I have had the privilege of working with Louise on many projects, and she never wavers with her responsibilities.”  “The endowed chair, in my mind, is in dedication to Michael’s memory,” said Louise. “I’ve stayed involved because I want to see better treatments and cures for children with cancer, or any child who is sick. I want children to lead happier, normal lives and not have to go through what Michael went through. My life has really come full circle. And it’s all in memory of Michael.” We are so grateful for Louise’s vision, persistence, support and guidance through the years—and anticipate many more to come.

(Opposite page:) Michael, Al, Louise and Alan. (This page, from top): Then-center director, Dr. Lynn Taussig and Louise in front of preliminary drawing of the children’s research center; Ribbon-cutting ceremony in 1992; UA President Henry Koffler speaks at the grand opening ceremony; Louise and Al attend one of the grand opening festivities, the “Mad Hatter’s Ball”; Louise and UA Steele Center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, at an event in 2001.



Alexander (center) and William Rundquist with their parents, Laura and Robin Wheeler


ALEXANDER RUNDQUIST The surgery was quite difficult. In addition to removing the fibrosarcoma, the surgeons had to remove a piece of cancerous muscle (about the size of a playing card), along with five ribs and part of Alexander’s chest wall. “The decision to remove the ribs, part of his chest wall and muscle was not an easy one,” said Laura. “As a result, Alexander developed lifethreatening scoliosis that required rods to be placed along his spine.” Alexander Rundquist was only 6 weeks old when his mother, Laura, felt a bump next to his spine. She immediately made an appointment with his pediatrician. Upon examination, the pediatrician requested further testing. Those tests revealed that Alexander had a rare non-rhabdomyofibrosarcoma—a tumor that develops in the soft tissue of the body. “It felt like the world went dark,” recalled Laura. The fibrosarcoma was in the muscle against Alexander’s spine and growing quickly. The prognosis was grim: Alexander had only a small percentage for survival. Alexander started chemotherapy treatments from UA Steele Center physician-scientists at Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center (formerly University Medical Center). He received chemotherapy until he was 6 months old. “The treatment days were long and exhausting,” said Laura. “But I remember William, Alexander’s older brother, playing with the nurses in the clinic and being treated like family every time we came in. In a situation where comfort is farthest from the reality, knowing the team was there to support Alexander and our whole family made an impact.” Unfortunately, the chemotherapy treatments didn’t stop the fibrosarcoma’s growth. Because Alexander had received the maximum amount of chemotherapy his body could handle, Laura and the medical team decided on surgery to remove the tumor.

Alexander has had his spinal rods surgically adjusted every six months since his surgery when he was an infant. “Alexander is now 15 and has had more than 30 surgeries since his cancer was removed,” said Laura. “Despite this, he is still one of the funniest, happiest, busiest kids I know. Alexander was meant to do amazing things and accomplish so much. He is a cancer survivor, but he has not let that be the only thing that defines him.” These days, Alexander is an avid scuba diver and recently dove in the Caribbean while on vacation with his family. In addition, he and his family have also traveled to China and had many amazing cultural experiences. He also enjoys volunteering in the Tucson community and with his church and has plans to study abroad. Alexander continues to receive regular exams with his UA Steele Center physicians at Diamond Children’s to make sure he remains cancer-free. “Alexander has proven anything is possible,” said Laura. He never gave up, even when the odds were stacked against him. “The hope that comes from making plans, whether it is the next medical appointment or the next big family vacation, kept everyone focused on the future and making progress.” In the 25 years that the UA Steele Center has been helping children, it has been incredible to see patients like Alexander succeed—and the hope he and his family bring to so many!



FROM PAIN TO PLAYING By the time PJ Calihan was nearly 1 year old, he already had spent months seeing specialists and doctors in the Phoenix area who were unable to determine what was wrong with him. “Our son was clearly very sick,” recalls PJ’s mom, Robyn. “He was vomiting, choking and not eating.” After months of frustration and near despair, a friend of Robyn and her husband, Phil, recommended they bring PJ to see Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, in Tucson. “Dr. Ghishan was the friendliest doctor Phil and I had ever met,” said Robyn. “He listened to us. He asked us about PJ’s labs and tests results. When we told him other doctors had insisted nothing was wrong, so lab tests hadn’t been conducted, Dr. Ghishan told us something was definitely wrong with PJ. He was the first to really help us.” Robyn and Phil finally received answers. PJ had a hiatal hernia in his esophagus that was causing severe reflux. He also was diagnosed with an aerodigestive disorder known as “eosinophilic gastroenteritis” (EG), a complex disorder involving the airway, lungs and digestive tracts, caused by food allergies and airborne allergens. PJ then was treated by a team of doctors at the PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center—the only center of its kind in Arizona and the Southwest. He began medications and an elimination diet. He started to thrive. He started eating solid foods. PJ is now 4 years old. Although he has had a few hurdles to overcome along the way, he is doing well. “PJ is the HAPPIEST child,” exclaimed Robyn. “He always has a huge smile, is super kind and lovable. He idolizes his big sister, Claire, and loves his dog, Teddy. He is the biggest NASCAR, Formula 1 and IndyCar fan. This year, he is going to play on a soccer team, and take karate and gymnastics. We love him and are so thankful we can snuggle with this little guy every day!” “We are working hard at researching complex autoimmune diseases like EG,” said Dr. Ghishan. “We are grateful to the PANDAs who funded the creation of the PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center that opened in 2007, and are funding our ongoing research, so we can help patients like PJ.” “We feel so blessed to have Dr. Ghishan and his team at the UA Steele Center, where they are changing lives every day through research,” said Robyn.


© Photo: Allison Tyler Jones

© Photo: Martha Lochert



In 2005, Danny Lochhead was an energetic and exuberant 6-year-old little boy with bright blue eyes and a captivating smile, who loved sports and playing with his military model airplanes. But life changed dramatically for Danny and his family on March 11, 2005, when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma—a form of bone cancer. He was 6 ½ years old. “My husband Ed and I were in shock,” recalled Danny’s mom, April. Over the next year, Danny completed 14 arduous rounds of chemotherapy and had three surgeries at Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center (formerly University Medical Center). He had five ribs removed. “Danny tried to not let the disease and treatment slow him down,” said April. “He even played soccer during his treatments, wearing his port-a-cath, and all!” On February 24, 2006, Danny was declared in remission. “This was such an amazing day for Danny and our family,” remembered April. “There are no words to describe the effects of a child having cancer. The child has the disease, but the family has cancer. Every day was a blessing, and every day brought joy and fear. The Steele Center doctors and entire medical staff made such a difference for us, knowing that people were working tirelessly to make a difference in treatment.” Now 19, Danny is a confident, articulate and athletic young man who is an avid skate boarder and loves surfing—especially on the beaches in California. He is currently a freshman at the University of Arizona, and interested in pursuing a career where he can make a difference. He is considering the fields of medicine and teaching. “We are so grateful to the Steele Center physician-scientists,” said April. “If it weren’t for ongoing research, studies, tests and commitment, Danny may not have survived—not only his cancer, but his entire ordeal.” Top: Danny, age 6, with his model airplanes collection; above right: April, Danny and Ed on Danny’s last day of treatment, 2006; lower right: Danny and his date, Lena Rose, at their high school senior prom, 2017.



CHILDREN’S POSTINFECTIOUS AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALOPATHY (CPAE) CENTER OF EXCELLENCE Thanks to the collaboration between the UA Steele Center and Banner – University Medicine, children like Holland Barr now have hope and healing. In August 2016, families, physicians and scientists celebrated the grand opening of the Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy (CPAE) Center of Excellence at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center. The CPAE Center is the first of its kind in the United States to implement a model of clinical care, basic science and clinical translational research and education to treat a complex spectrum of diseases known as “postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathies.” Physician-scientists lead inpatient and outpatient care at Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center and are partners in education and research conducted through the UA Steele Center.

24 Dr. Michael Daines and Holland Barr

WHAT IS CPAE? Children’s postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathy (CPAE) occurs when a child’s immune system, while fighting off a virus or infection, mistakenly targets the brain, causing inflammation, which creates a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Symptoms typically occur suddenly— sometimes overnight. They can include: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tics, severe anxiety, ADHD, restrictive eating, depression and mood swings, separation anxiety, hallucinations, frequent urination and changes in handwriting. A few of the most common types of CPAE are PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome), PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and Sydenham chorea. “All children with CPAE need to have behavioral and developmental assessments,” said pediatric immunologist and a medical director of the clinic, Michael Daines, MD. “The inflammation is only part of the whole picture, which is why we need a center and team of specialists to treat this spectrum of diseases.” The CPAE clinical team includes pediatric specialists in the areas of immunology, behavioral and developmental pediatrics, neurology, sleep medicine and gastroenterology and nutrition—all of whom can examine the child in the same clinical setting. “The CPAE clinic has received calls from all over the United States, Mexico and Bangkok, Thailand,” said developmental pediatrician Sydney Rice, MD, MS, one of the clinic’s medical directors. “We’ve seen patients from California, Washington, Kansas, Idaho, Florida, Maine, Indiana, North Dakota and Bangkok. This speaks to the urgent need that exists, and how desperate parents are to find help for their children with these complex disorders.” (continued on next page)

HOPE & HEALING FOR HOLLAND Holland Barr, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was a healthy, happy, vibrant 8-year-old girl, full of enthusiasm and zest for life. Then suddenly, everything changed. On Sept. 17, 2014, Holland woke up with terrible anxieties, a splitting headache and excruciating stomach pain. She was terrified of food and had a severe anxiety about attending school.

Dr. Sydney Rice and Holland Barr

For the next two years, Holland’s parents, Karen and Charles, experienced the despair of having a deathly ill daughter as they frantically searched for answers. Holland saw countless specialists, underwent many tests, took countless medications, was hospitalized, and was misdiagnosed time and time again. “Holland became so weak she needed a wheelchair. She couldn’t tolerate light and wore sunglasses at all times. She was afraid to eat, and couldn’t attend school,” said Karen. After speaking with a friend whose daughter had similar symptoms, Karen suspected Holland’s problems were in her immune system. She started doing research. Eventually, Holland’s pediatrician ordered a specialized test called the Cunningham Panel. That test revealed Holland had PANS. Unable to find any specialists readily available in Phoenix, Holland was life-flighted to a clinic in California. However, she was too sick to return for follow-up care. Then, some friends told Karen and Charles about the new CPAE Center they learned had recently opened in Tucson. They made an appointment, and the next day Holland was hospitalized at Diamond Children’s. Holland received IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin, a high-powered anti-inflammatory) treatment, and she began to improve that very day. “That was a miracle to watch,” said Karen. “Before IVIG, Holland wasn’t speaking or eating, couldn’t walk or tolerate light, was bedridden and in constant pain. Soon after IVIG, she was walking, talking, singing, dancing and playing—we were amazed!” Holland is in remission, and although she has had several relapses, they have been addressed and resolved quickly. “We are so grateful to find this new center in Tucson,” said Karen. “They gave us our daughter back!”


CPAE RESEARCH The CPAE Center has received vital funds to begin conducting basic and clinical research. Research funds received so far are from the Arizona Department of Health Services ($250,000), the University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS) ($100,000), the UA College of Medicine – Tucson ($100,000), and the PACE Foundation ($30,000). UAHS and the UA College of Medicine – Tucson have each pledged an additional $150,000 over the next three years. “These funds enable us to launch our CPAE research program to begin to unravel the causes of these perplexing disorders and develop new treatments for children,” said Dr. Ghishan.


CPAE Center clinical researchers (from left): Sydney Rice, MD, MS; Sejal Jain, MD; Michael Daines, MD

The clinical research will be led by developmental pediatrician Sydney Rice, MD, MS, pediatric allergy and immunology physician, Michael Daines, MD, and pediatric neurologist, Sejal Jain, MD. Research will focus on developing data collection tools and protocols to create a national repository to support CPAE research. In addition, clinical research will focus on medical interventions and treatments related to immune deficiency associated with CPAE. This research will assess the need for immune modulation, determine the appropriate treatment and enroll patients in rigorous research studies to measure the response to immune modulation from an immune and behavioral standpoint.

BASIC SCIENCE RESEARCH Basic science research will be led by Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, associate professor, and Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. Both Drs. Ghishan and Kiela are experts in the area of pediatric autoimmune diseases. This funding will enable the CPAE team to advance previous discoveries made into the triggers of autoimmune disorders to now explore the molecular mechanisms that cause some children to develop CPAE disorders. The goal of this research is to identify immune modulators, genetic predisposition and biomarkers that identify this condition and treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder.

CPAE Center basic science researchers (from left): Fayez K. Ghishan, MD; Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD


“We believe this preliminary investment in our research will yield more funding for continuing research from private donations and the NIH in the future,” said Dr. Kiela. “This is about finding real answers to these perplexing disorders.”

CPAE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH Educating doctors is key to ensuring the pediatric medical community fully understands this spectrum of disorders. The CPAE team has begun conducting workshops throughout Arizona to educate pediatricians and other pediatric specialists about CPAE and how to recognize and diagnose it in patients. “This spectrum of disorders has been poorly understood for years in the medical community and many pediatricians don’t know how to identify or distinguish the medical condition of PANS or PANDAS from similar disorders,” said Dr. Rice.

ORIGINS AND SUPPORTERS The effort to create a CPAE center in Arizona was spearheaded by the Phoenix-based PACE Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathies. “Our goal was to establish a center in Arizona that would diagnose, treat and research disorders like PANS/PANDAS,” said Paul Ryan, PACE Foundation founder. “We wanted to partner with the University of Arizona Health Sciences because of its world-class research and faculty.” The UA effort, led by Dr. Ghishan, began to formulate a center of excellence team, in collaboration with his partners at Banner Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Arizona Legislature passed an Awareness Day, set up a House Ad Hoc Committee on Pediatric Autoimmune Neurological Disorders and passed legislation that authorized $250,000 for research into these disorders. The Arizona Department of Health Services launched an awareness effort to educate pediatricians throughout the state. The PACE Foundation enlisted the support of Camelback Toyota in Phoenix and Option Care to support future clinical research projects.

“We believe this preliminary investment in our research will yield more funding for continuing research from private donations and the NIH in the future. This is about finding real answers to these perplexing disorders.” ~Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD

“This center was made possible by the tireless efforts of many dedicated individuals and organizations working together,” said Dr. Ghishan. “We’re excited about helping children who are suffering from these devastating disorders, through clinical care, research and education.” Learn more about the CPAE Center here:





It’s normal for children to get tummy aches once in a while, but for some, they don’t go away. These children experience persistent abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss. These distressing symptoms may indicate a serious gastrointestinal condition: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Over the next five years, the new grant will enable Drs. Ghishan, Xu, and their research team to further examine the role of NHE8 in these areas:

Goblet cell function The researchers discovered that NHE8 not only is expressed in the intestinal epithelial lining, but also expressed in goblet cells. Goblet cells are one of the major cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that secrete mucus. Mucus is important because it separates bacteria in the GI tract from the lining of the GI tract. When NHE8 was removed, goblet cells secreted less mucin, reducing the protective barrier of mucus, enabling the bacteria in the lumen to get closer to the intestinal lining. This produces inflammation and can cause diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

Changes in the gut microbiome When NHE8 is inhibited, it alters the microbiota in the gut making it “dysbiotic”— out of balance. This microbial imbalance has been shown to cause IBD and other GI disorders.

Hyper-proliferation of epithelial cells and the development of colon cancer The research team examined human tissue samples from colon cancer patients. Normal tissue versus colon cancer showed marked expression that NHE8 isn’t present in colon cancer tissue samples. “It’s clear that when you knock out NHE8, you develop polyps and colon cancer,” said Dr. Ghishan.

IBD is a chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract. The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—impacting about 1.6 million Americans. Although IBD can occur at any age, it is most often diagnosed in children and young adults. What’s worse, chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract is linked to the development of colon cancer. Nearly 142,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with colon cancer every year, and sadly, about 50,000 do not survive. Now, with a 5-year, $1.9 million grant from the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Steele Center researchers will seek to better understand how the protein NHE8 may play a pivotal role in the development of these maladies and how it contributes to maintaining balance of the gut microbiome. The research will be led by UA Steele Center researchers Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, and Hua Xu, PhD. NHE8 is a sodium/hydrogen exchanger protein, and it facilitates sodium absorption in the gut. For the last several years, the Steele Center has been at the forefront of research on NHE8 function and regulation. Led by Dr. Ghishan, his team was the first to clone NHE8 from the intestines and characterize its function. “Recently, we discovered some exciting new roles of NHE8, previously thought to be involved only in sodium absorption,” said Dr. Ghishan. “It turns out, when we ‘knock out’—that is, delete the function of NHE8—you have goblet cell dysfunction, changes in the microbiota, and the hyper-proliferation of epithelial cells, which leads to the development of colon cancer.”

“We believe this study will shed new light on colonic tumor development and potentially provide new ideas for early detection and provide better treatment options,” said Dr. Xu. “In addition to possibly discovering insights into a mechanism of colon cancer development, our findings about how NHE8 impacts goblet cell function and microbiota homeostasis may lead to novel treatments for IBD and other inflammation problems of the gut,” said Dr. Ghishan.




As we celebrate the UA Steele Center’s 25th anniversary, one faculty member has been with us since the center opened in 1992: beloved pediatric intensivist and professor, Andreas Theodorou, MD, FCCM, FAAP. Known for his friendly, down-to-earth demeanor and copious coffee consumption, Dr. Theodorou has been a steadfast presence and positive influence to many over the years. “Dr. Theodorou perfectly exemplifies our mission to teach, to heal and to discover,” said UA Steele Center Director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. “He continues to excel in all three of these areas. He is an amazing pediatric critical care physician, an outstanding educator and a world-class clinical researcher.”

The second project was the national, multi-center study, “Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest” (THAPCA). Dr. Theodorou was one of the principal investigators for the study at the UA Steele Center/Diamond Children’s. The study aimed to determine if the use of hypothermia (body cooling) improves survival with good neurobehavioral outcomes in children who suffered cardiac arrest.

“Dr. Theodorou perfectly exemplifies our mission to teach, to heal and to discover.”

The results of the multicenter, four-year clinical research project showed that hypothermia did not improve outcomes. “Everyone was trying to use hypothermia, without knowing if it would make a difference for children since in adult studies it seemed to be effective,” explained Dr. Theodorou.

“This highlights the fact that if you have a question regarding the best medical care of children, you can’t always answer the question by studying adults!” This study also was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

~Fayez K. Ghishan, MD

“The support I’ve received— both from the infrastructure and the faculty—allowed a ‘clinician-scholar’ like me to contribute in a scientific way that I otherwise might not have,” said Dr. Theodorou. “My mentor over the years has been Dr. Ghishan. He drives and inspires the faculty to excellence in clinical care, teaching and research.” While reflecting specifically upon his research contributions, two studies stand out for Dr. Theodorou. First, the landmark scorpion antivenom research he collaborated on with Leslie Boyer, MD (who now leads the UA VIPER Institute). They worked for 12 years to help develop antivenom for scorpion stings. Their study was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

“The academic program, the research environment and the growth potential for the clinical care was a perfect fit for me when I arrived 25 years ago,” said Dr. Theodorou. “I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to contribute to the education of residents and other health-care students, contribute to clinical research and to care for critically ill children and their families. I will always cherish the time I’ve had here, both personally and professionally.”

“Our hard work paid off, and in August 2011, we were thrilled to be notified that it became the firstever FDA-approved scorpion antivenom,” said Dr. Theodorou.



LOOKING FORWARD Today, the UA Steele Children’s Research Center is Arizona’s flagship pediatric research institute. Over the next 10 years, we will dramatically advance children’s research to find more answers and provide more healing for families.


Our bold vision is to: Be a national research and thought leader, recognized for our innovation and forward-thinking approach.

Our dream is to: Improve the lives of children and families. Make children healthier by seeking breakthroughs. Train future scientists and pediatricians. Solve each child’s health issue one child at a time.

Our plan is to: Expand our rigorous programs through basic, translational and clinical research in autoimmune disorders, genomics and developmental pediatrics. Build on our extraordinary and powerful team of world-class scientists, educators and clinicians. Expand our opportunities for growth and greater impact through state-of-theart facilities with collaborative teaching and learning environments.

Your partnership will help us achieve our vision! Above: UA Steele Center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD (center), with a few physician-scientists and researchers who represent the broad range of research conducted at the center. From left: Emmanuel Katsanis, MD; Michael Daines, MD; Yi Zeng, PhD, MD; Hua Xu, PhD; Melissa Halpern, PhD; Sydney Rice, MD, MS; Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD




Arizona Elks Major Projects President Ira Cohen, center, with Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, and Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, with the cutting-edge confocal microscope donated by the Arizona Elks

ARIZONA ELKS MAJOR PROJECTS In 1992, the Arizona Elks Major Projects committed to raise between $250,000 to $300,000 every year for the UA Steele Center. Since then, the organization has donated approximately $7 million to support research, education, create endowed chairs, purchase lab equipment, renovate clinical spaces and expand the center to Phoenix. Elks lodges across Arizona have raised funds through statewide raffles, conventions, golf tournaments, auctions and other fundraising events. The Elks have made an incredible impact on children’s health throughout Arizona!


ARIZONA ELKS LABORATORIES FOR TRANSPLANTATION RESEARCH The first project the Arizona Elks supported was building two research labs on the sixth floor of the Steele Center. Because of the extraordinatry advances made in transplantation research over the years, these labs now house researchers who specialize in gastroenterology and nutrition research.

‘SEED’ RESEARCH AWARDS Seed grants allow investigators to conduct research and publish preliminary data, which enables them to pursue larger grants via state and federal funding agencies like the NIH.

EDUCATION The Arizona Elks have supported educational outreach, such as public lectures given by invited pediatric experts. The educational fund also helped develop the first Pediatric Integrative Medicine Conference and supported the Morning for Children’s Health workshops for parents.

ARIZONA ELKS CLINIC FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS In 2001, the Elks celebrated the grand re-opening of the newly named Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults, housed on the third floor of UMC (now Banner – UMC). The renovated pediatric clinic includes separate waiting areas for sick children and well children and more efficient space for doctors, nurses and staff. The name of the clinic was changed to the Arizona Elks Pediatric Clinic in 2015. That same year, the clinic was recognized by the Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) as a center of excellence for achieving 90 percent or higher immunization rates and for its excellence in immunization education.

CORE SUPPORT Core Support funds are used for needed facilities improvements throughout the Steele Center. In addition, these funds are used to repair existing equipment and purchase new equipment, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines. In 2016, funds were used to purchase a much-needed confocal microscope, for example.

MARVIN LEWIS PEDIATRIC TEACHING CENTER Marvin Lewis was a past Elks Grand Exalted Ruler and was passionate about education and helping children. Funds were used to renovate the pediatric residency offices and create a conference room.

ARIZONA ENDOWED CHAIR IN NEONATOLOGY RESEARCH In 2003, the Arizona Elks committed to create the Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Neonatology Research. Each year, a portion of the interest is available to the endowed chair to support their research and provide seed funding to promising young investigators interested in neonatal research.

UA STEELE CENTER, PHOENIX In 2012, the Elks committed to the support of the UA Steele Center expansion to Phoenix. In September 2014, the Phoenix office opened. Translational and clinical research projects are underway.

ARIZONA ELKS ENDOWED CHAIR IN STATEWIDE PEDIATRIC RESEARCH In 2012, the Elks created the Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Statewide Pediatric Research, which will head the Steele Center’s work in clinical research. Wayne Morgan, MD, professor, was named the chair in September, 2017.

TOYS, BLANKETS, BEANIES AND BOOTIES No price can be put on the countless toys, handmade blankets, beanies and booties the Elks have donated over the years to provide warmth, comfort and joy for so many young patients! Learn more about the Arizona Elks Major Projects:


PANDA bus tour to the UA Steele Center, Sept. 14, 2017

In 1999, Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning established the Phoenix Women’s Board of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center. The board started with 35 members, and now has more than 150 women who are enthusiastic advocates for making a healthier future for children—and who work incredibly hard to create it. To capture and convey the spirit of their mission to “support discovery processes that lead to improved treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases,” the board created the name PANDA— People Acting Now Discover Answers. Penny Gunning and Robyn DeBell Their signature fundraiser, the PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon, is an amazing event that takes place every spring, giving young people the opportunity to develop their philanthropic skills by participating as models in the show. The event now is attended by more than 1,000 people every year. Since 2000, PANDA has donated $9 million to support a wide array of projects at the UA Steele Center (highlighted on next page).

Learn more about PANDA:


© Photo: Heather Buttelmann




PANDA Children’s Autoimmunity and Allergies Project supports the recruitment and retention of researchers who work to unravel the mystery of common autoimmune issues among children such as type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, celiac disease and postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathy. Established endowed professorship and created two research funds.



PANDA Personalized Pediatric Medicine Project to support pilot studies and establish an integrated system for personalized medical approaches to treat children suffering from complex diseases, including cancer. This individualized system enables physicians to accurately predict a child’s response, resistance or adverse reaction to particular treatment options.



Established the PANDA Children’s Anti-Tumor Immunity Program, to create an interface between traditional cancer chemotherapies and immune-based strategies.



Continued funding the PANDA Children’s Autoimmune Disorders Project.



Created the PANDA Children’s Autoimmune Disorders Project to help research the mystery of common chronic diseases among children.



Raised funds for the Steele Children’s Translational Research Center in Phoenix, and established a PANDA endowment.



Supported the PANDA Healthy Babies Project to study NEC in premature infants.



Completed funding for the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center; established the PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program.



Established the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center.



Funded the Women in Science program, and the research of Sydney Rice, MD,MS; Mona Zawaideh, MD and Hillary Franke, MD; supported the White Coat Fund.



Established the PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center and supported the White Coat Fund.



Established support of a research program for pediatric immunology and cardiothoracic surgery.



Supported pediatric cancer research and established a White Coat Fund to recruit promising young research scholars.



Supported IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) collaboration with TGen, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Steele Center to study Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.



Supported the recruitment of PANDA Scholar Shannon Jenkins, MD, and provided lab start-up funds for Johnathan Wispé, MD, for lung development research.



Supported the recruitment of PANDA Scholar Todd Camenisch, PhD, to study pediatric heart development.



Purchased a Virtek Chip Writer: Microarray technology that speeds the search for genes responsible for specific diseases.



Purchased an AutoGen Robot used to prepare and purify DNA used to define genetic origins of devastating childhood diseases.

© Photo: Heather Buttelmann

IMPACT OF PANDA: 2000-2017


© Photo: Heather Buttelmann

© Photo: Heather Buttelmann

38 © Photo: Heather Buttelmann

© Photo: Heather Buttelmann

© Photo: Heather Buttelmann


2017-2018 PANDA OFFICERS President: Jacque Linaman President-Elect: Sandy Hobbs Vice President: Jamee Emens Secretary: Michelle Larmore Treasurer: Shauna Gliss

PANDA PRESIDENTS 2018: Jacque Linaman 2017: Jennifer Karas 2016: Alexandra Boyle 2015: Karin Weiler 2014: Heidi Coupland 2013: Emily Calihan 2012: Melinda Gulick 2011: Susan Wissink 2010: Stephanie Helsten 2009: Robyn DeBell 2008: Tammy Underwood 2007: Ardie Evans 2006: Traci Mead 2005: Judy Shannon 2004: Carolyn Bosworth 2003: Carol Schmidt 2002: Sandi Thomas

PANDA EVENT CHAIRS 2018: Kyle Christensen, Allison Irwin, Gretchen Schubert and Lindsey Williams 2017: Janey Henze Cook and Tammy Ryan 2016: Sandy Hobbs, Lara Polachek and Kristi Spiekerman 2015: Kylie Cook, Melinda Gulick, Sandy Hobbs and Jennifer Karas 2014: Brigette Sebald and Michelle Walker 2013: Wendy Lentz and Amy Mahoney 2012: Sarah Slessman, Michelle Walker, Karin Weiler and Jaime Wright 2011: Meghan Fable and Dana Gapusan 2010: Lizabeth Matthews and Helen Yeung 2009: Judy Burke and Kathy Walker 2008: Dana Gapusan, Melinda Gulick, Stephanie Helsten and Lori Kelly 2007: Pam Kolbe and Carey Musil 2006: Charlene Berge-Blum, Debbi Douglas and Julie Koeth 2005: Tina Curran, Kathy DeSanto, Kerry Jameson, Traci Mead and Mary Lynn Schmidt 2004: Emily Calihan, Suellen Edens, Dana Gapusan and Kathy Ritt 2003: Ann Denk and Kathy Ritt 2002: Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning 2001: Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning 2000: Robyn DeBell and Penny Gunning

ACTIVE PANDAS Erin Ashby Lisa Barnes Laura Beardsley Alexandra Boyle Kelly Bramlett Whitney Brittain Bradford Brohard Anne Burns Jackie Ceran Kristin Struble Chakmakian Lauren Charpio Colleen Chester Kyle Christensen Janey Henze Cook Kylie Cook Tara Curry Robyn DeBell Kari Denk Jamee Emens Katie Evarkiou Geri Farr Christie Frakes Stacy Frakes Lacy Francisco Teresa Frevola Sarah Frey Courtney Gaintner Jennifer Gaona Shauna Gliss Lora Golke Sara Graf Penny Gunning Torie Hackett Lindsay Hansen Sandy Hobbs Katie Hobgood Allison Irwin Angela Isacksen Alexis Janson Jamie Krell Michelle Larmore Jacque Linaman Laura Louis Sara Masciandaro Kelly Miller Katherine Polachek Jordan Ragland Samantha Rice Vicki Richardson Kelly Ross Tammy Ryan Katrina Schaefer Mandi Schnepf Gretchen Schubert Kori Shapiro Libby Short Sarah Smith Kristi Spiekerman Katie Stoll Jennifer Thinnes Rachel Troyan Tracy Tucker Kelly Vasbinder

Kim Carkhuff Willems Lindsey Williams Lori Xeller Katherine Zamora

GOLDEN PANDAS Sydney Anderson Trisha Anthony Tifanny Anton Nancy Berge Charlene Berge-Blum Heather Buttelmann Carolyn Bosworth Julie Bowe Judy Burke Shelby Burley Emily Calihan Sarah Carlenzoli Katie Chester Muffie Churchill Katie Clark Joan Colangelo Kathy Combs Carrie Cook Heidi Coupland Tina Curran Christy Dean Ann Denk Erika Dickey Jacquie Dorrance Jennifer Dougherty Debbi Douglas Suellen Edens Kay Eskridge Meghan Fable Diana Finley Pam Fitzgerald Dana Gapusan Ruthann Grace Melinda Gulick Megan Hackbarth Whitney Heglie Tori Heintzelman Stephanie Helsten Nancy Hepburn Megan Hink Karen Hobbs Michelle Hobbs Ruth Ann Hornaday Mary Hudak Jennifer Irby Catherine Jacobson Kerry Jameson Lori Kelly Melissa Kenly Kelly Kirke Cathy Kleeman Dottie Kobik Julie Koeth Abby Leadon Wendy Lentz Lisa Mallender Amy Mahoney Beth Matthews Lizabeth Matthews

Traci Mead Carey Musil Stacie Olson Kathey Plenge Lara Polachek Tiffany Quayle Ashley Ragan Judy Ray Gabrielle Rife Kathy Ritt Laurie Ritt Carol Schmidt Mary Lynn Schmidt Judy Schubert Brigette Sebald Judy Shannon Stephanie Slaughter Sarah Slessman Allison Small Susie Small Tracy Smith Lynne Sonntag Anne Spellman Sandi Thomas Kati Travelle Gerri Tsantilas Kristin Ulrich Sharon Ulrich Tammy Underwood Kathy Van Arsdale Kathy Walker Michelle Walker Karin Weiler Nancy White Linda Whitney Allie Wilmink Susan Wissink Jaime Wright Helen Yeung Honorary Micheline Etkin Letitia Frye Joan Ghishan Lori Stratton Founders Robyn DeBell Penny Gunning In Memory Shawn Reaves Carol Waldrop



© Photo: Chris Mooney

Father’s Day Council Tucson is unique because all funds raised stay right here in Tucson, supporting the type 1 diabetes work at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center.


2017 Fathers of the Year (from left): Luis Felipe Seldner, Michael V. Varney, Alan Levin, Maj. Gen. Edward P. Maxwell, Robert Smith, Gregory “Greg” J. White

In 1994, Steve Rosenberg and his late father, Howard Rosenberg, established Father’s Day Council Tucson. They developed an executive board of volunteers dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children with type 1 diabetes. Although affiliated with the Father’s Day/ Mother’s Day Council in New York, Father’s Day Council Tucson is unique because all funds raised stay in Tucson, supporting the type 1 diabetes work at the UA Steele Center. Each year, Father’s Day Council Tucson hosts the Father of the Year Awards Gala. The awards gala is a fun, memorable and inspiring event that fulfills the dual mission of Father’s Day Council Tucson. Its first mission is to honor Tucson men who are exemplary fathers, highly successful in their professions and dedicated to their communities. Its second mission is to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research, endowment and education programs at the UA Steele Center.

FUNDS SUPPORT: Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes Nearly completed, the $2 million endowed chair will enable the UA Steele Center to recruit a world-class physician-scientist to conduct basic science research and lead the center’s type 1 diabetes research program. Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship Program This program has enabled the UA Steele Center to hire several fellows for three years to train these future pediatric endocrinologists to conduct research and take care of children with diabetes and other endocrine disorders. Ongoing research studies: Examining which relatives of people with type 1 diabetes are more likely to get the disease and methods of prevention; Investigating methods of extending the “honeymoon’’ period in recently diagnosed patients by extending pancreatic function; Investigating the link between poor sleep patterns in children and poor glucose control. So far, Father’s Day Council Tucson has raised about $3.7 million to support the UA Steele Center’s work in type 1 diabetes, a lifelong, incurable autoimmune disease that occurs when a child’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulinproducing cells in the pancreas. Currently, more than 800 Tucson-area children live with and manage their type 1 diabetes and benefit from the impact made by Father’s Day Council Tucson. Learn more about Father’s Day Council at:


Š Photo: Dominic Bonuccelli

Kids of Steele Leaders: Back Row from left: Phaedra Horkey, secretary; Ragan Edwards, service chair; Jenny Horn,technology chair; Kathy Elsesser, golf and service chair; Seated, from left: Adrienne Foust, former treasurer; Lucinda Peralta, technology consultant; Cecie Davenport, general board member


In 2010, a group of dedicated moms created the family auxiliary, Kids of Steele. This vibrant volunteer group is comprised of families who want to teach their children about service and kindness, while raising awareness and funds for the UA Steele Center. Kids of Steele has donated almost $600,000 to benefit the UA Steele Center— a remarkable accomplishment in just seven years. What’s more, they have profoundly impacted and inspired patients and families through their service work and community outreach! Their annual fundraiser is the family-friendly Kids of Steele Mini Golf Event, which takes place in the fall and raises funds for “greatest-need” research and Kids of Steele service projects.


Team-Up Event with UA Football Team and Head Coach Rich Rodriguez: This event enables Kids of Steele members and patients to participate in football drills and other activities with UA Coach Rich Rodriguez, his players and staff. Snacks & Crafts in the Clinics: Members host biweekly breakfasts in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and monthly afternoon snack sessions in the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes, providing donated food, fun crafts and other goodies for patients and families. Angel Snack Packs: Through the KOS Outreach Program, Kids of Steele provides healthful snack packs to patients at every appointment at the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes. Snacks in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic: Kids of Steele stocks snacks at the outpatient clinic, ensuring healthful options are available to patients every day. Hematology/Oncology Activity Packs: Kids of Steele supporters assemble activity packs to give to pediatric cancer patients, helping to keep their little hands busy during long treatments. Stocking Stuffing/Santa Visit: Members stuff holiday stockings that are given to patients during the holiday season. Adopted Families: Members “adopt” families who have children receiving treatment at the pediatric cancer clinic, providing gifts on the whole family’s “wish list” and more. Service Events: In addition to ongoing service projects, Kids of Steele holds several events throughout the year that give KOS members the opportunity to create special gifts to brighten the days of patients benefitting from UA Steele Center research.

To learn more, visit:

43 © Photo: Christie Kase







Louise Thomas

Maxine Henig

Steve Lynn

Ray Novak, MD

Andrew Norrell

Phil Lacovara, PhD Peggy Rowley

TUCSON ADVISORY BOARD Chair: Mary Drachman Chair-elect: Cathy Hutchens Peter Backus Bill Baffert Cathie Batbie-Loucks Travis Boswell Ginny Clements Laura DiChristofano DeeAnne Gibbons John P. Lewis Susan Mahoney Jeannine Mason Sandy Maxfield Kathy Orr John Payne Kathy Porterfield Jeff Ronstadt Mick Rusing Dian Rutin Judy Smedes Louise Thomas Life Members Joan Diamond* Virginia Furrow, MD* Maxine Henig Dorothy Novak* Cele Peterson* Larry Ring Peggy Rowley Lynn Taussig, MD Louise Thomas Maurice Zee, MD* *Deceased




Mary Drachman


In 1987, our first advisory board, led by Louise Thomas, committed to and accomplished raising $7 million to build the originally named Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center. Since then, the advisory board has enthusiastically and successfully organized special events like the Mad Hatter’s Ball and the Diamond Children’s – Steele Center Gala, created and completed the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair for Pediatric Research ($2 million), hosted countless “friendraisers” and salons, and made Banner – Diamond Children’s Medical Center, the only academic pediatric medical center in Arizona, a reality. There are not enough words to express our gratitude to all the amazing individuals who have served on our advisory board over the years. We are so thankful.

© Photo: Dominic Bonuccelli

The UA Steele Center advisory board members are a remarkable group of volunteers who give their time, talents and financial resources to help improve children’s health. They have provided guidance, creativity, inspiration and selfless service for more than 25 years. What amazing things they have accomplished!

LED BY GINNY CLEMENTS, THE ‘LOUISE THOMAS ENDOWED CHAIR FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER RESEARCH’ COMPLETED! In 2016, the UA Steele Center advisory board completed the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair for Pediatric Cancer Research by raising an additional $500,000 to reach its goal of $2 million. The effort was led by long-time advisory board member, Ginny Clements. “This is an amazing accomplishment, and I’m so grateful that Ginny stepped up and graciously volunteered to chair this effort to complete the endowed chair,” said Louise Thomas. “Thanks to Ginny leading the way, and our most generous advisory board, our goal was reached.” The endowed chair is held by pediatric oncologist and researcher, Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, professor and chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

“The Little Engine that Could.” This award-winning float from the 2015 Rose Bowl parade was donated to the UA Steele Center by the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association. It now is displayed at the Main Gate Square during the holiday season.

“The hard work of our advisory board to complete the endowed chair will help us propel our pediatric cancer research forward,” said Dr. Katsanis.




© Photo: Allison Tyler Jones

In 1990, the Steele Foundation, led by then-President Dan Cracchiolo, donated $2 million to help build and name the center in honor of Phoenix businessman and philanthropist, Horace Steele. Over the years, the Steele Foundation, now led by Dan’s daughter, Marianne Cracchiolo Mago, has invested more than $4 million in the work of the UA Steele Center. In addition to its initial donation that helped establish the UA Steele Center, the Steele Foundation donated $1.25 million to establish the Horace W. Steele Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research to provide ongoing research support for the center’s director; $455,000 to recruit 13 world-class physician-scientists; $254,000 to support PANDA projects; and $215,000 to renovate offices, the board room, public spaces and general support.

Marianne Cracchiolo Mago and Dan Cracchiolo

Investing in pilot research projects has proven to be crucial for generating data needed to secure large grants from the NIH and other agencies. The Steele Foundation’s $1.25 million investment to establish the Horace W. Steele Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research to provide research support for Dr. Ghishan’s lab has resulted in $25 million in new grants from the NIH for research in the areas of autoimmunity, sodium transport, bone health, inflammatory bowel disease and integrative pediatric medicine. This is an incredible return on investment and enables UA Steele Center physician-scientists to advance children’s health through research. Horace Steele

“The impact the Steele Foundation has made through the Steele Center is truly immeasurable,” said Dr. Ghishan. “They have been our partners since the beginning and we’re so grateful for their ongoing support to help us improve the health of our children.” Learn more at:


Dr. Katsanis with members from Angel Charity, 2013

ANGEL CHARITY FOR CHILDREN, INC. Since 1984, Angel Charity for Children, Inc., has been making a profound and positive impact on children in Pima County, by supporting a wide array of organizations focused on kids—including the UA Steele Center. Angel Charity has donated more than $2 million to the UA Steele Center, and we are so grateful for their commitment to improving children’s health.

ANGEL CHARITY’S IMPACT OVER THE YEARS: In 1990, Angel Charity contributed $783,000, to build the labs on the fourth floor of the UA Steele Center, which were completed in 1992. The labs are named Angel Charity for Children – Wings for Genetic Research.

In 2001, Angel Charity donated $750,000 to create the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes, which opened in 2002. This clinic is the only comprehensive research and clinical care facility in Southern Arizona, providing care and education for nearly 1,000 children with type 1 diabetes and other endocrine disorders. In 2013, Angel Charity contributed $537,230 to increase the number of clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients and expand pediatric cancer research. “This funding contributed to our research in haploidentical bone marrow transplantation (h-BMT),” said pediatric cancer researcher and oncologist, Emmanuel Katsanis, MD. “Our published results led to us receiving a large grant from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to begin a phase I/II clinical trial of h-BMT with post-transplant cyclophosphamide and/or bendamustine,” he said. “The investment that Angel Charity has made in us has already paid off, by helping us acquire new grants and enabling us to conduct novel translational research through clinical trials.” Learn more at:



ENABLING CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Research equipment plays a vital role in advancing scientific discoveries. From analyzing cells and tissues, to examining genes, research and technology go hand in hand. The Armstrong McDonald Foundation has donated approximately $1.1 million over the years, enabling the UA Steele Center to purchase critical research equipment and remain on the cutting-edge of discovery.

HIGHLIGHTS: Anaerobic Chamber Bactron EX The Anaerobic Chamber Bactron EX is an instrument providing an oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment to culture bacteria adapted to anaerobic conditions in the gastrointestinal tract. The majority of bacteria inhabiting the GI tract are unable to survive in an atmosphere containing oxygen. The controlled environment provided by the anaerobic chamber allows researchers to cultivate these bacteria and use them for biochemical or genetic characterization or for subsequent studies with colonization of germ-free animals.

“Equipment is indispensable for research. The Armstrong McDonald Foundation’s generosity has really helped us stay on the leading-edge of research.” ~ Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD


QIAgility liquid handling robot (Qiagen) QIAgility is a fully automated, highthroughput pipetting robot, helping researchers process hundreds of samples in one day— saving vital time and increasing productivity. The robot is used to set up reactions, make dilutions, normalize concentrations, with extremely high precision. This instrument is used for microbiome analysis by Next Generation Sequencing.

UA Steele Center researcher, Daniel Laubitz, PhD, with QIAgility robot

Other Armstrong McDonald Foundation-funded equipment: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

BD FacsVerse 8-color flow cytometer EVOS FL Auto Cell Imaging System Luminex MAGPIX system with Milliplex Analyst (Millipore) G:BOX Chemi XT4 gel documentation system (Syngene) Service contract for BD LSR Fortessa flow cytometer New Brunswick™ Galaxy ce ll culture incubator Thermo Scientific™ MaxQ™ 8000 Incubated Stackable Shake Two Thermo Scientific Revco™ UxF -86°C freezers Benchtop Centrifuge 5418 R, refrigerated Heating block with shaking PCR thermocycler Anaerobic chamber Bactron EX (Bactron) Bullet Blender (NextAdvance) Ussing chamber system (Physiological Intruments)

UA Steele Center researcher, Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, with the Anaerobic Chamber Bactron EX


© Photo: Martha Lochert

Since 1999, Courtney’s Courage (formerly Tee Up For Tots) has hosted a charity golf tournament that takes place on the Friday closest to Courtney Page Zillman’s birthday in August. After a brave battle against neuroblastoma (a solid tumor cancer that originates in nerve tissue), Courtney passed away on Thanksgiving morning, November 25, 1999. She was just 4 years old. Courtney’s Courage established the Courtney Page Zillman Fellowship program at the UA Steele Center to provide young investigators the opportunity to launch their research careers and advance pediatric cancer research and discovery. Fellows have conducted research in cancer immunology, cancer vaccines, cancer immunotherapy and the anticancer effects of medicinal herbs. Their findings have provided valuable data enabling the UA Steele Center to secure additional NIH grants to further advance pediatric cancer research. The Courtney Page Zillman Fellowship has supported the following young pediatric cancer researchers: 2000-2003: Jason Beliakoff 2000-2003: Yi Zeng 2003-2005: Xinchun Chen 2003-2005: Ryan Falsey 2005-2007: Jessica Cantrell 2007-2009: Collin J. LaCasse 2011-2013: Alexis Buckman 2017-present: Megan Molina Our current fellow, Megan Molina, is researching the immune system’s role in regulating graft-versus-hostdisease, which may lead to better therapeutic approaches to treating cancer patients who have received bone marrow transplantation. By investing in the budding careers of promising young researchers, Courtney’s Courage ensures a return on investment that is priceless. Learn more:

From left: Emmanuel Katsanis, MD; Zillman Fellow, Megan Molina; Kathy Zillman Ogden and Steve Crooks from Courtney’s Courage





The Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition was established at the UA Steele Center in 2008, thanks to a generous $1 million gift from the Dorrance Family Foundation. The fellowship trains young researchers in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. “When considering which projects to support, we choose causes we feel personally involved in,” said Jacquie Dorrance. “My daughter Ashley and I established this endowed fellowship out of personal gratitude for Dr. Ghishan and the excellent care he and his team provided for my grandson, Anton,” she continued. “We know this fellowship will positively impact children’s health in the future.” “This fellowship enables promising young scientists to produce novel data from their research, leading to vital NIH grant funding, which is indispensable for new investigators starting their careers,” said Dr. Ghishan.

Ashley Dorrance Kaplan and her husband Micheal Kaplan, with their children

THE DORRANCE FELLOWS: 2009-2011: Rajalakshmy “Raji” Ramalingam, PhD

Dr. Ramalingam identified a new cellular pathway required to maintain immunological tolerance—the process by which the immune system doesn’t attack its own tissue. This discovery lays the groundwork to develop new ways to diagnose and treat autoimmune diseases.

2012-2014: Rita-Marie McFadden, PhD

Dr. McFadden’s research focused on preventing the switch from chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to early-onset colon cancer. She explored the use of curcumin (a component of turmeric, known to decrease inflammation), apoptosis (cell death) and cell proliferation. Her findings showed a reduction in cancer for curcumin-fed research mice and helped unveil how microbial populations can play a significant role in disease prevention.

2014-2017: Christy Harrison, PhD

Dr. Harrison explored how intestinal salt balance affects the ecology of microbes in our gut, and how those changes are associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She discovered that changes in sodium transport in the gut create a different microbial environment in the intestine. Read more about Christy’s research in this publication.



Dr. Harrison with her mentors Dr. Ghishan and Dr. Kiela at her dissertation presentation

FOR THE DORRANCE FAMILY FOUNDATION On June 29, 2017, Dorrance Fellow Christy Harrison defended her dissertation, as a component of completing her PhD program in immunobiology. I look back on the last five years with immense gratitude. I’m overwhelmed by the shoulders upon which my research, my career, and my future have been built. Our mentors are artists and iron workers in a sense: molding, bending, shaping us from one kind of wrought iron into another, making us both stronger and more beautiful at the same time. I’m profoundly grateful to the Dorrance Family Foundation, which has funded me as the Dorrance Fellow these last few years. Their generosity has been central to my success as a young graduate student, endeavoring to gain skill and expertise in a burgeoning and important field of research. It is through their support that I’ve had the opportunity to delve into microbiome research, gain skills and confidence as a scientist, and carve a direction for my future that is full of hope and opportunity.

inflammation can lead to potentially harmful shifts in the gut microbiome that might amplify the immune response. This may lead to new insights into the pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Understanding how physiological alterations to the intestine interact both with the immune system and the microbiome in the development of IBD is a key step in being able to develop targeted therapies and ultimately even prevention. I am both excited and grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this work. Once more, I thank the Dorrance Family Foundation for giving me this opportunity. I am supremely grateful. Christy Harrison, PhD Dorrance Fellow

Moreover, Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan has deeply invested in my career through his tireless dedication to train and retain students in a state-of-the-art laboratory, ever an encouragement and a source of inspiration. My research advisor, Dr. Pawel Kiela, has been there on the ground, shaping and reshaping my scientific skills, honing and smelting and shaping me into the scientist I am today. To both of these scientists, I am indebted in gratitude. My time at the UA Steele Center has involved the opportunity to unravel interesting insights into the nature of the gut microbiome as it is affected by how ions flux in our intestine during inflammation. My research revealed that disruption of sodium transport during

With her PhD now completed, Dr. Harrison is interested in working internationally in public health, investigating the impact of nutrition on the microbiome in the progression of disease.






© Photo: Steven Meckler

Diamond Children’s announcement event, 2007. From left: Helaine Levy, her son, Nathan, Joan and Donald Diamond

Donald and Joan Diamond have long been known throughout the Tucson community as being generous philanthropists, supporting a myriad of causes, including children’s health. Their passion for children’s health stemmed from a horrible loss. In 1971, their middle daughter, Deanne, who suffered from severe asthma, died shortly before her 14th birthday. Joan, who passed away in December 2016, was involved with the UA Steele Center since the mid-80s, and served on its first advisory board. In 2000, she was appointed a life member. In 1987, the Diamond Foundation (led by their daughter, Helaine Levy) made a lead gift of $250,000 to the UA Steele Center’s capital campaign to help build the new facility and establish the Joan B. & Donald R. Diamond Laboratories for Lung Research. In 2000, the Diamond Foundation donated $315,000 to establish the Diamond Microarray Core Facility. Microarray technology is used to identify which genes are expressed, or “turned on,” in a given tissue sample. Microarray advances the study of genetics, enabling researchers to understand which groups of genes interact to create disease states. This is particularly relevant to complex diseases such as asthma.

In 2003, friends of Donald and Joan made a donation that established the Deanne M. Diamond Pulmonary Function Lab in honor of their 50 years of marriage. The lab was outfitted with new equipment to improve diagnosis and analysis of lung problems in children. In 2007, the Diamonds made a lead gift of $15 million toward building Tucson’s first children’s medical center connected to an academic research facility: Diamond Children’s Medical Center (now named Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center), which opened in 2010. The beautiful facility has 80 private rooms for medical/surgery, PICU, hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplantation areas, and a 36-bed NICU. Each private room has a bathroom and shower, a sleeping bed for parents and Wi-Fi. What’s more, Diamond Children’s has an engaging entrance, meditation room, aquarium, inspiration garden, outdoor activity area, entertainment area, Route 66 Café and library. We are profoundly grateful to the Diamond family for their enduring support of children’s health!


THE COWIN FAMILY The Cowin family has learned firsthand how investing in research impacts the lives of countess children in Arizona and beyond. Upon touring the UA Steele Center with some friends from PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), Tammy Ryan, who, with her mom, Jacque Cowin, manage the Cowin Charitable Fund, met UA Steele Center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, and some of his researchers. Dr. Ghishan told them about a young man from Kentucky with a calcium processing disorder. For 14 years, the teen had to undergo calcium infusion treatments. Dr. Ghishan recently had determined the boy had a gene that was upregulated. Dr. Ghishan discovered grapefruit juice would downregulate the gene and help his body process calcium correctly. The teen was able to completely stop the infusion therapy and live a normal life. To this day, the boy is doing well. Hearing this remarkable story about this “bedside to bench” research, coupled with Dr. Ghishan’s passion for his patients and love of science, established the Cowin family’s belief that investing in the UA Steele Center would truly help children. Tammy joined PANDA in 2014. In 2017, along with Janey Henze Cook, Tammy chaired the event, which grossed a record-breaking $1.5 million. PANDA also received an additional $500,000 gift from the University of Arizona that year. The success of this event resulted in the annual


PANDA research project being fully funded and three endowments established to create new faculty research funds and a professorship in the areas of autoimmune disease and behavioral and developmental pediatrics. The Cowin family has been supporting the UA Steele Center through PANDA for about six years. “For as long as we can, we will continue to support the Steele Center through PANDA,” said Tammy. “My mom and I give to a lot of organizations, and most of them focus on children. I think we both agree that Steele/PANDA is our number one priority, because we just know how tirelessly the researchers work.”

Tammy Ryan and her daughter Kendall, at the 2017 PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon

KAREN & BOB HOBBS, SR. Karen Hobbs is one of the founding members of PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) and has been involved with the group for nearly 20 years. Through PANDA, she and her husband, Bob Sr., have supported the UA Steele Center. “It really does your heart good to see how much PANDA has been able to do for the UA Steele Center over the years, through funding research,” said Karen. Bob and Karen met as students at Arizona State University, and have bled maroon and gold ever since. However, they also recognize that investing in excellence in Arizona overcomes the friendly in-state sports rivalry between the UA and ASU.

The Hobbs are no strangers to the fears and reality that health challenges bring to families. The UA Steele Center has been there to help with family members and friends’ children as well. They have even opened their home to share the work of the UA Steele Center with the community. The Hobbs have planned for the future as well, and have an estate plan/bequest in place to benefit the UA Steele Center “down the road.” “Let’s face it, the children are where the future lies,” said Bob. “We can help, but the kids are where it’s at.”

Karen’s two daughters-in-law have been active PANDA members as well. Daughter-in-law Sandy Hobbs, who co-chaired the fashion show in 2015-2016, currently chairs one of the PANDA committees and is president-elect.


© Photo: Amy Haskell

Alan and Jan Levin (seated on bench) with their children and grandchildren.

ALAN AND JAN LEVIN Alan and Jan Levin were introduced to the UA Steele Center when Alan was named as one of the 2017 Fathers of the Year by the Father’s Day Council Tucson. The Levins spent time with Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, in one of his research labs, learning about his love and dedication for children’s health. This shared interest created an immediate bond between the three. They could relate to each other’s strong work ethic and the desire to strive for excellence. Jan and Alan met while growing up in a small town in Kansas. They were both farmers’ kids, working hard for what they had. Years later, when they were in a position to


return the financial support given by Alan’s grandparents, Alan and Jan were advised to pay it forward and share their blessings with others. They have taken this to heart, investing their hard-earned money in nonprofits where they feel their gifts will be of value and make a difference. With the support of their three children and grandchildren, Alan and Jan decided to invest in the UA Steele Center by supporting an endowed professorship for Dr. Ghishan. This gift will enable him to enhance and expand research in the areas of autism and the gut microbiome.

CURTIS COSDEN Curtis C. Cosden has the honor of being the largest donor to the University of Arizona Medical School at the time of his well-planned estate gift of $8 million, nearly 30 years ago. Thoughtful distribution of his financial support has helped many areas of the medical school, including contributing to the creation of the Steele Children’s Research Center as it was being built. One wing of laboratories is named in his honor, and has housed a number of neonatology researchers over the years, impacting a generation of knowledge about babies, nutrition, and health.

died from scarlet fever when the boy was just 4 years old. Along with his own health challenges, these experiences helped shape Cosden’s appreciation for the work of science and medicine. Cosden’s youngest sibling, Carol Cosden Price, participated in the early decisions about where her brother’s largesse would be applied. She was pleased to select the Curtis C. Cosden Neonatology & Respiratory Research Wing.

Last year, Cosden’s niece, Pat Price, was able to visit the completed labs for the first time, nearly 25 years Growing up on the shores of Long after the family’s decision to help Island Sound, young Cosden was part build this space. The labs still support of a prominent Southold family living neonatal and respiratory research, on his parents’ estate, Eastward, Pat Price visiting the lab named after her uncle and are a vibrant home to Melissa where horses were an important part Halpern, PhD, and Katri Typpo, MD, and their teams of his early life. Later, he decided to move “westward” of researchers. Pat shared, “It was wonderful to see my to Arizona, and his beloved horses, Turkey and Knobby, Uncle Curt’s legacy and to meet…Dr. Ghishan and some served as therapy animals for him as he struggled with of the team. It was a very special day. My uncle would be mental illness. very proud of the research being done with his bequest.” Medicine, doctors and the pursuit of therapies for We are grateful that we are able to help maintain an improved health were an integral part of Cosden’s life. enduring legacy of Curtis Cosden and the Cosden family His father retired as the CEO of a pharmaceutical through the work that we do for babies and families. company as a young man, and Cosden’s eldest brother


HELEN WERTHEIM CREATES UNLIMITED POSSIBILITY As a successful businesswoman, Helen Wertheim knows that hard work fuels unlimited possibility. Helen exudes a positive, can-do attitude that inspires others with the belief that they can accomplish anything, with commitment and determination. Helen is also grateful. Grateful for the education she received at the UA, and grateful for the skills she acquired here. “The UA gave me the tools I needed to build a successful career.” In 1979, Helen’s father, Bob Wertheim, created Charter Companies, a financial services organization. In 1985, he created Charter Insurance Services to expand the services provided to his customers. Helen joined Charter Insurance Services in 1988 and seven years later bought the company from her father. She owned Charter—with 25 employees and offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe—until she sold it in 2009. Since then, Helen has focused on philanthropy. She’s driven by the desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Most recently, Helen made a significant donation to the UA in the form of a planned gift—establishing four remarkable endowments, including an endowment at the UA Steele Center. “I’ve always loved kids and have had a passion for helping them in many areas,” said Helen. After touring the UA Steele Center, Helen was moved by the varied research being conducted and decided to help those who are working to help sick children. She made a planned gift and established the Helen J. Wertheim Steele Children’s Research Center Endowment. This endowment will provide ongoing funds to support research areas of greatest need, as determined by the center director. “Supporting the Steele Center was a way to do something meaningful and leave a legacy to help those who are most vulnerable of all—children,” she said. “We are so grateful for Helen’s gift,” said center director, Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. “Pediatric diseases cannot be cured without research, and Helen’s generosity makes an enduring impact on children’s health by enabling us to move medicine forward through our research and discovery.”


RUTH AND PAULA MONDSCHEIN CREATE LASTING LEGACY Ruth Mondschein and her two daughters, Paula and Joan, spent much of their professional lives helping children, especially children with disabilities. When Joan passed away in August 2014, Ruth and Paula wanted to do something meaningful to honor her memory. Ruth had been a UA Steele Center advisory board member and passionate advocate for children’s health for many years. After much consideration, Ruth and Paula made a planned gift to establish the Dr. Ruth, Joan, and Paula Mondschein Endowment for Children’s Research to honor center director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. Funds from the endowment will support pediatric autoimmune disorders research as it relates to cancer, kidney diseases, type 1 diabetes and Irritable Bowel Disease, to name just a few. Ruth, who was affectionately known as “Dr. Ruth,” passed away on Aug. 3, 2017. “Dr. Ruth was such an amazing friend of the Steele Center,” said Dr. Ghishan. “I miss her optimistic and joyful spirit that inspired so many, and I’m humbled by Ruth and Paula’s generosity to establish this endowment in my honor.”

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, Dr. Ruth and Paula Mondschein


I M PAC T S R E S E A RC H “The support from PANDA, the Arizona Elks Major Projects and the Armstrong McDonald Foundation are very important for our research. These funds not only provide solid financial support for our research projects, but also help us purchase state-of-art instruments for our research.”

“Equipment is indispensable for research. The Armstrong McDonald Foundation’s generosity has really helped us stay on the leading-edge of research.”

“Research is conducted by people. Thanks to the Steele Foundation, we’ve been able to recruit world-class researchers to the Steele Center. We are grateful!”

Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD

Fayez K. Ghishan, MD

“Funding we have received from PANDA, Angel Charity, Courtney’s Courage, and other organizations has been essential to our pediatric cancer research and clinical trials program. This generous support has also been vital in helping secure large external grants from the NIH, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and others.”

“The donations we’ve received from PANDA, Yuma Friends and the Arizona Elks Major Projects have allowed us to complete research in dietary supplements for autism, pet therapy in autism and have helped us develop new research in autoimmune brain injury. These donations make the difference between getting something done or not. We recognize the effort that it takes for people to contribute and we do everything we can to maximize the impact of their donations.”

Associate Professor, Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Director, UA Steele Children’s Research Center

Hua Xu, PhD

Associate Professor, Gastroenterology and Nutrition

“Philanthropy has been essential to me. A gift from PANDA allowed me to be recruited to Arizona, establish a clinical allergy-immunology service, an aerodigestive multidisciplinary clinic, and support my time for basic science research. This led directly to over $2 million in NIH-funded research. PANDA continues to support me and provide funds to extend our research into inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Moreover, funding from the PACE Foundation helped us create the CPAE center for children with postinfectious autoimmune diseases.”

Michael Daines, MD

Associate Professor, Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology

Emmanuel Katsanis, MD Professor, Hematology, Oncology and BMT

Sydney Rice, MD, MS

Associate Professor, Developmental Pediatrics

PHOTOGRAPHER AND PHILANTHROPIST: ALLISON TYLER JONES Some donations cannot be measured in monetary terms. We are so grateful for the immeasurable time and talent that Allison Tyler Jones has donated to the UA Steele Center over the years with her beautiful photography—including the photo of PJ Calihan on the cover of this publication. Her striking photos of patients, families and physician-scientists grace our hallways, offices and board room. The value of her donation is truly priceless. Allison’s amazing photography can be viewed at:





Philanthropic investment is key in the University of Arizona’s ability to attract and retain outstanding faculty. Faculty named to an endowed position hold distinction on campus. The endowment is part of their title and identity. Moreover, it is a permanent investment in the UA and ensures that faculty receive support year after year. Donors who support endowed faculty positions invest not only in the faculty member, but also in the students, programs and research that the faculty member touches and in which they are an integral part.

Through the UA Eminent Scholars Program, the university partners with our most ardent supporters to strengthen and grow resources for our talented faculty. This program represents a significant investment by the UA and the State of Arizona.

Gifts to establish an endowed faculty position begin at $1 million. Gifts of this magnitude solidify the present and the future of the UA, turn our biggest challenges into the greatest opportunities, enable breakthroughs and enrich the world-class stature of our programs. When the UA can recruit and retain the best faculty, our entire community benefits.


Faculty ideas become tomorrow’s solutions to the grand challenges of our day. With support, they can reach their full potential. Endowments such as these give faculty time and resources to pursue their most promising and daring projects. They also makes sure we maintain a strategic and relentless research agenda.

in 2017, the Levin family, the Arizona Elks Major Projects and PANDA committed to gifts of $8.25 million to fund the following endowments. The UA Eminent Scholars Program provides the value of the endowment payouts, while the actual payout is reinvested in the endowment fund, for the first five years. Additionally, the UA Steele Center will receive a monetary award equal to 15 percent of the value of the gifts to be used for faculty support. This is an unprecedented opportunity for the UA to magnify the impact of these generous commitments.

Alan and Janice Levin Family Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics

PANDA Endowed Professorship in Autoimmune Disease Research


Chairholder: Fayez K. Ghishan, MD Alan and Jan Levin recognized what a passionate leader the UA Steele Center has in Dr. Ghishan. Not only leading the department of Pediatrics and Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Ghishan is very active clinically as well as in the lab. As a two-time NIH M.E.R.I.T. Award recipient, his research has continuously been funded by the NIH for 40 years. “Taking what I see in children—at the bedside—and trying to figure out how I can solve their problem through science—at the bench— that is my greatest pleasure,” said Dr. Ghishan. Initial research will be conducted in the area of autism and the microbiome. This is the second endowed position the Levins are currently supporting at the UA. They also endowed an adult cancer research position at the UA Cancer Center.


Offered through the Office of the Provost, the program is designed to help the UA recruit and retain top scholars in all fields of study. While the funds available are limited, they are substantial. This investment represents a shared belief that growing support for our faculty is of paramount importance.

Chairholder: Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD Autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are on the rise in the Western world. More children are being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases than any other type of chronic or acute illness. This is an area where the UA Steele Center is working to uncover the mechanisms that induce tolerance and the causes of inflammation. This endowed professorship was established by the Phoenix Women’s Board (PANDA) to support basic science research in the area of autoimmunity. Investing in pilot studies and providing resources for research will result in data necessary to apply for NIH funding.

Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Statewide Pediatric Research Chairholder: Wayne Morgan, MD The UA Steele Center was established by the Arizona Board of Regents to be the state’s pediatric research leader. This endowed chair creates a leadership position to help focus on the UA Steele Center’s role as a thought leader in children’s health in Arizona. One of the key ways this will be accomplished is by continuing to expand clinical research throughout the state, primarily in Maricopa County, due to its population. The Arizona Elks have members in all counties in Arizona and want to support the benefits that physicians and researchers at the UA Steele Center bring to children all around the state. “Our support for the Steele Center is long-standing and has not wavered for 25 years. The UA Eminent Scholars Program gives organizations like ours the opportunity to expand our financial support for the Steele Center in key areas that have a positive long-term influence on Arizona’s children and our communities,” said Ira Cohen, president of the Arizona Elks Major Projects.

PANDA Endowed Faculty Research in Autoimmune Diseases Chairholder: Michael Daines, MD Designed to provide additional support to understand the mechanisms of autoimmunity and potentials for therapy, the fund’s proceeds will initially focus on postinfectious autoimmune encephalopathy. This disease strikes children suddenly, with the immune response affecting a variety of brain-related responses. Often misdiagnosed and with a tremendous need for educating medical professionals, PANDA recognized the devastating effects and have invested in helping uncover answers and supporting advances in education and therapy. It was earlier funding by PANDA that helped recruit Dr. Daines to the UA and establish the comprehensive PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center.

PANDA Endowed Faculty Research in Developmental Pediatrics Chairholder: Sydney Rice, MD, MS

Arizona Elks Endowed Faculty Research for Technology and Innovation Chairholder/s: Fayez K. Ghishan, MD and Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD “Research is moving today at a pace not seen before,” said Dr. Ghishan. To keep up with this pace, the UA Steele Center needs the latest in scientific equipment. Having direct access to the newest equipment permits our researchers to conduct scientific experiments much more quickly. The average piece of research equipment today costs about $100,000 and thousands more for supplies to use it. In addition, lengthy training is required to operate these precise and specific instruments. The Arizona Elks recognize that children will heal faster and doctors will have greater treatment options if researchers can find answers more quickly. This new endowed research fund provides perpetual funding to ensure that UA Steele Center researchers have an annual resource to support purchasing and maintaining innovative equipment for labs.

Developmental Pediatrics encompasses the behaviors and development of children and includes social, cognitive, and physical aspects. These can be challenges faced since birth or as a result of traumatic brain injury or other insult to the brain or body. Dr. Rice was a recipient of investment by PANDA in 2008 as one of the “Women in Science.” With PANDA funds, she was able to earmark time and resources to help enable the successful grant application for ArizonaLEND, an educational and training program for professionals in the state who work with children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Rice is one of only four board-certified developmental and behavioral pediatricians in Arizona and the only bilingual Spanish speaker. Two of the other three are part of her team. This new endowed research fund is meant to support research—both basic science and clinical research—in all areas of developmental pediatrics and to create opportunities to expand support for autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities.





UA Steele Center advisory board member Jeannine Mason and her daughter, Mia, are two generations of UA Wildcat athletes who are the picture of health and strength. But when Mia was 12, she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called ependymoma. Jeannine recalls that time as a whirlwind of doctors, surgery, waiting rooms, radiation treatments and months of recovery. “We learned so much about the research that had been done that allowed her doctors and radiologists to map out exactly where the radiation needed to go and what areas they needed to avoid. Only through research were they able to be so precise.” This year, Mia—a junior at the UA, majoring in Film and Television and a member of the beach volleyball team—celebrates nine years of being cancer-free. Her family’s experience inspired Mia and Jeannine to establish the Mia Mason Fund for Immunotherapy Research to support children’s cancer research at the UA Steele Center.  As long-time supporters of cancer research, this mother and daughter team want people to know that research at the UA Steele Center is saving kids’ lives all over the world.

“I want other survivors to know that looking at me might give them hope.” ~Mia Mason, 20

“I want other survivors to know that looking at me might give them hope,” said Mia. “Looking at me might help them say, ‘I’ll be okay, too.’” To make a gift online to the Mia Mason Fund for Immunotherapy Research:

63 © Photo: Dominic Bonuccelli


GIVING YOUR LEGACY Passionate advocates, volunteers and philanthropic partners like you give us the power to change the lives of children and their families. Imagine creating a lasting legacy that: Propels bold new research and discoveries Trains the next generation of pediatric experts Expands our best resources in pediatric health without limits of geography, ethnicity, accessibility or economic status A gift of any size in your estate plan makes a difference in our continued success. You may give a specific asset, a dollar amount, a percentage of your estate or the remainder of your estate after all other gifts have been distributed. You also can choose how the funds are used to meet your philanthropic and personal goals. Planned gifts to support the UA Steele Center cost nothing during your lifetime, but will ignite and impact our groundbreaking work for lifetimes to come.

OUR RESEARCH MEANS EVERYTHING TO FAMILIES LIKE HOLLAND’S That’s because we have constantly defied convention for 25 years. As a result, our research-based solutions have improved the lives of countless families throughout Arizona, the United States and the world. Only a research center like ours has the capacity to fight childhood diseases, including those that no one knew existed. Thanks to your generosity we have the power to bring together basic science and clinical research, clinical care and teaching to find answers to today’s and tomorrow’s childhood diseases. Only with our world-renowned experts in autoimmune disorders, developmental pediatrics, immunology, gastroenterology, pediatric cancer and pediatric research can we apply a team-based approach to treatment. Your support means we’re recruiting and retaining brilliant physicians and scientists who know how to tackle the complex health issues facing our children. Thanks to donors like you, we are turning ideas into solutions that make our kids healthy again. Families all over Arizona have counted on us for 25 years. Imagine what your gift can do for the next 25. To make a gift online:

To make a planned gift: UA Foundation Office of Gift Planning (520) 621-1993 or

To make a gift by check: UAF/Steele Center P.O. Box 245073 Tucson AZ 85724-5073 Contact us: The University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center Development Office, UA Health Sciences 520-626-5752 | 877-518-4638


FACULTY Fayez K. Ghishan, MD

| 2017-2018


Pawel Kiela, PhD Associate Professor Hua Xu, PhD Associate Professor



Richard A. Wahl, MD Professor

Division Chief: Kimberly Gerhart, MD Clinical Associate Professor Nicole Abdy, MD Clinical Associate Professor Conrad Clemens, MD Professor William L. Holm, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Timothy D. Johanson, MD Clinical Associate Professor Erica Danielle Laber, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Emily Lawson, DO Clinical Assistant Professor William N. Marshall Jr., MD Professor Melissa Moore, MD Assistant Professor Richard Wahl, MD Professor

Professor and Head

ALLERGY, IMMUNOLOGY & RHEUMATOLOGY Division Chief: Michael Daines, MD Associate Professor Heather Cassell, MD Clinical Associate Professor

CARDIOLOGY Division Chief: Scott Klewer, MD Professor Brent Barber, MD Professor Stan Goldberg, MD Professor Emeritus Daniela Lax, MD Professor Ricardo Samson, MD Professor Michael Seckeler, MD, MS Associate Professor Shelby White, MD Assistant Professor

CRITICAL CARE Division Chief: Katri Typpo, MD Associate Professor Hillary Franke, MD Associate Professor Mary Gaspers, MD Clinical Associate Professor Robyn J. Meyer, MD Associate Professor Jenny Mendelson, MD Assistant Professor David Nathalang, DO Clinical Associate Professor Andreas Theodorou, MD Professor

ENDOCRINOLOGY Division Chief: Mark Wheeler, MD Clinical Professor Cindy Chin, MD Assistant Professor Zoe González-Garcia, MD Assistant Professor

GASTROENTEROLOGY & NUTRITION Division Chief: Hassan Hassan, MD Professor Fayez K. Ghishan, MD Professor and Department Head Christopher J. Justinich, MD Professor

GENETICS & DEVELOPMENTAL PEDIATRICS Division Chief: Sydney A. Rice, MD, MS Associate Professor Jennifer Andrews, PhD Assistant Professor Robert Erickson, MD Professor Emeritus Margaret Kurzius-Spencer, PhD, MS, MPH Assistant Professor John Meaney, PhD Research Lecturer Eileen McGrath, PhD Assistant Professor Catherine S. Riley, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Margaret Trouard, MD Clinical Instructor

Melissa Cox, DO Assistant Professor Rachel Cramton, MD Associate Professor Valerie Ebert, DO Clinical Assistant Professor Geetha Gopalakrishnan, MD Assistant Professor Ann Juodakis, MD Assistant Professor Janet Lau, MD Assistant Professor Stephen Metz, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Marie Olson, MD, FACEP Clinical Assistant Professor Hengameh Rastegar-Murphy, MD Clinical Lecturer Jeffrey Rein, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Jasna Seserinac, MD Clinical Associate Professor Adam Walpert, MD Clinical Assistant Professor

INFECTIOUS DISEASES Division Chief: Ziad Shehab, MD Professor Sean P. Elliott, MD Professor Kareem Shehab, MD Assistant Professor

NEONATOLOGY Division Chief: Alan D. Bedrick, MD Professor Mo Bader, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Rajesh Dudani, MD Assistant Professor Melissa D. Halpern, PhD Associate Professor Ranjit Kylathu, MD Clinical Associate Professor Shalin Patel, MBBS, MPH Assistant Professor



Division Chief: Emmanuel Katsanis, MD Professor Neha Bhasin, MD Assistant Professor Lisa Kopp, DO Associate Professor Lauren Nicholls, MD Assistant Professor Yi Zeng, MD, PhD Assistant Professor

Division Chief: Emmanuel Apostol, MD Associate Professor

HOSPITAL MEDICINE Division Chief: Chan Lowe, MD Associate Professor Mridula Aggarwal, MD Clinical Assistant Professor

PULMONARY & SLEEP MEDICINE Division Chief: Cori Daines, MD Professor Daniel Combs, MD Assistant Professor Fernando Martinez, MD Professor Wayne Morgan, MD Professor Anne L. Wright, PhD Professor

CREDITS Creative Director/Editor/Writer Darci Slaten, MA Director of Communications

Graphic Design Debra Bowles UAHS BioCommunications

Photography UAHS BioCommunications Dominic Bonuccelli Heather Buttelmann Kris Hanning Amy Haskell Allison Tyler Jones Christie Kase Steven Meckler Chris Mooney Darci Slaten

Additional Writers Gloria Bloomer Lauren Erdelyi Kenya Johnson Clint McCall Lori Stratton, MPH

Additional Assistance Gloria Bloomer Alex Bradspies Lauren Coleman Jennifer Flores Alice Goddard Nigel Holman, MBA Ellen Hull Kenya Johnson Sue Mathews Trudy Meckler Lori Stratton, MPH

Editorial Board Fayez K. Ghishan, MD Professor and Head UA Dept. of Pediatrics Director, UA Steele Center George Humphrey, MA Assistant Vice President UAHS Office of Public Affairs Lori Stratton, MPH Director of Development

All contents © 2017 Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona is an EEO/AA - M/W/D/V Employer.


© Photo: Steven Meckler

University of Arizona Health Sciences 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Room 3301 PO Box 245073 Tucson, Arizona 85724-5073

“It’s research that moves medicine forward. At the UA Steele Children’s Research Center, we ask big questions that lead to bold discoveries. This is how we develop new treatments and cures for our children.” Fayez K. Ghishan, MD Director, UA Steele Children’s Research Center

UA Steele Center 25-year anniversary publication  
UA Steele Center 25-year anniversary publication  

Publication celebrates the UA Steele Children's Research Center 25 years of improving children's health