Dr. Shaine Morris awarded prestigious K23 grant from the National Institutes of Health

HOUSTON - (May 7, 2015) - Dr. Shaine Morris, pediatric cardiologist at Texas Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics-cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine, was recently honored with a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Texas Children's Heart Center is ranked #2 nationally in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News World Report. To learn more, visit texaschildrens.org/heart.

The goal of the award, given to senior postdoctoral fellows or faculty-level candidates, is to bring recipients to the point where they are able to conduct their research independently and are competitive for major grant support through career development. Morris' research is centered on children and young adults with genetic disorders that are associated with aortic disease including Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Turner syndrome, familial bicuspid aortic valve and familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection.

"I am truly honored to receive this distinguished award," said Morris, who is also co-director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic at Texas Children's Heart Center. "With the support of my mentors, the Texas Children's cardiology team and the Cardiovascular Research Core, I look forward to conducting meaningful research that will have positive implications for pediatric cardiovascular patients in the future."

Following the formation of a mentorship committee of local and national experts and a rigorous application process, Morris was awarded the five-year grant which began in April. Morris' mentorship committee includes physicians from the Texas Medical Center: Dr. Rajesh Krishnamurthy, section chief of radiology research and cardiac imaging at Texas Children's and associate professor of pediatrics-radiology at Baylor; Dr. Scott LaMaire, professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Baylor; as well as Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Dr. Jon Tyson of the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.

Morris' project will look at both a national dataset of patients from centers across the country as well as patients cared for at Texas Children's with aortic disease to determine how tortuosity of the arteries, in addition to size of the arteries, predicts outcomes. The implications of the research are major as there are currently no guidelines in place to determine when interventions on young patients with aortic enlargement are necessary.

"I am thrilled to further our commitment to research through Dr. Morris' prestigious work," said Dr. Daniel J. Penny, chief of cardiology at Texas Children's and section head and professor of pediatrics-cardiology at Baylor. "Her expertise in cardiovascular genetics has proved to be an invaluable asset to our team and this effort will only improve the care we provide to our patients each day."

For more information about Texas Children's Heart Center watch this video.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.