Child Neurology Foundation Shields Research Grant

The Child Neurology Foundation announces the Shields Grant to support translational or clinical* research by a child neurologist early in his/her academic career. The selected investigator will receive a $100,000 grant of $50,000 per year for two years. To be eligible for this grant, the applicant must be a junior faculty member who has developed clinical research skills and has a plan for further development of that research or has basic science research skills related to child neurology and who has a plan to translate the new knowledge into clinical care for children with neurologic diseases. The Shields Grant must have a clinical research*/patient care component. Unlike the Scientific Grant, the candidate is NOT disqualified if they have received NIH funding but must be a legal resident of the United States or Canada and be a registered member of the Child Neurology Society. The Shields Grant is supported fully by the Winokur Family Foundation.

*Clinical research refers to research done on human subjects with the goal of understanding the natural history of a disease, validating diagnostic tools, or evaluating a treatment or intervention. **Basic science research generally refers to studies done in attempt to answer more fundamental, but equally important, questions that may be used as the foundation for further research.


Applicants prepare a succinct, 1-2 page letter of intent that includes: (1) the hypothesis to be tested; (2) a brief description of the experimental approach; (3) the relevance to furthering the field of child neurology; and (4) a cover letter that includes complete contact information – email, phone, address. Convert the letter of intent to PDF format and email to

The grant review committee is appointed by the Board of Directors of the Child Neurology Society and the Child Neurology Foundation and is composed of child neurologists who are also successful scientists. In addition to scientific criteria such as the soundness of the hypothesis, feasibility, and relevance to pediatric neurologic disorders, reviewers look for evidence that the grant will have a major career impact. The review committee will determine up to ten finalists. Applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit a full application. Applications are provided by CNF.


2015 application submission window is closed. Check back in early 2016 for deadlines.

Contact Information

Please direct all correspondence to:

Stacia Grace
Director of Operations
Child Neurology Foundation
201 Chicago Avenue #200
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Current Grantees

Studio Portrait

2015 Shields Research Grant Recipient: Patricia Musolino, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

“Brain Endothelial Dysfunction in Adrenoleukodystrophy”

Cerebral Adrenoleukodystrophy (CALD) is an inherited devastating disease where inflammatory cells infiltrate the brain and cause progressive degeneration that leads to vegetative state or death in months to years. Unfortunately, current therapies either fail to prevent cerebral disease or carry high toxicity and mortality. The support provided by the Child Neurology Foundation Shields Grant will allow me to study how the gene defect changes brain vessel permeability allowing access of inflammatory cells to the brain using imaging in patients and laboratory tools at the bench. More specifically, the study will probe the effect of the gene (ABCD1) deficiency upon blood brain barrier integrity at both the tissue and molecular level by (1) Applying new MRI  tequnique to determine if changes in permeability occur prior to lesion progression in patients with CALD (Aim 1) and; (2) Evaluating in-vitro the effects of lack of ABCD1 upon the barrier function of human brain endothelial cells (Aim 2). If validated by this study, this approach sets forth a successful strategy to: (1) identify which patients are at risk of developing cerebral disease; (2) monitor and improve current treatments and; (4) develop an assay to screen for novel therapeutic targets. Results obtained will also help me to prepare future clinical research studies as well as an application to an NINDS Exploratory Trials R01. My passion for patient care and commitment to rigorous science ensures that my research will embrace new ideas and technologies in a highly interdisciplinary environment.

Photo of Joana Osorio MD2014 Shields Research Grant Recipient: Joana Osorio, M.D.
University of Rochester
“Cell-based therapy for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease”

This research project aims to develop a cell-based treatment strategy for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a severe pediatric disorder of myelin caused by mutations in the proteolipid protein gene (PLP1). By transplanting genetically corrected cells from affected patients in a murine model of PMD, I will test their ability to rescue the phenotype and produce normal myelin. I will use induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with duplications and missense mutations in the PLP1 gene, correct the mutations by using gene-editing techniques and subsequently differentiate those to oligodendroglial fate. After intracerebral transplantation in a murine model of PMD, I will evaluate their motor performance and posteriorly the histology of engrafted cells. If this study is successful, it will provide a proof of principle that autologous cell transplantation can be a feasible strategy for treatment of congenital disorders of myelin.

My career goal as a clinician-scientist is to bridge basic research and clinical work in order to establish new treatment strategies for pediatric white matter disorders for which no cure is presently available. The Shields Award represents an important step towards this goal, by supporting my research project that will focus on Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD). Success of this pre-clinical study will advance clinical translation of cell-based therapies that can be applied not only to PMD but potentially to other leukodystrophies.

Photo of Hannah Tully MD2013 Shields Research Award: Hannah Tully, M.D.
Seattle Children’s Hospital/Seattle Children’s Research Institute
“Pathogenesis and Clinical Implications of Primary Pediatric Hydrocephalus”

One in a thousand newborn infants is diagnosed with hydrocephalus before they even leave the hospital, which can leave their families blindsided.  My research proposal seeks to address basic questions about hydrocephalus in children: why it happens, how best to treat it, and what it means for a child’s future.  There are three parts to my project: First, I will use MRI-based techniques to explore the relationship between the shape of a child’s brain and the way that cerebrospinal fluid and blood flow within and around it.  Second, I will collect detailed clinical information about how children with different types of hydrocephalus develop physically and cognitively, and how they respond to various types of surgery.  Finally, I will use these results to guide genomic investigations of the factors that give rise to different types of hydrocephalus, and to differences in clinical outcome.  The goal of my work is a deeper understanding of why hydrocephalus develops, a better grasp of its clinical implications, and a new sense of how to tailor treatment to each individual child.