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Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC/Pitt Esteemed Infectious Disease Clinician/Researcher To Be Awarded Carol Ann Craumer Endowed Chair for Pediatric Research

PITTSBURGH, July 19, 2011 Toni Darville, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, will be awarded the Carol Ann Craumer Endowed Chair for Pediatric Research in an installation ceremony Monday, July 25.

The Carol Ann Craumer Endowed Chair for Pediatric Research was established in 1998 to recognize outstanding leaders in pediatric research and to provide resources for research innovations that could directly influence medical care for children.

Dr. Darville, professor of pediatrics and immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is one of the world’s leading researchers on the immunological mechanisms for damage to the female reproductive tract caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia, the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States and a major global public health target, causes infertility and is believed to play a role in preterm labor and complications in premature infants.

“This endowed chair is a testament to Dr. Darville’s significant accomplishments as a physician and scientist in the area of infectious diseases,” said David H. Perlmutter, M.D., physician-in-chief and scientific director at Children’s, and the Vira I. Heinz Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Her research already has greatly expanded our understanding of this devastating disease and has outstanding potential to lead to novel vaccine strategies for prevention. Toni also is a wonderful mentor, whose energy and enthusiasm for uncovering the causes of childhood diseases and new treatments has had a transformational effect at Children’s Hospital.”

For the last 16 years, Dr. Darville has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, and in 1998 she received the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society’s Young Investigator Award. Her research has been featured in numerous journals, including Immunity, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Immunology and PLoS Pathogens. She is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Society for Microbiology and the American Association of Immunologists, and has been recognized many times during her career by medical students and residents as an outstanding teacher. 

In November 2009, together with a team of researchers from the Pitt School of Medicine, Dr. Darville established the UPMC Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Center, which competed successfully for a $12.5 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Scientists at the center focus their research, based at Children’s Hospital, Magee-Womens Research Institute and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, on the prevention of female reproductive tract complications caused by sexually transmitted infections. The research projects are aimed at developing new therapies to treat bacterial infections of the female upper genital tract that produce pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Each year in the United States, it is estimated that more than 1 million women experience an episode of acute PID. More than 100,000 women become infertile each year as a result of PID, and a large proportion of the ectopic pregnancies that occur every year are due to PID complications.

The Carol Ann Craumer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research was established in June 2000 from a bequest from the William and Eleanor Craumer Trust. The fund was established in the name of Carol Ann, their daughter, who contracted polio in August 1953. During the fall of that year, she was admitted to Children’s where she was confined to an iron lung and then passed away in April 1954.

For more information about Dr. Darville or the Children’s Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases, visit www.chp.edu.

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