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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Names Aldrovandi Chief For Division Of Infectious Diseases

Dr. Grace Aldrovandi

Posted Monday July 7, 2014 1:32 pm

Pictured: Dr. Grace Aldrovandi

Grace Aldrovandi, M.D, is the new chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The appointment became effective last week .

A board-certified pediatric infectious disease specialist, Aldrovandi has more than 20 years’ experience. Aldrovandi has been an investigator at the hospital’s Saban Research Institute since 2003 and leads an internationally recognized research program studying transmission of HIV in breast milk.  She is also a professor of pediatrics, pathology and molecular microbiology and immunology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

CHLA’s division of infectious disease offers inpatient and outpatient care—consulting on more than 400 cases in California each year as well as serving  more than 1,000 patients with complex bacterial, fungal and viral infections including toxic shock syndrome, bone and joint infections, meningitis, encephalitis, tuberculosis, viral infections, HIV, and infections that arise in transplant and immunocompromised patients.  Within the division, areas of research include meningitis, Kawasaki’s disease, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, development of new antibacterial agents and the management of patients who have undergone bone marrow or organ transplant.

“We are fortunate to have a pediatric infectious disease expert of Dr. Aldrovandi’s stature within our institution” said Richard D. Cordova, FACHE, CHLA president/CEO. “In this leadership role, she will continue to advance the standard of excellence that has been achieved in this division both in terms of clinical care and research.”

Aldrovandi has been involved in studies on breastfeeding and HIV transmission for many years. Her research demonstrated that there was no net benefit to early cessation of breastfeeding to prevent HIV transmission to newborns. This research ultimately resulted in a change in World Health Organization guidelines. She is part of a national consortium that was recently awarded  more than $19 million from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for studies that will advance the prevention and treatment of HIV and its complications for infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant/postpartum women throughout the world.

“Dr. Aldrovandi is a world-class translational physician-scientist.  Her innovative research, far-reaching collaborations and commitment to education and mentoring position her to be a true resource for physicians and scientists within our community as well as patients in L.A. and beyond,” said Brent Polk, M.D., chair and physician-in-chief at CHLA and director of The Saban Research Institute.

Aldrovandi has chaired national and international studies on HIV pathogenesis within the International Maternal, Pediatric and Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT) and the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN). Her lab is one of only three funded by IMPAACT Virology to perform assays in support of its clinical trials and to develop novel assays to probe pathogenesis within these trials.

Aldrovandi has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and eight book chapters, and lectures internationally.  She has been a member of multiple NIH study sections and has served as a member of the AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review.  In 2004, she was awarded the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation for her work on breast milk transmission of HIV-1.

She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric AIDS and the Brighton Collaboration Vaccine Safety Working Group. She has been the American Academy of Pediatrics representative on the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Smallpox Guidelines Project.

Aldrovandi received two bachelor’s degrees and her medical degree from McGill University in Montreal. She completed her internship and residency at McGill, as well as a research fellowship in pediatric infectious disease at  UCLA.

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