Hülya Bayır, MD Awarded Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) awarded a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (R37) to Hülya Bayır, MD for her R01 renewal entitled, “Oxidative Lipidomics in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury.” The award was announced on February 8, 2021.

“The Javits Award is widely known as the most prestigious research award at NINDS and is recognition of Hülya’s status as a highly innovative and productive investigator in the field of pediatric brain trauma,” said Jeremy Kahn, MD, MS, who is Vice Chair for Research at the Department of Critical Care Medicine.

The Javits Award provides Dr. Bayır with up to seven years of funding to study the therapeutic targeting of free radicals and lipid peroxidation, which are uniformly accepted as universal pathogenic mechanisms of TBI.

Dr. Bayıir explained that each year in the US, severe TBI in children results in around 7,400 deaths and 60,000 hospitalizations. Unfortunately, 50 percent of children with severe TBI have a poor neurological outcome at six months.

Dr. Bayır will employ powerful lipidomics and oxidative lipidomics technology to provide important mechanistic information on the role of phosphatidylethanolamines (PE) oxidation in neuronal ferroptosis after pediatric TBI. The ability to selectively modulate PE oxidation, a critical early event in the mechanism of ferroptosis, could lead to targeted therapies for TBI and ultimately improve outcome for children after brain injury.

The three aims of her research are:

  • Determine the degree, spatial and temporal pattern of 15 lipoxygenase (15LOX)/PE binding protein 1 (PEBP1) complex formation and arachidonic acid (AA)-PE oxidation after TB,
  • Investigate the mechanisms of AA-PE oxidation in TBI-induced neuronal death,
  • Design and investigate the mechanism of action and neuroprotective potential of small-molecule regulators of 15LOX and 15LOX/PEBP1 activity in TBI.

Dr. Bayır is a Professor or Critical Care Medicine and of Environmental and Occupational Health. She holds the UPMC Endowed Chair in Pediatric Critical Care Research and was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in 2018. Her research responsibilities include: Academic Chief and Director of Research, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Director, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Neuroscience Institute; Associate Director of the Center for Free Radical and Antioxidant Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health; and Associate Director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research. A graduate of the UPMC fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care (2002), Dr. Bayır completed medical school and her Pediatrics internship at Hacettepe University, and her Pediatrics residency at State University of New York at Stony Brook.

About the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

The Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award was established by the US Congress in honor of the late Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY), who was a victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the degenerative neurological disorder known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Javits award provides long-term funding to investigators that have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in one of the areas of neurological research supported by the NINDS. Since 1983, NINDS has made more than 600 Javits awards.