2023 PANDA Fundraising Focus

"First 1,000 Days Pediatric Project"

Every year, PANDA focuses on the unmet medical needs of Arizona children by funding medical research for a specific project. This year, our project supports two areas: translational research into pediatric nutrition, and research to advance technology in congenital heart disease which impacts nearly one in 100 babies. By funding translational research, we move basic science discoveries quickly and efficiently into practice.

Pediatric Nutrition Research Projects

Dr. Christina Valentine
Dr. Christina Valentine

Investigating the role of DHA in pregnancy and how increasing DHA levels leads to a decreased number of premature births and healthier babies.

Dr. Nahla Zaghloul
Dr. Nahla Zaghloul

Studying allopregnanalone, a naturally-occurring hormone in the third trimester of pregnancy, and how this impacts healthy newborns.

Dr. Heather Cassell and Dr. Michael Daines
Dr. Heather Cassell & Dr. Michael Daines

Researching children’s food allergies and the relationship between genetics, microbiome, and the impact impact on the immune system.

Dr. Rickie Simpson
Dr. Rickie Simpson

Investigating the effects of exercise and stress on the immune system. This is applicable for healthy children and also for children fighting disease.

Dr. Katri Typpo
Dr. Katri Typpo

Studying the role of nutrition comparing intravenous versus enteral feeding and the microbiome in critically ill children.

Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan and Dr. Pawel Kiela
Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan & Dr. Pawel Kiela

Exploring how the nutrition and the microbiome affect babies’ brain development, growth, and incidence of autoimmune diseases.


Pediatric Cardiology Project

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect in newborns, affecting nearly one in 100 babies. It used to be that children did not live into adulthood, but fortunately early detection and advanced technology have changed the outcomes considerably. PANDA is funding research at Steele Children’s Research Center to improve the education and communication provided to patients and families to decrease stress and improve outcomes. One example includes Dr. Michael Seckeler creating life-sized, 3D printed models of these children’s hearts prior to surgery and detailed explanations of what the surgery will entail.

Mikey Johnson
2023 Cardiology

Photo by Allison Tyler Jones Photography