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SBUMC Opens New Lab for Neonatal Research Named in Honor of Patient Brady William Russel

SBUMC Opens New Lab for Neonatal Research Named in Honor of Patient Brady William Russel

The Lab is a Centerpiece for Premature Birth, High-Risk Pregnancy, and SIDS Research

STONY BROOK, NY, June 24, 2009 – On June 19, Stony Brook University Medical Center held a dedication of the Brady William Russell Laboratory in the Department of Pediatrics that is devoted

Steven Strongwater, M.D., CEO, SBUMC; Sean and Mary Ellen Russell, and their daughter, Molly; Margaret McGovern, M.D., Chair, SBUMC Department of Pediatrics, and Michael Russell.

to research in neonatal lung development. The event was attended by the parents and family of Brady William Russell, along with Steven Strongwater, M.D., CEO, SBUMC, Margaret McGovern, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics, and pediatric medical and nursing staff.

The creation of the new research laboratory stems from the private support of the family and friends of Brady William Russell, a patient who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and a $250,000 grant made possible through the leadership of New York State Senator John Flanagan. In 2006, the Brady William Russell Memorial Fund was established to conduct research into neonatal complications from high-risk pregnancies, premature birth and SIDS. The laboratory is located in room 067 on the 11th floor of the Health Sciences Center.

“The establishment of the Brady William Russell Laboratory will further advance our research and help establish a firm foundation for translational projects that will use both genetic and pharmacologic interventions for the promotion of lung development in the neonate,” said Dr. McGovern, who also indicates that the laboratory will play an active role in the research training of neonatology fellows who represent the next generation of investigators into lung development and diseases.

“By turning their personal tragedy into a lasting tribute to young Brady William Russell, the Russell

The family of Brady William Russell assembled in the new research laboratory dedicated to Brady.

family is bringing hope to many Long Island families,” said Sen. Flanagan. “This laboratory will enhance the already world-renowned research capabilities of the Stony Brook University Hospital Center and provide the fine doctors and nurses here with greater ability to treat their most vulnerable patients. On behalf of our entire community, I thank the entire Russell family for their efforts and am privileged to have played a role in helping them help others in young Brady’s honor.”

“We believe the research and laboratory offers profound hope and that the lab will be the legacy of Brady,” added Sean Russell, father of Brady William Russell.

Brady was born on January 26, 2006, six weeks premature and weighing over 10½ pounds. He was the third child and only son of Sean and Mary Ellen Russell. Initially, Brady faced respiratory complications from his premature birth. He fought valiantly and after two weeks was scheduled to go home, but developed pneumonia and a respiratory virus, which extended his hospital stay. He was discharged five weeks later, but 10 days after returning home, Brady died of SIDS.

SIDS continues to be the most common cause of infant death, accounting for about 25 per cent of all deaths between one month and one year of age. SIDS is a complex, multifactoral disorder, the cause of which is not fully understood. The creation of the Brady Russell Memorial Fund and the establishment of Brady William Russell laboratory each serve as catalysts in advancing basic and clinical research into lung growth in the fetus. Current research in the Laboratory is focused on lung growth and development and their relationship to neonatal lung diseases.

Research conducted through the fund and within the lab includes studies to identify the genetics basis of fetal lung development. To date, SBUMC investigators have found evidence that the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductor gene plays a role in normal lung development. The laboratory also supports research being carried out by Neonatology Fellows who have presented their study findings at national meetings. These studies have included investigations of the effect of oxygen administration on the newborn lung and the subsequent impact on the development of infections and chronic lung disease.

All directed gifts to the Russell Fund will support clinical and basic research in neonatal complications from high-risk pregnancy, premature births, and SIDS. Funding will also support lectures within the Medical Center as well as community outreach activities to raise awareness. For more information or to make a gift, contact the Stony Brook University Medical Center Advancement Office at 631-444-2899, or go to — please include the name of the Brady William Russell Memorial Fund.

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