$1 Million Gift Establishes 'Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition' at Steele Center

The Dorrance Family Foundation has donated $1 million to establish the Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The University of Arizona's Steele Children's Research Center

The Dorrance Family Foundation has donated $1 million to establish the Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Center.

The Scottsdale-based foundation established the endowment in honor of the Baiker family. The Dorrance and Baiker families have great appreciation for the critical importance of newborn nutrition on gastro-intestinal and brain development, and are supportive of pediatric gastroenterologist Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, director of the Steele Children’s Research Center.

The endowed fellowship will be used to train promising young researchers in the areas of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. “This tremendous gift from the Dorrance Family Foundation provides critical funding for talented new investigators researching gastroenterology and nutrition,” says Dr. Ghishan, also head of the UA Department of Pediatrics.

Rajalakshmy Ramalingam (“Raji”) has been selected as the first Dorrance Fellow. Working toward a doctorate in immunobiology, she is under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Ghishan and Pawel Kiela, PhD. Ramalingam’s research will focus on discovering the mechanisms involved in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract characterized by loss of immune tolerance and by an abnormal response of the body's immune system to the bacteria normally found in the intestines. The most common forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, affecting nearly 1 million Americans. IBD can occur at any age, but most often is diagnosed in children and young adults.

“The Dorrance Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition will enable Rajalakshmy Ramalingam to produce novel data from her research, leading to additional NIH (National Institutes of Health) grant funding. NIH funding is indispensable for new investigators starting their careers,” Dr. Kiela says.