“We pursue research projects where there are no options for kids; that’s pretty tough because we’re going on almost knowing nothing. In a sense, we’re led by children and their families.”
KC Business Journal: Children's Mercy research boss creates options when kids have none
The Kansas City Business Journal recently featured Children's Mercy Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Tom Curran, executive director of the Children’s Research Institute, as one of Kansas City's newsmakers. Here is an excerpt of that profile, which you can read in its entirety here.
Curran said it felt like coming home when he visited Kansas City with his wife, Jessie Ng, who also researches pediatric brain tumors.
“The Midwestern mentality was kind of similar to the Scottish working mentality I’d grown up with,” he said. “Of course, Children’s Mercy was something very special.”
Another pull was the local arts, including the Kansas City Ballet, where their 13-year-old dances. She performed in “The Nutcracker” this year.
“Kansas City has all of these features that aren’t necessarily proclaimed to the world but act as an incredible draw for recruitment,” Curran said. “The concentration of artistic talent here is really amazing.”
The same philanthropic network that helps boost the arts will be key to growing the institute, Curran said. With several organizations already in place, Children’s Mercy will work with The University of Kansas Cancer Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Stowers Institute for Medical Research and others to further its research efforts.
“I’m a great believer in leveraging existing advantages,” Curran said. “That’s the key in our future success — figuring out how we can work together.”
At Children’s Mercy, he will build on existing programs in genomics and clinical pharmacology. His wealth of experience will help speed this up: He’s worked with some of the world’s top institutes, published hundreds of articles and was president of the American Association for Cancer Research.
“Having this opportunity to build a research infrastructure seamlessly integrated with Children’s Mercy gives me a chance, in a sense, to put my money where my mouth is,” he said.
Learn more about the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy.