Red Carpet Excitement Jump-Starts Sessions

I always love attending the Opening Session at the AHA Scientific Sessions. I think of it as the “Red Carpet” of the Sessions complete with the requisite bright lights, large screens and an illustrious list of scientific award winners.  The opening remarks by President Dr. Mark Creager set the tone for the conference with an enthusiastic charge to action to increase awareness and treatment for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), building a culture of health among AHA members and incorporating cutting edge technologies in cardiovascular research. His passionate call arose from his very personal connection to PAD, as his father suffered from complications from this severely underdiagnosed disease. It reminded me of why we as AHA members are so engaged in the organization as we all have loved ones that have been devastated by cardiovascular diseases.

I always love attending the Opening Session at the AHA Scientific Sessions. I think of it as the “Red Carpet” of the Sessions complete with the requisite bright lights, large screens and an illustrious list of scientific award winners.  The opening remarks by President Dr. Mark Creager set the tone for the conference with an enthusiastic charge to action to increase awareness and treatment for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), building a culture of health among AHA members and incorporating cutting edge technologies in cardiovascular research. His passionate call arose from his very personal connection to PAD, as his father suffered from complications from this severely underdiagnosed disease. It reminded me of why we as AHA members are so engaged in the organization as we all have loved ones that have been devastated by cardiovascular diseases.

Nancy Brown, AHA CEO, also described several exciting new initiatives rolling out within the AHA.  Among these is the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, which will commit substantial resources to making a Precision Medicine a reality in the clinical care of patients as well as investing in research in this area. She also described a partnership with the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to identify research areas that are truly important to patients. Lastly, The Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research has been established to help fill the gap in knowledge surrounding women’s heart health.

As an Early Career Member in the Functional Genomics and Translational Biology (FGTB) Council, I was proud to see the themes of Dr. Creager’s presidential address highlighted throughout the FGTB programming on Sunday. The day started with the first ever Clinical Genomics Bootcamp, which applied an active learning method to understand how to use genetic information in clinical care. The program was developed by Dr. Kiran Musunuru, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor at Harvard University, and involved reviewing a series of online modules in advance followed by group case discussion. The topics included single-gene testing, whole-genome sequencing and pharmacogenomics. The discussion was very lively and addressed very controversial issues in genomic medicine that face clinicians and researchers alike. I hope to see more of this type of interactive learning style at future Scientific Sessions.

This afternoon the FTGB Young Investigator Award Finalist delivered their research presentations. The finalists are:
  • Konstantinos Stellos, MD, FAHA,  JW Goethe University, “ RNA editing controls gene expression in atherosclerotic  heart disease by enabling HuR-mediated posttranscriptional regulation.”
  • Samarjit Das, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, “Role of miR-181 family in the heart: A tale of two intracellular compartments.”
  • Nathan Tucker, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, “Targeted sequencing and massively parallel reporter assay identify the functional variation underlying the 4q25 locus for atrial fibrillation.”
  • Peter Willeit, MD, PhD, King’s College London, “Circulating micro-RNA-122 is associated with incident metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes.”
These young investigators have certainly embraced the President’s call in the application of cutting edge technologies to the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The pipeline of future rising stars within FGTB is very rich indeed! The winner will be announced at the FGTB Reception to be held Tuesday, Nov 10 from 7-9pm in the Rosen Centre Hotel (Salon 9/10). Come by and congratulate these early career scientists and celebrate with your colleagues.



Sony Tuteja, PharmD
Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Sony Tuteja, PharmD, MS is a Research Associate in the Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She is focused on pharmacogenomics and it application to patient care. Dr. Tuteja is currently a member of the Early Career Committee of the FGTB council of AHA.
 
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 8, 2015 6:30 PM America/Chicago

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