Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Genetic Medicine and Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine, and Sadiya Khan, ’09 MD, ’14 MSc, ’11, ’12 GME, instructor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, were honored for their accomplishments in cardiovascular disease research at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2016 in New Orleans in November.
McNally received the 2016 American Heart Association Basic Research Prize for her study of novel genetic mechanisms responsible for inherited human disorders including heart failure, cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy, arrhythmias and aortic aneurysms.
“This is an award that recognizes our work for its contributions to fundamental research about how genetic variation causes heart and muscle disease,” said McNally, also a professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. “With the current progress in human genetics — where we can now readily sequence and interpret rare variation from entire human genome sequences — it will be possible to discover even more about how genetic variants change risk for developing heart disease.”
Steven Houser, PhD, president of the AHA, presented the prize, a citation and $5,000 honorarium for McNally’s outstanding achievement in basic cardiovascular science.
McNally has previously received the AHA’s Established Investigator Award and the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award.
Khan was honored with the Samuel A. Levine Young Clinical Investigator Award for her innovative research studying the regulation of a gene linked to cardiovascular disease and aging.
“It was truly an honor to be selected as the award recipient for my research from a competitive pool of cardiovascular disease fellows and junior faculty from across the country,” Khan said. “I believe that young investigator awards such as these are a reflection as much on the trainee as on the mentors and the institutional support to be able to conduct thoughtful and important research at such an early stage in the trainee’s career. As a trainee, I feel so fortunate to be able to work with fantastic mentors in Drs. Douglas Vaughan, Donald Lloyd-Jones and Sanjiv Shah, and I look forward to continuing to develop my academic cardiology career as a physician-scientist under their mentorship.”
At the AHA Scientific Sessions, Khan shared her group’s research findings describing a delayed aging phenotype in an Old Order Amish kindred who harbor a rare loss-of-function mutation in SERPINE1.
“We found that individuals who were heterozygous for the SERPINE1 null mutation exhibited a ‘younger’ biological age on a molecular level and on an organ-system level. Further, individuals who were heterozygous for the SERPINE1 null mutation lived, on average, eights years longer,” Khan said.
Khan has previously received the AHA Women in Cardiology Trainee Awards for Excellence.