Boston scientist awarded AHA Population Research Prize for findings of genetic flaws, other causes contributing to heart, vascular diseases

November 14, 2016 Categories: Scientific Conferences & Meetings, Heart News

Embargoed until 7 a.m. CT/ 8 a.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14, 2016 — The American Heart Association awarded its Population Research Prize for 2016 to Boston epidemiologist and researcher Emelia Benjamin, M.D., Sc.M. The AHA said she was being honored “for highly relevant research findings contributing to a fuller understanding of the epidemiology, genetic basis, risk factors and prognosis of cardiovascular diseases, particularly inflammation, vascular function and atrial fibrillation.” 

Benjamin, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and senior investigator at the Framingham Heart Study, received the prize during the opening of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.  AHA President Steven Houser, Ph.D., of Temple University in Philadelphia awarded the prize, a citation and $5,000 honorarium for outstanding achievement in population science.

Houser said Benjamin is a widely cited investigator who has co-authored 450 scientific reports spanning multiple areas of cardiovascular epidemiology in leading scientific journals. AHA’s president said the Boston investigator “is perhaps most noted for her contributions expanding knowledge of atrial fibrillation, its epidemiology, risk factors, genetic basis and prognosis.”

 Among her most significant findings of atrial fibrillation (AF), Houser said, are:

  • Identification of risk factors for AF in the community;
  • Discovery of a 25 percent lifetime risk of AF beyond the age of 40;
  • The description of a widespread heritable component underlying AF;
  • Development of a risk prediction score for AF; and
  • Demonstration of an association between AF and increased mortality.

“It is evident that Dr. Benjamin’s investigative career has been remarkably successful and significant,” Houser said as he presented the AHA award.

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