Harvard geneticist gets American Heart Association award for identifying molecular basis for inherited heart failure

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 presented its newest science honor, the Joseph A. Vita Award, to Christine Seidman, M.D., of Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “for her laboratory’s transformative achievements in identifying the molecular basis for inherited forms of heart failure including, but not limited to, hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Seidman received the award on Sunday, Nov., 13, during the opening session of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention
Center. Association President Steven Houser, Ph.D., of Temple University in Philadelphia presented the award, a citation and honorarium. 

“During the last five years, Dr. Seidman and her associates identified titin as the most common cause of inherited dilated cardiomyopathy, and used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to define the mechanism by which the mutations disrupt sarcomere function,” Houser said in making the presentation.

Seidman and her colleagues also have shown that allele-specific silencing and small molecule inhibitors can suppress hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in mice, AHA’s president said. “These studies, along with other ongoing work in Dr. Seidman’s laboratory, may lead to the development of personalized treatments of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and inherited forms of dilated cardiomyopathy – two of the most common lethal forms of inherited heart disease in humans,” Houser said.

The AHA established the Vita award in 2015 to honor the late Joseph A. Vita, M.D., an accomplished clinical researcher in vascular biology who at the time of his unexpected death in 2014 was serving as founding editor-in-chief of the Association’s newest scientific publication, The Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

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