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DALLAS, Nov. 18 — The American Heart Association today awarded its Basic Research Prize for 2013 to pediatric cardiologist and researcher Jeffrey A. Towbin, M.D., of Cincinnati, for “highly significant additions to our basic knowledge of cardiovascular disease in children.”
Towbin, professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, received the prize during opening ceremonies of AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2013 at the Dallas Convention Center. Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania presented the prize, a citation and $5,000 honorarium awarded annually to recognize outstanding achievement in basic cardiovascular science.
Jessup called the Cincinnati scientist “a highly accomplished pioneer in the fight at the molecular level to banish cardiovascular disease in children.” Towbin has played a major role in advancing pediatric heart transplantation, including helping to design and initiate the National Institutes of Health-funded Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry, the nation’s principal registry for young patients awaiting transplant, Jessup said.
“In the late 1980s, Towbin was a pioneer is adapting molecular genetic methods to address the underlying causes and outlook for pediatric heart failure patients,” Jessup said. “He conducted some of the first genetic mapping and gene identification studies for dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies and other arrhythmia disorders including sudden death syndrome.” His work also included early recognition of viral causes of myocarditis in children, she said.
“At this critical fundamental level, his expertise in the fields of molecular cardiology and cardiomyopathy has been widely recognized,” Jessup said.
Towbin was chief of pediatric cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital before rejoining the University of Cincinnati in 2009, where he is executive co-director of the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital.
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