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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 17, 2019 — The American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, today awarded its Basic Research Prize to Cincinnati cardiology researcher Evangelia (Litsa) Kranias, Ph.D., FAHA, for her groundbreaking work that has led to new therapies for heart failure.

Evangelia (Litsa) Kranias, Ph.D., FAHA, Hanna Professor, Distinguished University Research Professor and Director of Cardiovascular Biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, received the award at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia. The Association’s Scientific Sessions is an annual, premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

“This award recognizes the important contributions Dr. Kranias has made to basic research, including expanding our understanding of calcium dynamics in arrhythmias and discovering the role of PLN (phospholamban) in cardiac contractility,” said Robert A. Harrington, M.D., FAHA, president of the American Heart Association.

The award highlights the many decades “the mother of PLN” has investigated the role PLN plays in regulating cardiac function and her numerous discoveries.

“She and a colleague provided the first evidence that PLN is phosphorylated in the heart during ‘fight or flight’ mode,” the award notes. “Working with genetically altered mouse models, her lab uncovered the role PLN plays in calcium cycling necessary for proper cardiac function, identifying PLN as a possible target to improve function in patients with heart failure.”

Dr. Kranias has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, which honored her with Research Career Development and MERIT awards.

She’s been named an American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist and is a Founding Fellow of the International Society of Heart Research, a Fellow of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences and a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Kranias grew up in Greece before coming to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship to earn her degree in biology and biochemistry at the University of Chicago. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. at Northwestern University, where she was a graduate fellow.

Throughout her career, she has maintained her ties to Greece. She simultaneously directed the molecular cardiology group of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens while holding numerous positions at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Kranias is a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens, while continuing her work in Cincinnati.

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The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions is a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians. Scientific Sessions 2019 is November 16-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. More than 12,000 leading physicians, scientists, cardiologists and allied health care professionals from around the world convene at the Scientific Sessions to participate in basic, clinical and population science presentations, discussions and curricula that can shape the future of cardiovascular science and medicine, including prevention and quality improvement. During the three-day meeting, attendees receive exclusive access to over 4,100 original research presentations and can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Education (CE) or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits for educational sessions. Engage in the Scientific Sessions conversation on social media via #AHA19.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.


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