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Temple Researchers Receive Honors at 40th Annual North American International Society for Heart Research Meeting

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The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University was well-represented at the 40th annual meeting of the International Society of Heart Research (ISHR) – North American Section (NAS), held September 13-16, 2021, in Denver. Multiple researchers at the School were honored with awards and invited talks, including faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, and PhD students.

The first ever NAS-ISHR Medal of Honor went to Steven Houser, PhD, FAHA, Senior Associate Dean of Research, Vera J. Goodfriend Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Research, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences and Medicine, and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. The award recognizes Dr. Houser’s outstanding leadership within the NAS-ISHR.

Walter J. Koch, PhD, W.W. Smith Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, and Director of the Center for Translational Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, accepted the ISHR Research Achievement Award and presented a lecture in honor of the award. The Research Achievement Award is the highest honor given by the ISHR. Dr. Koch won the award in 2020 but owing to the pandemic did not present his lecture and receive the award until this year’s meeting.

Three other faculty from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine delivered invited talks, including Douglas Tilley, PhD, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at the Center for Translational Medicine and Associate Professor in the Lemole Center for Integrated Lymphatics Research; John W. Elrod, PhD, Associate Professor in the Center for Translational Medicine; and Konstantinos Drosatos, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Associate Professor in the Center for Translational Medicine, the Center for Metabolic Disease Research, and the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple.

Jessica Pfleger, PhD, a fellow from Dr. Koch’s laboratory and the Center for Translational Medicine, won the Litsa Kranias Early Career Investigator Leadership Award. Dr. Pfleger recently left the Lewis Katz School of Medicine to start an independent career as a tenure-track assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

Andrew Gibb, PhD, and Dhanendra Tomar, PhD, post-doctoral fellows in Dr. Elrod’s laboratory, were selected for the Young Investigator (Junior Group) Award and as runner-up for the Young Investigator (Senior Group) Award, respectively.

Finally, the NAS-ISHR presented nine travel awards to trainees to help cover expenses to attend the meeting. Six of those travel awards went to Lewis Katz School of Medicine members, including post-doctoral researchers Joanne Garbincius, Ajit Magadum, and Vagner Rigaud; MD, PhD student Michael Lazaropolous; and PhD students Jeanette Einspahr and Lindsay Kraus.

“Temple distinguishes itself in heart research forums year after year,” said Amy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS, Interim Dean at the School. “Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s a formidable force – but so is our incredible cardiovascular research team.”