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Columbia University Medical Center announces 2009 Katz Prizes in Cardiovascular Research

NEW YORK Columbia University Medical Center today announces the winners of the 4th annual Katz Prizes in Cardiovascular Research, with the senior scientist prize being awarded to an internationally renowned researcher from the National Institutes of Health, and the young investigator prize recognizing a cardiovascular researcher actively studying left ventricular assist devices and heart function.

The senior scientist award goes to Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. The young investigator award goes to John P. Morrow, assistant professor of internal medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

The awards will be presented Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, at a dinner at Columbia University Medical Center, following afternoon lectures by the winners. Lewis Katz, entrepreneur and philanthropist, created these prizes in 2006 to recognize outstanding contributions in cardiovascular research, by both senior scientists and young investigators working on pertinent questions related to cardiovascular health.

"Part of what makes these awards so special is that the awardees who receive them are judged by an independent panel of their peers, who are themselves some of the best minds and clinicians in the field of cardiology," Lewis Katz said. "It is for me an honor to be associated with a ceremony that ultimately recognizes the top talent fighting a top health concern."

"We are proud to award our 2009 Katz Prizes to these luminaries in cardiovascular science," said Allan Schwartz, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "These clinician-scientists represent the vanguard in cardiovascular research. Dr. Nabel's work in the molecular genetics of vascular diseases has led to a fundamental shift in the way cardiovascular disease can be prevented; Dr. Morrow's efforts focus on the translational nature of cardiac electrophysiology and ventricular device research."

Nabel's Work Sheds Light on Genetic Factors of Atherosclerosis

Dr. Nabel is a leading scientist and recognized expert in the development of novel genetic and cellular therapies for cardiovascular disease, Dr. Schwartz said in announcing the award.

Throughout her career, Dr. Nabel has championed the concept of "bench to bedside," by translating research discoveries for the clinical benefit of patients. Her current research interests focus on the molecular genetics of vascular diseases, including investigation of how cell cycle proteins regulate the growth of smooth muscle cells (a fundamental process in the development of atherosclerosis).

As director of the NHLBI, Dr. Nabel oversees an extensive national research portfolio with an annual budget of approximately $3 billion, for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, lung and blood diseases. Among her leadership efforts, Dr. Nabel has launched new scientific programs in the genomics, stem and progenitor cell biology, translational research, global health and support for young investigators.

Playing an active role in the dissemination of seminal research findings, Dr. Nabel also has more than 15 years of experience as an editor for medical journals. Currently she is an editorial board member of the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, as well as editor of Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine and ACP Medicine.

Dr. Nabel has received numerous awards, including two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the American Heart Association; the Amgen Scientific Achievement Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and the Basic Research Prize from the American College of Physicians. In addition to holding several committee memberships at the NIH, she is a member of the Association of American Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Physicians and the International Scientific Advisory Committee for the Singapore Heart Center. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and Cornell University Medical College.

Morrow Recognized for Advances in Cardiac Imaging Research

Dr. John P. Morrow has already received several awards for his research, which currently focuses on ion channel regulation and translational research in cardiac electrophysiology.

After graduating magna cum laude from Brown University with a degree in biology, Dr. Morrow earned his M.D. from the College of Physicians & Surgeons (P&S) in 2000. He then completed his residency at P&S, as well as two fellowships: one in Cardiology, in the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Research Pathway; and one in Clinical Electrophysiology. He is certified by the ABIM in internal medicine, cardiology, and cardiac electrophysiology.

In 2009, he was named a Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Scholar at P&S, in support of his translational research into why heart function often improves in advanced-stage heart failure patients after the implantation of a left ventricular assist device. His other honors include the International Competitive Grants Award for Young Investigators, from the GlaxoSmithKline Research & Education Foundation for Cardiovascular Disease (2008), and the Hamilton Southworth Research Award (2005); he is also a Member of the Heart Rhythm Society. To date, Dr. Morrow has published nine articles on his investigations, in such journals as American Heart Journal, Biochemistry, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Contact: Alex Lyda
Columbia University Medical Center

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