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Columbia University Medical Center announces 2010 Katz Prizes in cardiovascular research

NEW YORK (Nov. 4, 2010) Columbia University Medical Center has announced the winners of the 5th annual Katz Prizes in Cardiovascular Research, with the 2010 Lewis Katz Visiting Professorship in Cardiovascular Research being awarded to an internationally renowned heart failure expert from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Milton Packer, M.D. and the winners of the 2010 Lewis Katz Cardiovascular Research Prize going to two Columbia researchers studying the underlying molecular pathways of heart disease.

The visiting professorship is being awarded to UT Southwestern's Dr. Packer for his outstanding track record of achievement in heart research, and for making a large number of seminal contributions to the field of heart failure, both in understanding its mechanisms and defining its rational management. His work has spanned nearly 30 years and has been strongly supported by numerous investigator-initiated grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The two research awards are being given to Steven O. Marx, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and P. Christian Schulze, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

The awards will be presented at a reception at Columbia University Medical Center tonight, following afternoon lectures by the winners. Lewis Katz, entrepreneur and philanthropist, created these prizes five years ago in order to recognize outstanding contributions in cardiology and to reward and encourage research related to cardiovascular health.

"The award symbolizes the many contributions made by many scientists before me," Dr. Packer said upon receiving the award. "Thirty years ago, heart failure was a uniformly progressive disease that could only be expected to get worse as a patient got older. Now with the help of new therapies, we have made great progress but it's important that there not be a period of 'intellectual stagnation' in thinking about new ways to combat disease. Awards like this go a long way in spurring clinical advances, and for this particular award I am very grateful."

Interpreting Trial Data While Preparing the Next Generation of Doctors

An experienced clinical investigator, Dr. Packer is professor and chair of the department of clinical sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, having moved in 2003 from Columbia University, where he was chief of the division of circulatory physiology and director of the Heart Failure Center. Over the years he has taken a leading role in the development of new heart failure drugs particularly ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers. Because of his work, these drugs are now the standard of care for most patients with heart failure.

After receiving his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in 1973, he carried out his internship and residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his fellowship in cardiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Packer has been responsible for engineering a renaissance in clinical research at the institution that has led to more than $100 million in NIH funding.

"Dr. Packer is someone who has had a revolutionary impact on treating patients with congestive heart failure and continues to be a leader in the field," said Allan Schwartz, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "Drs. Marx and Schulze represent the best and the brightest of our young physician-scientists and are the future of cardiovascular research."

Dr. Packer has served, or currently serves, on the editorial boards of many major medical journals, including Circulation and Journal of the American College of Cardiology. He has also been elected to a number of societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has served on the executive committees of both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Molecular Cardiologist and Metabolism Researcher Also Selected

Steven O. Marx, M.D., is the director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Program at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and is director of the cardiology component of a NIH training grant for cardiology fellows and surgery residents.

His research program in cardiovascular diseases at Columbia has been focused in two major areas: molecular cardiology, particularly the regulation of ion channels in normal and pathological conditions in the heart, and vascular biology, particularly the molecular mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle proliferation, migration and contractility. Working with others at Columbia, Dr. Marx has identified rapamycin (sirolimus) as a therapeutic agent for preventing restenosis after angioplasty/stent implantation. He also characterized the dysfunction of the ryanodine receptor in heart failure. A major focus of Dr. Marx's current research is the regulation of arterial contractility and blood pressure by the ion channels.

Dr. Marx received his B.S. in Biology from Union College and M.D. from Albany Medical College as part of a six-year program. Following a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in ion channel research at Johns Hopkins, he completed an internship and residency at the University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital followed by a Cardiology Fellowship and a Clinical Electrophysiology Fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. He is also the principal investigator of several NIH R01 grants and a T32 grant. Dr. Marx has served on NIH and AHA peer review committees, is a member of the AHA Founders Affiliate Research Committee, and serves on the New York Academy of Medicine Glorney-Raisbeck Selection Committee.

"I am grateful to the selection committee, Mr. Katz and Dr. Schwartz for the privilege of receiving this prestigious award," Dr. Marx said. "I share this honor with the numerous outstanding scientists at Columbia who work in the laboratory and with whom I collaborate on a daily basis. The award will help support high-risk, cutting edge projects focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underpinning diseases of the heart and vasculature."

P. Christian Schulze, M.D., Ph.D., is focused on the mechanisms of glucose and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle and myocardium in patients with advanced heart failure. The studies his lab has undertaken are allowing medical science to further define the specific interaction of the failing heart with peripheral tissues such as skeletal muscle, the liver or kidneys. His group also studies the specific changes in glucose and lipid metabolism after correction of impaired blood flow through implantation of ventricular assist devices or after cardiac transplantation. The unique translational approach of his studies are allowing the larger context of metabolism in advanced disease states to be understood while helping to define common pathways of end-organ damage in systemic disease.

Dr. Schulze received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig, Germany. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in basic cardiovascular research at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schulze did an internship and residency at Boston University Medical Center and completed a Clinical Cardiology Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center. He joined the Division of Cardiology, Center for Advanced Cardiac Care, and the faculty of Columbia University as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in July 2009. Dr. Schulze is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.

"Being honored with a Katz Prize in Cardiovascular Research and to have our work recognized and supported by this prestigious award makes me personally very proud and even more thankful to be part of the dedicated group of clinicians and scientists working at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital."


Contact: Alex Lyda
Columbia University Medical Center

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