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University of Arizona Senior Earns SynCardia's 1st Annual Anna Salazar Memorial Engineering Scholarship

TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A University of Arizona senior whose aim is to develop medical devices that monitor heart health is the first recipient of the Anna Salazar Memorial Engineering Scholarship presented by SynCardia Systems, Inc.


Sandra Gonzalez of Tucson, who received $5,000 from the new scholarship program, will graduate from the UA in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering.

"Since after my freshman year I've always had a passion toward cardiovascular research," says Gonzalez, who is supporting herself as the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend a university. "I really appreciate the scholarship, which will help me continue my education."

Gonzalez's interest in cardiovascular-related devices grew after she toured Tucson-based SynCardia, the privately held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved temporary Total Artificial Heart and the wearable Freedom® portable driver.

"I thought maybe I'd like to work for a company similar to SynCardia," she says.

Gonzalez has had extensive research training. In 2012, she co-published an article with Jeffrey T. La Belle, Ph.D., "The Development of an At-Risk Biosensor for Cardiovascular Disease," in Biosensors Journal. La Belle is an assistant professor at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute.

The scholarship was implemented by SynCardia's CEO and President, Michael Garippa, with the approval of the SynCardia Board of Directors to support female engineering students who want to make a significant contribution to society. It is named for the late Anna Salazar, who joined SynCardia in 2012. As a senior quality engineer, Salazar earned the respect of her colleagues because of her positive attitude and her proactive approach to work.

"Although her time with the company was brief, the impact she made was lasting," says Garippa. "Anna touched us all in a short amount of time and it is our hope this scholarship will help others like her achieve their professional goals."

The next call for applications is Feb. 1 to April 30, 2014, for the fall 2014 semester. For more information, email or go to the UA's Scholarship Universe website.

CAUTION – The Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.

About the Anna Salazar Memorial Engineering Scholarship

The Anna Salazar Memorial Engineering Scholarship, sponsored by SynCardia Systems Inc., seeks to support female University of Arizona College of Engineering undergraduate students who desire to make a significant contribution to society. Recipients demonstrate academic excellence, exhibit exceptional leadership potential, participate in community service activities and demonstrate financial need.

It is named for the late Anna Salazar, who joined SynCardia in 2012. As a senior quality engineer, Salazar earned the respect of her colleagues because of her positive attitude and her proactive approach to work.

About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart

SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people suffering from end stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure). There have been more than 1,250 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 335 patient years of life on the device.

Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end stage biventricular failure. Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at 94 SynCardia Certified Centers worldwide with 37 others in the process of certification.

The Total Artificial Heart provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle. This high volume of blood flow helps speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant candidate.

Forbes Ranks SynCardia #69 Among "America's Most Promising Companies"

In its February 2013 issue, Forbes selected SynCardia as one of "America's Most Promising Companies" for the second consecutive year. On the list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures, SynCardia was selected #69, moving up eight spots from its #77 ranking last year. See the full list of SynCardia Awards & Recognition.

For additional information, please visit:
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Follow SynCardia on Twitter – @SynCardia
Connect with SynCardia on LinkedIn

SOURCE SynCardia Systems, Inc.
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