RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR
On August 17, 2019, we named Dr. Monica Aggarwal as the "Stop Heart Disease" Researcher of the Year at the annual meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.
Monica Aggarwal, MD is a Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Florida's Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Serving as the Director of Integrative Cardiology and Prevention at the University of Florida, Dr. Aggarwal focuses on promoting food as the foundation of healing and for its medicinal value. In her clinic she emphasizes plant-based nutrition and often performs multiple mind-body techniques with her patients, including yoga and meditation. She is also the Director of Medical Education for Cardiology where she directs education for medical residents and cardiology fellows with a focus on prevention, nutrition and lifestyle. In the hospital, she has multiple initiatives including developing a 100% plant-based menu for cardiac and vascular patients. She has recently conducted a study where she placed primary prevention patients through a one-week lifestyle-based immersion that focused on stress, education and nutrition. After one week, there were notable improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and quality of life. The lifestyle changes were sustainable at three months and that data will be presented this September at the European Society of Cardiology in Paris, France.
Funding from this award will be used to do the next stage of an immersion where she will evaluate the mechanism of why lifestyle changes improve cardiovascular parameters by assessing the microbiome, stress hormones and inflammatory markers. Dr. Aggarwal has published in major medical journals such as Journal of American College of Cardiology and American Journal of Medicine.
Each year, in collaboration with the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, Florida Heart Research Foundation recognizes the "Stop Heart Disease Researcher of the Year". A $25,000 grant is awarded to an individual within the State of Florida whose research is felt to have had the broadest impact on the advancement of knowledge in the diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention of cardiovascular disease. To be considered for the award, the researcher must be nominated by a colleague, conduct research within, and be a resident of, Florida, be active in the arena of clinical and/or basic science, and have reported the results of his or her work in the peer review arena of scientific meetings and/or publications. For her achievements in cardiovascular research, Dr. Aggarwal received $25,000 from the Florida Heart Research Foundation to be applied toward future cardiac research in Florida.
In 2003, we launched this program to inspire and promote excellence in cardiovascular research in the State of Florida known as the "Stop Heart Disease" Researcher of the Year Award. Miami Heart Research Institute/Florida Heart Research Foundation has been very fortunate to have achieved a close collaboration with the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, an extremely important partnership in the fight against heart disease.
Previous awards have inspired important progress in the critical areas of recognition and treatment of cardiovascular disease in diabetics, as well as in the role of gene variants in the therapy for congestive heart failure. Dr. Aggarwal joins this distinguished tradition with a clear vision of the role of research in improving people’s lives.
We support and thank our past recipients. We salute:
Dr. Joshua Hutcheson (2018 award winner) from Florida International University, Miami. Dr. Hutcheson is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at FIU, Miami, Florida and directs the Cardiovascular Matrix Remodeling Laboratory. Dr. Hutcheson is also an active member of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute at FIU, and his research that merits this award includes discovery of cellular and molecular mechanisms of aortic valve disease and altherosclerosis and novel methods to detect these diseases in asymptomatic patients.
Dr. Brian Shapiro (2017 award winner) from the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville. Dr. Shapiro is Director of Cardiovascular Imaging at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida as well as Assistant Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs, Mayo Medical School. Dr. Shapiro's research involves both translational and clinical studies of pulmonary vascular function and the use of non-invasive imaging including magnetic resonance to assess these properties primarily in patients with pulmonary hypertension.
Dr. YanFei Qi (2016 award winner) from the University of Florida. Dr. Qi is an Assistant Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Qi is developing novel research and has set a background in the area of heart failure with preserve ejection fraction (HFpEF).
Dr. Claudia Rodrigues (2015 award winner) from the University of Miami. Dr. Rodrigues is from the interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami. She is recognized with this prestigious award for her work in identifying the protein cMyc and the important role it plays in the control of blood vessel inflammation.
Dr. David E. Winchester (2014 award winner) from the University of Florida. Dr. Winchester is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida's Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, with active research projects on the management of acute chest pain in the emergency department and appropriate use of nuclear stress testing.
Dr. Jose Pinto (2013 award winner), from Florida State University. Dr. Pinto is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Florida State University College of Medicine. He has been applying his prodigious talents and expertise in muscle biochemistry to numerous projects further exploring the mechanisms of this muscular function.
Dr. Lena Shehadeh (2012 award winner), from the University of Miami. Dr. Shehadeh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami. She was recognized with this prestigious award for her innovative work on the molecular biology of atherosclerosis.
Dr. Mauricio Cohen (2011 award winner), from the University of Miami. Dr. Cohen is an interventional cardiologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami. His major clinical and research interests include novel antithrombotic strategies, transradial cardiac interventions, and health care disparities.
Dr. Jianquin Wei (2010 award winner), from the University of Miami. Dr. Wei was our eighth recipient of this prestigious award. Dr. Wei is an Assistant Research Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami. He is a trained invasive cardiologist and has acquired skills not only in mouse microsurgery, but also in a wide range of molecular biology techniques, enabling him to participate in, plan and coordinate all phases of research in cardiology, from transcriptional analysis to drug testing.
Dr. Anthony Bavry (2009 award winner), from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Dr. Bavry was our seventh recipient of this prestigious award. He has been at the forefront of exploring the current controversy regarding stent thrombosis and the risk for stent thrombosis in drug eluting stents. His current research focuses on two areas of critical importance that require clinical attention-the most appropriate strategy for women with acute coronary syndromes, and the most appropriate management to alter the poor prognosis of patients with peripheral arterial disease.
Dr. Richard S. Schofield (2008 award winner), from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Dr. Schofield was our sixth recipient of this prestigious award. His ground-breaking efforts in caring for patients with congestive heart failure address the application of advanced therapeutics. Dr. Schofield is concerned not only with advancing the science of health care, but with determining the most cost effective ways to translate that knowledge into direct patient care.
Dr. Joy Lincoln (2007 award winner), Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology with the University of Miami. Dr. Lincoln was our fifth recipient of this prestigious award. Her ground breaking efforts in both the clinical and basic science arenas have paged the way for these advances. Most recently, her outstanding work in the molecular and cellular regulation of heart formation is groundbreaking.
Dr. Dominick J. Angiolillo (2006 award winner), Associate Director of Cardiovascular Research at the University of Florida/Jacksonville. Dr. Angiolillo was our fourth recipient of this prestigious award. His ground-breaking efforts in both the clinical and basic science arenas have paved the way for these advances. Most recently, his outstanding work on physiology and genetics of platelet function, as well as on the mechanisms of atherosclerotic inflammation have advanced our understanding of coronary artery disease, as well as opening new vistas for potential therapies.
Dr. Nanette Bishopric (2005 award winner), Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Bishopric was our third recipient of this prestigious award. Her ground-breaking efforts in both the clinical and basic science arenas have paved the way for these advances. Most recently, her outstanding work on the molecular biology of heart cells and their response to oxidative stress as well as the molecular and genetic mechanisms of cell death has improved our understanding of the clinical and genetic causes of sudden cardiac death.
Dr. Daniel Pauly (2004 award winner), Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Dr. Pauly was our second recipient of this prestigious award. His ground-breaking efforts in both clinical and basic science arenas have paved the way for these advances. Most recently, his work in the area of gene therapy and intercellular signaling mechanisms has improved our understanding and treatment of coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.
Dr. Marco Costa (2003 award winner), assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Florida in Jacksonville. Dr. Costa was our first recipient of this prestigious award. For his achievements in cardiovascular research in both the clinical and basic science arenas have paved the way for these advances. Most recently, his work in the area of drug-eluting stents has been largely responsible for helping to make these life-saving devices a clinical reality for so many victims of heart disease.