• Article
  • Nov 04 2022

UK Cardiovascular Research Day spotlights innovation, excellence in cardiovascular health


Hundreds of researchers, students and guests attended the 24th University of Kentucky Cardiovascular Research Day at the Central Bank Center, an annual event that celebrates innovative research in cardiovascular health.

After opening remarks by Gregory Graf, Ph.D., associate director of UK's Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, several distinguished speakers presented their research.

Moriel Vandsburger, Ph.D., the Timothy and Karen Guertin Chair in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkley, gave the Distinguished Alumni Presentation, “How non-invasive imaging of physiology can accelerate the next generation of cardiovascular disease research and development.”

Matt Devalaraja, D.V.M., Ph.D., a UK alumnus and founder and CEO of Nipuna Therapeutics, presented, “Entrepreneurism in Science: A multidisciplinary effort to translate from bench to bedside” as the Professional Development Presentation.

Scott Cameron, M.D., Ph.D., section head of vascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, was honored with the Gill Heart and Vascular Institute Early Career Award. He presented, “Thrombo-olfaction: Curing arterial aneurysms through platelet olfactory receptors.”

Kathryn Moore, Ph.D., the Jean and David Blechman Professor of Cardiology in the cell biology department at New York University, was honored with the Gill Heart and Vascular Institute Outstanding Contributions in Cardiovascular Research award.

The Saha Aortic Center Awards were also presented at the event to recognize excellence in clinical service, research and education at the University of Kentucky as it pertains to aortic health and treatment.

The winners are:

  • Award for Excellence in Aortic Clinical Care – Brittney Tiggelaar;

  • Award for Excellence in Aortic Research – Vashisht Madabhushi, M.D.; and

  • Award for Excellence in Aortic Education – Rebecca Phillip, M.D.

The Saha Awards for Cardiovascular Research and Education recognize the achievements of students who’ve shown an interest in cardiovascular medicine and nursing. One award honors a team of nurses for their creativity and innovation in cardiovascular patient education.

The winners are:

  • University of Kentucky M.D., Ph.D. Student Award – Timothy Libecap;

  • University of Kentucky Medical Student Award – Olivia Honaker Millay;

  • University of Kentucky Nursing Student Award – Geunyeong Cha;

  • Eastern Kentucky Nursing Student Award – David Carpenter; and

  • Paula Fritz, RN Patient Education Award – VAD Team: Julia Jones, Amber Bach, Miriam Lewis, Heather Thompson and Rachel Unger.

Judged poster sessions concluded with an awards ceremony recognizing the best presentations in five categories: Staff, Postdoctoral Fellow, Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student, along with a new, five-minute rapid-fire presentation opportunity.  

The winners are:

  • Rapid Fire Presentation: Samantha Xu, Baylor College of Medicine

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Presentations:

    • David Graf, Mississippi State University

    • Katelyn Collins, University of Kentucky

    • David Schneider, Centre College

  • Outstanding Staff Poster Presentation: Ting Zhou, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Graduate Student Poster Presentation

    • 3rd place - Alex Pettey, University of Kentucky

    • 2nd place - Holly Sucharski, Ohio State University

    • Deneys Van Der Westhuyzen Award – Mikala Zelows, University of Kentucky

  • Postdoc Poster Presentations

    • 2nd place – Kimberly Rebello, Baylor College of Medicine

    • Steward Whitman Award – Abhilash Prabhat, University of Kentucky

The event was made possible by support from the UK Cardiovascular Research Priority Area, the UK HealthCare Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, the UK Saha Cardiovascular Research Center and the UK Saha Aortic Center.