Faculty in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine have launched their research careers with career development award (CDA) funding from the National Institutes of Health, American College of Cardiology, and other professional institutions.
Yale Cardiovascular Medicine is helping junior faculty understand and overcome challenges facing early-career academic cardiologists. A survey led by former Yale fellow and recent faculty hire Jennifer Kwan, MD, PhD, and the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA), concluded that young physician-scientists face steep challenges. Here, we explore the mechanisms that support early-career investigators as they navigate a pandemic, develop leadership skills, and pursue their research focus.
Ehimen Aneni: KL-2 Award
Ehimen Aneni, MD, MPH, an instructor, was awarded a two-year KL-2 grant from the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI). The project, “Myocardial Blood Flow and Myocardial Flow Reserve in Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” will focus on optimal cardiovascular care for individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder thought to have a major impact on cardiac function.
Aneni earned a master’s degree in public health from the Boston University School of Public Health in 2012. He later transitioned to a position in preventive cardiology research at the Center for Health Advancement and Outcomes. While there, he participated in a longitudinal study examining cardiometabolic health and subclinical cardiovascular disease called MiHeart. After completing his internal medicine residency, Aneni decided to pursue a cardiology fellowship at Yale. He is a member of the Yale School of Medicine Janeway Society.
His mentors include Henry (Klar) Yaggi MD, MPH, an associate professor and director of the Yale Program in Sleep Medicine, and from the Yale Translational Research Imaging Center (Y-TRIC) Stephanie Thorn, MSc, PhD, research scientist, and Albert Sinusas, MD, professor of medicine and radiology and biomedical imaging, and Edward J. Miller MD, PhD, an associate professor, director of Nuclear Cardiology, and Vice Chief of Education in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine.
Kamil Faridi: KL-2 Award
Kamil Faridi, MD, MSc, an assistant professor, was awarded a two-year KL-2 grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS). He also received the YCCI Junior Faculty Scholar Award for research using medical claims data to improve monitoring of outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation.
“We’re seeing how these data sources compare in order to determine if we can find better ways to use medical claims data to accurately monitor outcomes in the community,” said Faridi.
Faridi began his medical training at Duke University School of Medicine. He attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for residency in internal medicine and completed fellowship training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). He served as a research fellow at the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology, led by Robert W. Yeh, MD.
During his fellowship training, Faridi received a prestigious Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) with his mentor, Yeh. The project “Impact of Frailty on Adverse Outcomes in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention,” targeted the appropriate use of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) among older adults with coronary artery disease. He co-authored a 2020 study in Circulation with researchers from BIDMC. The authors used Medicare claims data to examine the treatment effects of DAPT following PCI. Prior to joining the Yale faculty, Faridi also earned a master’s degree in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Faridi has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, with an emphasis on applying evidence-based research to enhance cardiovascular care. Faridi’s latest study, which explores recent trends on the impact of demographics and geography on ischemic heart disease, was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. Faridi is also a member of the Yale School of Medicine Janeway Society.
Rohan Khera: K23 Award
Rohan Khera, MBBS, MS, received a K23 career development award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). With the award, Khera will develop automated tools that incorporate both structured and unstructured data elements from the electronic health record (EHR) in defining care quality.
Khera’s grant “Evaluating and Improving Utilization of Evidence-Based Medical Therapy in Patients with Heart Failure using Automated Tools in the Electronic Health Record,” will use advanced machine learning models and natural language processing to better phenotype patients with heart failure, with the goal to personalize their care and improve their outcomes.
Khera graduated from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in 2011 where he was a National Young Investigator Scholarship awardee. During his internal medicine residency training at the University of Iowa and his cardiology fellowship training at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Khera received the 2019 American College of Cardiology Young Investigator Award in Outcomes Research and the Francois Abboud Young Investigator Award, in addition to being inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society for his academic accomplishments. Khera also received the 2021 Jeremiah Stamler Distinguished Young Investigator Research Award for his work, “Race/Ethnicity and Sex Differences in Lifetime Healthcare Expenses Across Cardiovascular Risk Factors,” which examines the role of socioeconomic factors on healthcare expenses across the lifetime of individuals and demonstrated that there are patterns suggestive of deferred care manifesting as excess spending among minorities in later life.
Mentors from Yale Cardiovascular Medicine are Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, Eric Velazquez, MD, Erica Spatz, MD, MHS. Other mentors include Cynthia Brandt MD, MPH, in biostatistics and emergency medicine, Ted Melnick, MD, MHS, in clinical informatics, and Dragomir Radev, PhD, in computer science. Khera is also a member of the Yale School of Medicine Janeway Society.
Michael Nanna: ACCF Geriatric Cardiology Career Development Award
Michael Nanna, MD, MHS, an assistant professor and interventional cardiologist, has been awarded the 2021 Geriatric Cardiology Career Development Award by the American College of Cardiology. The award aims to improve the care of older adult patients with cardiovascular disease and support the professional development of one GEMSSTAR awardee. Nanna was also selected for the prestigious Cardiovascular Research Technologies (CRT) Young Leadership Recognition Program.
Nanna was nominated for the program by Sunil Rao, MD, a professor of medicine at Duke University where he trained with Rao as a fellow at Duke University Medical Center.
“It was my privilege to nominate Mike Nanna for the CRT Young Leader program. Mike has the rare combination of outstanding clinical acumen, a talent for research, and a passion for education. He is poised to be a future leader in interventional cardiology," said Rao.
Nanna graduated Stony Brook University School of Medicine as a member of both the Alpha Omega Alpha and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation honor societies. He completed his training in internal medicine and served as a chief resident at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Nanna joined the faculty in 2021 after completing fellowship training in interventional cardiology at Duke University Medical Center. During his cardiology fellowship training Nanna received a NIH T32 Training Grant, the Robert A. Harrington Excellence in Fellowship Award, Duke Cardiology Fellowship Brandt & Belinda Louie Award, and the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (EPI) Early Career Travel Grant, which recognizes outstanding new researchers. He was recently named an Associate Editor at the American Heart Journal and has served as a reviewer for a number of prestigious journals including JAMA, JACC, and Circulation.
Karthik Murugiah: K08 Award
Karthik Murugiah, MBBS, an instructor and interventional cardiologist, was awarded a five-year K08 career development award from the NHLBI. His five-year project proposes to create and validate automated algorithms that can apply natural language processing techniques to EHR data to detect hospital bleeding and one-year target lesion revascularization after percutaneous coronary intervention.
Mentors on the award include Harlan Krumholz MD, SM, Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and professor of investigative medicine and of public health (health policy), and director of the Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE), as well as Cynthia Brandt MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine and of anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine, and of biostatistics at Yale School of Public Health; and Dragomir Radev, PhD, A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Computer Science.
“Karthik is a gifted, caring physician who is poised to make critical contributions to advancing the care of cardiac patients and the lives of patients,” said Krumholz.
“Before fellowship, he invested in developing a strong foundation of research skills that now positions him to pursue complex questions and illuminate opportunities for us to augment medical evidence.”
Murugiah attended medical school at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He subsequently completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Jacobi Medical Center, followed by a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at CORE. His clinical fellowships in Cardiovascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology have been at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was appointed as an instructor at Yale School of Medicine in 2019.
Murugiah has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications. He is also the recipient of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Leo M. Davidoff Society Outstanding Achievement in Teaching of Medical Students Award.
John Stendahl: K08 Award
John Stendahl, MD, PhD, is an instructor in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine who also specializes in clinical and translational cardiovascular imaging. His multiyear project uses normothermic machine perfusion to develop targeted therapies for ischemia-reperfusion injury. Stendahl was also selected for the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) Leadership Development Program.
Mentors on the award include Albert J. Sinusas, MD, professor of medicine, radiology, and biomedical engineering and director of Y-TRIC, and Gregory Tietjen, PhD, assistant professor surgery in the Department of Surgery who was instrumental in the development of research to adapt isolated organ machine perfusion.
“This grant will leverage Dr. Stendahl’s unique expertise in materials science and engineering, cardiovascular physiology, and cardiac imaging for the development of novel multi-modality imaging approaches for the assessment and conditioning of donor hearts during ex vivo normothermic perfusion in preparation for transplantation,” said Sinusas.
Stendahl has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications. He completed advanced fellowships in clinical and translational cardiovascular imaging at Yale. He received his PhD in engineering from Northwestern University in 2005 and graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2011. In 2021 he was selected for the two-year American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) Leadership Development Program.
Examples of past grant recipients in Yale Cardiovascular Medicine
Structure and individualized support are essential for early-career investigators. Yale has developed a robust support mechanism to provide fundamental skills for investigators to explore a research project.
- An associate professor and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar alumna, Erica Spatz, MD, MHS, received funding for her project, “SCH: INT: A Context-aware Cuff-less Wearable Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor using a Bio-Impedance Sensor Array,” from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and a second project, “Identifying effective strategies used by Medicare Accountable Care Organizations to improve outcomes for patients with heart failure: A mixed-methods study,” from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Tariq Ahmad, MD, MPH, an associate professor, was awarded a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for the project, “Guiding Evidence Based Therapy Using Biomarker Intensified Treatment (CCC).”
- Jeptha Curtis, MD,an associate professor,
- In 2018, Lauren A. Baldassarre, MD, an associate professor and vice chief of diversity, equity and inclusion, received a multi-year grant from the AHA. “Advanced Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance for Detection of Programmed Cell Death Protein-1 Deficient Myocarditis,” proposes to use advanced Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance or CMR to detect myocardial structural, functional, and metabolic changes associated with autoimmune myocarditis in cardio-toxicity associated with CPI therapy of the PD-1 pathway in cancer patients.
- In 2018, Georgia Zarkada, MD, PhD, an associate research scientist in the Eichmann lab, also received NIH funding from the National Eye Institute to study novel methods, “Targeting TGFB signaling to treat ocular neovascular disease.”
- James V. Freeman, MD, MPH, MS, was also awarded an NIH grant titled, “Safety and Effectiveness of Left Atrial Appendage Closure in Atrial Fibrillation (SAFELY-AF),” in conjunction with Boston Scientific.
There are multiple career advancement opportunities in cardiovascular medicine including degree-granting programs and advanced research training.
The Office of Academic and Professional Development (OAPD) is committed to helping faculty at Yale School of Medicine thrive in their research, educational, and clinical careers. For more information, visit medicine.yale.edu/oapd.