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Meet the 2020 Cardiovascular Medicine Pitch Competition Contestants

November 23, 2020
by Elisabeth Reitman

This two-part virtual series will be held on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 at 8:00 a.m. EST via Zoom.

On Dec. 1. eight contestants will present their ideas before a panel of judges at the Yale New Haven Hospital Heart and Vascular Center and Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Pitchfest. Each contestant will have five minutes to convey a compelling and clinically effective solution that has the potential to disrupt the health care industry. If selected, the recipient will be awarded $7,000 in seed funding from the Joshua C. Gibson, M.D., Memorial Fund for Heart Research.

The following Tuesday will feature a talk by guest judge, Michael Singer MD, PhD, and practical how-to talks by Margaret Cartiera, PhD, at the Center for Health Care Innovation, and other guest speakers.

1. John Elefteriades, MD


John Elefteriades, MD, is the William W.L. Glenn Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and former Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital. Elefteriades directs the Aortic Institute at Yale, one of the nation's largest facilities for treatment of the dilated thoracic aorta.

Elefteriades is the co-author of research published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, “Dynamic Thermal Mapping of Localized TherapeuticHypothermia in the Brain,” and senior author of a study published in BMJ’s Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery “Novel intracranial brain cooling catheter to mitigatebrain injuries.”

See also: Research note: Predicting a deadly heart condition that runs in families

2. Daniel J. Friedman, MD


Daniel J. Friedman, MD, is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist, assistant professor of medicine in the Section of Cardiology at the Yale School of Medicine, and an attending physician at the Yale New Haven Hospital. Friedman’s research areas of interest include improving the safety and efficacy of complex ablation, optimal use of pacemakers in patients with heart failure (including cardiac resynchronization therapy), and non-pharmacologic management of atrial fibrillation, including catheter ablation and left atrial appendage occlusion.

Friedman is the first author of an article published in JAMA Cardiology "Trends and In-Hospital Outcomes Associated With Adoption of the Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator in the United States," and "Impact of interruptions in radiofrequency energy delivery on lesion characteristics," published in the journal Heart Rhythm.

See also: Association found between left atrial appendage closure and readmission for thromboembolism


3. Zaniar Ghazizadeh, MD

Zaniar Ghazizadeh, MD, is currently in the Internal Medicine training program at Yale New Haven Hospital and the Yale School of Medicine and has an interest in Cardiovascular disease. His research interest lies in the development of in vitro and in vivo platforms for studying heart regeneration and precision medicine.

Ghazizadeh is the first author of a study published in Circulation "A Metastable Atrial State Underlies The Primary Genetic Substrate for MYL4 Mutation-Associated Atrial Fibrillation" and “ROCKII inhibition promotes the maturation of human pancreatic beta-like cells” in Nature Communications.

See also: COVID-19 patients with abnormal heart rhythms face a greater risk of death


4. Arya Mani MD, FACC, FAHA


Arya Mani, MD, established the Cardiovascular Genetics Program at the Yale School of Medicine in 2010 to provide care for patients and families who are suspected of having inherited cardiovascular disease. The Mani Laboratory is deeply engaged in system biology by combining functional genomics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics and gene editing in vivoand in vitroto understand the molecular mechanisms underlying metabolic syndrome, its traits obesity, hyperlipidemia and hypertension and its complications coronary artery disease (CAD), and type2 diabetes (T2D)

Mani is the senior author of a study published by Nature Genetics “CELA2A mutations predispose to early-onset atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome and affect plasma insulin and platelet activation.”

See also: Gene plays role in early-onset heart disease and diabetes

5. Makoto Mori, MD

Makoto Mori, MD, is an Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgery resident where he is also enrolled in the Investigative Medicine Program at Yale. Mori is pursuing a PhD in clinical outcomes and health services research.

Mori is the first author of “Prevalence of Incidentally Identified Thoracic Aortic Dilations: Insights for Screening Criteria,” published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, “Diabetes and Hypertension Associate Differently With the Risk of Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm: A CT Study of 21,295 Patients,” and a co-author of “Diagnosis of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms by Computed Tomography Without Allometric Scaling,” published in JAMA Network Open.

See also: Yale Succeeds With a More Inclusive Approach to Heart Transplants

6. Mehran M. Sadeghi, MD

At the Yale School of Medicine Professor Mehran M. Sadeghi, MD, leads the Sadeghi Laboratory, which is focused on vascular remodeling, as the prototypic pathological vascular process shared by many vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, graft arteriosclerosis, post-angioplasty restenosis, and aneurysm formation.

Sadeghi is the senior author of a report “Novel Arginine-containing Macrocyclic MMP Inhibitors: Synthesis, 99m Tc-labeling, and Evaluation,” published in Nature and “Hydroxamate-Based Selective Macrophage Elastase (MMP-12) Inhibitors and Radiotracers for Molecular Imaging,” in the Journal of Medical Chemistry.

See also: New imaging tracer allows early assessment of abdominal aortic aneurysm risk

7. Albert J. Sinusas, MD

Albert J. Sinusas, MD, FACC, FAHA, FASNC, is professor of medicine in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine and Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the Yale School of Medicine, professor of biomedical engineering at Yale University, and director of the Yale Translational Research Imaging Center (Y-TRIC), and director of Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Sinusas is the senior author of “Prototype device for endoventricular beta-emitting radiotracer detection and molecularly-guided intervention,” published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology.

See also: NIH Grants Fund Image-Guided Therapy After a Heart Attack

8. Erica S. Spatz, MD, MHS

Erica S. Spatz, MD, MHS, is a clinical investigator at the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), and an associate professor in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her clinical and research interests include the development of individualized approaches to preventing and managing cardiovascular disease, along with tools to help patients become more active in their healthcare decisions.

Spatz is the author of an editorial published in JAMA CardiologyAmerican Heart Association Goals Through a 20/20 Lens,” and the co-author of a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Assoication “Leveraging the Electronic Health Records for Population Health: A Case Study of Patients With Markedly Elevated Blood Pressure.”

See also: Study Explores Why Caribbean Adults Have Higher Hypertension Rates


Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on November 23, 2020