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Kwan to Receive YCCI Scholar Award

September 16, 2022
by Elisabeth Reitman

Three faculty in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine are among the recent Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) Junior Faculty Scholars. The 2022 scholars each receive up to $25,000 of research support to pursue basic, translational, clinical, and community-based research.

Jennifer M. Kwan MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, has received a KL-2 award from YCCI and has been inducted into the Janeway Society. Kwan received the Scholar Award for her project, “Impact of the Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential (CHIP) Secretome in Cardio-oncology and Heart Failure.”

Kwan is a prolific researcher focused on translational research to understand the mechanisms behind how clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), a condition of aging and other novel somatic variants may impact cardiovascular health using a multi-omics approach, including genomics, cytokine/biomarker profiling, bioengineering with engineered heart tissues and imaging with cardiac MRI. CHIP has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and death, yet there are no approved therapies or monitoring guidelines. Research led by Kwan and her colleagues have identified novel somatic variants that impact survival in heart failure and identified some novel biomarkers in patients with CHIP. The goal of her project is to identify potential therapeutic targets to improve cardiovascular outcomes in these patients and provide insights into aging.

Kwan studied at the University of California-Berkeley, where she investigated the de novo synthesis of lipids and glucose in HIV patients on antiretroviral treatment therapies given the increased risk of insulin resistance and lipid derangements in these patients. Her undergraduate studies led her to pursue an MD/PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program, a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded program, where she received her PhD in biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Chicago. She completed her residency and postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois Chicago followed by postdoctoral work as a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Francisco to study cardiotoxicities associated with oncologic therapies.

Deeply committed to the discovery of new pathways to improve patient care, Kwan chose the Yale School of Medicine for her cardiovascular medicine and cardio-oncology fellowship. At Yale, she worked closely with Lauren Baldassarre, MD, an associate professor in the Yale School of Medicine Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, to evaluate cardiovascular toxicities in patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors. She also advocates for physician-scientists by serving on the American Physician Scientists Association Board of Directors. The results of a nationwide survey on the impact of COVID-19 on early-career physician-scientists were published Aug. 2 in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Kwan has been invited to present at the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, and the Northwestern Cardiovascular Young Investigators' Forum. Kwan has authored 25 peer-reviewed publications in the Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, PLoS One, and Nature Reviews Cardiology, Embo Nature, among others. Kwan also serves as a reviewer for Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, Circulation, and BMC Medical Education.

Learn more about the YCCI Junior Faculty Scholars.

Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on September 16, 2022