Mehran M. Sadeghi, MD, professor of medicine (cardiovascular medicine), recently received the prestigious Senior Clinician Scientist Investigator Award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The award, which recognizes clinician-scientists who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to research and clinical care for veterans, is a testament to the quality of Sadeghi’s research and patient care. This recognition, Sadeghi emphasized, is not solely about individual accomplishments but also acknowledges the collaborative efforts within the VA and the Yale Section of Cardiovascular Medicine. "I want to acknowledge the other colleagues who have supported my research over the past three decades," Sadeghi said. "I'm the third person in the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale to have received this award over the years, which underscores the tradition of excellence of the department’s VA investigators." Sadeghi entered cardiology while exploring specialties as a medical student in Paris. "I was at the stage where I had to choose my direction," he recalled. "I loved pediatrics and neurology, but I found that cardiology was logical and rapidly evolving." His pursuit of cardiology eventually led him to Yale, where he arrived for what he expected would be a brief experience as a visiting student and turned into a career as a physician-scientist spanning over three decades. Sadeghi's research has been nothing short of groundbreaking. He delved into molecular imaging, a field with immense potential for transforming patient care in cardiology. "Unlike traditional imaging, molecular imaging targets biological processes," he explained. "This approach can lead to personalized medicine, where we identify specific patients who would benefit from certain therapies." One of his remarkable projects involves risk-stratifying aortic aneurysms. Traditionally, these conditions are monitored until they reach a certain size, and at that point, patients undergo surgical interventions. However, Sadeghi's research aims to identify biological characteristics that predispose aneurysms to grow and rupture. Sadeghi and his team are tracking these characteristics through molecular imaging to identify patients who need early intervention. Another pioneering endeavor is the identification of vulnerable plaques in coronary arteries, which are responsible for heart attacks. Sadeghi's work in molecular imaging opens the possibility of detecting these plaques early and developing targeted therapies to prevent heart attacks. More recently, he has extended these concepts to fibrocalcific aortic valve disease, which can present as severe aortic stenosis. This is a growing problem for which there is currently no specific therapy other than surgical or transcatheter valve replacement. Sadeghi's group has leveraged molecular imaging and valvular biology research to discover new drugs to prevent and reverse valvular calcification and fibrosis. “Mehran epitomizes the fabulous opportunities and strengths at Yale in translational research,” said Eric J. Velazquez, MD, Robert W. Berliner Professor of Medicine and chief of Yale Cardiovascular Medicine. “He has relentlessly championed the identification of imaging biomarkers of cardiovascular disease progression, providing unique insights on the underlying biology of disease that can be directly applied to the care of our patients.” Sadeghi's dedication to his research matches his commitment to mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists. "Helping trainees build their lives and become who they want to be is what I'm most proud of," he shared. “Mentorship is critical to advance the cardiology field.” The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators, educators, and staff in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.