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UofSC Researchers Present at Global Heart Conference

An interdisciplinary team of USC students, graduate students, medical students, researchers and faculty led by Dr. Francis Spinale, associate dean for research at the School of Medicine, presented their most recent discoveries to more than 18,000 attendees at the 2016 American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference in New Orleans this week.

The team’s translational research aims to improve health and health care for South Carolina patients and families affected by heart conditions and stroke.

Several of the studies involve new interventions that can prevent or stop the progression of heart failure, including the use of growth factors, targeted electrical stimulation, and the precise delivery of protective biomaterials.

Additional work includes state-of-the-art three-dimensional imaging of the heart, and a clinical study that offers a way to identify children who are at high risk for chemotherapy-related heart damage – before treatment is done.


Students Kia Zellars (left) and Paige Perreault at the poster session

The prestigious AHA Scientific Sessions conference features cutting-edge clinical research presented by the world’s leaders in cardiovascular disease. In addition to thousands of conference attendees from more than 100 countries, two million medical professionals participate remotely each year.

Competition to present is fierce, with research abstract acceptance rates typically below 20 percent. All eight of the abstracts the team submitted this year were accepted, and students will be doing most of the presentations.

Spinale says collaborating with leading institutions such as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, and working side-by-side with investigators from other UofSC fields, such as the College of Arts and Sciences (biology), the College of Engineering and Computing (mechanical engineering) and the School of Public Health to find solutions for medical issues is a unique research experience that can lead to significant breakthroughs.

“When you have the increased capacity made possible by a truly multi-disciplinary team – how can you lose?” he asks. “If we harness talents from across the UofSC landscape, we can make big noise.”


First row (left to right): Paige Perreault, rising PA student; Julia Jacobs, research specialist; Kia Zellars, research specialist and graduate student in biomedical sciences; Lydia Matesic, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
Second row (left to right): Parker Freels, third year medical student; Kaitlyn Swimmer, public health student; Camila Villacreses, biology and rising medical student; Francis G. Spinale, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for research and graduate education, distinguished professor of personalized medicine
Third row (left to right): James Shuman, fourth year medical student; Kathryn Mason, M.S.N., R.N.-BC, clinical research nurse; Ashley Sapp, administrative coordinator; Tarek Shazly, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering
Top row (left to right): Shayne Barlow, D.V.M., Ph.D., pharmacology, physiology and neuroscience; Mark Uline, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering; Heather Doviak, research specialist
Not shown: Edie Goldsmith, Ph.D.


November 18th, 2016