Dr. Keith Webster Recognized for Innovative Translational Stem Cell Research

The Miller School’s Keith Webster, Ph.D., professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology and the Walter G. Ross Distinguished Chair in Vascular Biology, has been recognized for his outstanding dedication to the mission of the Florida Heart Research Institute in the area of research.

Paul Kurlansky, M.D., Director of Research, presented Webster with the award in recognition of his innovative translational stem cell research and robust collaborative support of the institute at the institute’s February 26 annual meeting at the Sabadell Financial Center on Brickell.

In presenting the award, Kurlansky said Webster and his research team have advanced the institute’s mission of supporting programs that can be translated rapidly into clinical applications for cardiovascular disease. Webster’s research on the combination gene and stem cell treatments for patients suffering myocardial infarction and peripheral artery disease constitutes such a program that already has scheduled clinical trials.

“I am thrilled to receive this award and thank the FHRI, in particular Dr. Kurlansky, for their generous support of the Vascular Biology Institute and my research programs that are directed towards advanced biotechnology for the treatment of cardiovascular disease,” said Webster, who also is Director of the Vascular Biology Institute.

In his acceptance speech, Webster thanked his colleagues Claudia Rodrigues, Ph.D., research assistant professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division, and Roberto Vazquez-Padron, Ph.D., research associate professor of surgery.

A graduate of the University of York in England, Webster’s research focuses on the molecular pathology of vascular disease, control of cell death in ischemic heart disease, and protective/regenerative strategies using stem cells and gene therapy with “intelligent genes.” The latter involves targeting therapeutic genes to ischemic muscles with hypoxia-responsive control elements, which provides a safe and more effective therapy for ischemic disease.

Kathleen S. Schrank, M.D., professor and Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine, also was recognized at the annual meeting for her support of PUSHCPR, the institute’s public awareness campaign that provides education about bystander-continuous chest compression CPR.

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