Dr. Lina Shehadeh Receives “Stop Heart Disease Researcher of the Year Award”

Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, has been awarded the “Stop Heart Disease Researcher of the Year Award” by the Florida Heart Research Institute for advancing the treatment of cardiovascular disease using RNA therapy.

Shehadeh was presented with the award at the annual meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando on August 25.

“This award is another important milestone in Dr. Shehadeh’s scientific career,” said Mauro Moscucci, M.D., M.B.A., professor and interim chair of medicine and chief of the Cardiovascular Division, who nominated Shehadeh for the award. “It provides well-deserved recognition for her innovative research on microRNA-regulated pathways in atherosclerosis, which I am convinced will eventually lead to new treatments for heart diseases.”

A past winner of the International Society of Heart Research’s Young Investigator Award for her research on the regulatory role of microRNA in halting the growth of blood vessels at the onset of heart failure, Shehadeh is actively engaged in developing a targeted delivery method for microRNAs in vivo using aptamer technology. She currently serves as an integral part of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute where she has made compelling discoveries regarding vascular smooth muscle cell plasticity and atherosclerosis and also recently identified a microRNA that reduces serum cholesterol levels and controls stem cell differentiation.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Shehadeh. “The support that I have received from the Florida Heart Research Institute over the past three years has been instrumental in promoting my lab’s research and helping me compete at the NIH level.”

The tenth recipient of the institute’s Researcher of the Year award, Shehadeh is the fifth Miller School researcher chosen for the honor. Previous Miller School recipients were Nanette Bishopric, M.D., professor of pharmacology and medicine (2005); Joy Lincoln, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology (2007); Jianquin Wei, M.D., assistant research professor of medicine (2010); and Mauricio Cohen, M.D., associate professor of medicine (2011).

The institute, which is dedicated to eradicating heart disease through research, education and prevention, established the $25,000 annual award in 2003 to support cardiovascular research that does not have corporate or government sponsorship, but holds great promise for advancing scientific knowledge and preventing and curing heart disease.

To be considered for the award, researchers must be nominated by a colleague, live in and actively conduct clinical and/or basic science research in Florida, and have published their work in the arena of peer-reviewed scientific meetings and/or publications. Winners are chosen by members of the institute’s Scientific Advisory Panel and the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

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