NYITCOM Hosts Cardiovascular Research Seminar


NYITCOM Hosts Cardiovascular Research Seminar

October 4, 2023

Pictured: Research Associate Amanda Charest (left) and D.O./Ph.D. student Kelly Borges share research during the seminar’s poster presentation.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) hosted the second annual New York City Area Inter-Institutional Cardiovascular Retreat. Each year, the event convenes researchers from NYITCOM’s Department of Biomedical Sciences with peers from esteemed research institutions located in and around the New York City area, including Weill Cornell, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York University, and others.

NYITCOM was selected to host this year’s event, which was held at NYIT de Seversky Mansion on September 14 and provided an opportunity to showcase scientific findings by the medical school’s faculty and students while connecting them with other investigators (and potential future co-investigators) from the New York City metro area.

“We, the scientific community, still have much to learn about the intricacies of cardiovascular health. But research retreats such as this provide an invaluable forum for our investigators to exchange scholarly findings and ideas with other respected academics, potentially forging research collaborations that could one day result in life-saving discoveries,” said University Professor and Chair of Biomedical Sciences Martin Gerdes, Ph.D.   

The event kicked off with a discussion by Director of the DeMatteis Cardiovascular Institute in Greenvale, N.Y., and board-certified cardiologist Ziad Ali, M.D., D.Phil. Since fall 2022, the renowned physician has taken NYITCOM students, including Karen Chau, under his wing to participate in the DeMatteis Center’s innovative cardiac research studies. Under Ali’s mentorship, Chau assisted in an imaging study that visualizes coronary artery calcification, the buildup of calcium salts (plaque) in the arteries that deliver blood to the heart.

Ali’s discussion, “Innovation in Cardiovascular Medicine: The Upside of Failure,” relayed the ups and downs of developing an interventional device designed to safely address calcium plaque in the coronary arteries. The device, once viewed as a “pipe dream,” has since become commercially available in many countries and is now hailed as a breakthrough. In light of his own experience, he urged attendees to be persistent in pursuing their research and development ideas.

Throughout the day, NYITCOM faculty and students from the osteopathic medicine, D.O./medical and biological sciences, Ph.D. (D.O./Ph.D.) program also heard from other presenters regarding atherosclerosis, heart failure, and the impact of sleep on the central nervous system, among other topics.

During the afternoon’s poster presentation session, ample studies by NYITCOM faculty and their student mentees covered a wide array of cardiovascular health issues. Among other subjects, studies examined caffeine’s impact on heart rhythm, research imaging technology, and vascular calcification with dementia. Featured NYITCOM research included:

  • “P21 activated Kinase 1 regulates autophagy in cardiomyocytes via P62.”
    Student researchers: Shawn Geffken, Tint Tha Ra Wun, Anoushka Guha, Pooja Jaiswal, Kinza Ahmed, and Caleb Sooknanan
    Faculty and staff: Research Technician Tamayo Kobayashi; Assistant Professor Satoru Kobayashi, Ph.D.; Professor Qiangrong Liang, M.D., Ph.D.  
  • “New imaging technology for cardiovascular research at NYIT and regional collaborators.”
    Faculty: Associate Professor Randy Stout, Ph.D.
  • “Glucolipotoxicity curtails mitophagy in cardiomyocytes.”
    Student researchers
    : Younghee Hahn, Hongling Chen, Nidhi Banker, Srinidhi Gadula, Pravin Vathappallil, Brett Silverstein, Jennifer Van, and Ziying Zhang
    Faculty and staff: Tamayo Kobayashi; Senior Research Associate Yuan Huang; Qiangrong Liang, M.D., Ph.D.; and Satoru Kobayashi, Ph.D.
  • “Alcohol and Caffeine Synergistically Induce Spontaneous Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias—Ameliorated with Dantrolene Treatment.”
    Student researchers: Christopher Kim and Nawal Wasif
    Faculty and staff: Associate Professor Youhua Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.; Research Technician Ying Li; Yuan Huang; Satoru Kobayashi, Ph.D.; Senior Research Associate Lars Udo-Bellner, Ph.D.; Randy Stout, Ph.D.;and Professor Kaie Ojamaa, Ph.D.
  • “Nanoscale organization of cardiac calcium channels is regulated by triiodothyronine (T3).”
    Student researchers
    : Nicholas Nasta
    Faculty and staff: Research Associate Amanda Charest; Randy Stout, Ph.D.; University Professor and Chair of Biomedical Sciences Martin Gerdes, Ph.D.; and Kaie Ojamaa, Ph.D.
  • “Microvascular calcification varies across brain regions in humans with and without dementia at death.”
    Student researchers: Kelly A. Borges, Joseph Aabye, Isabella Romano, Isabelle Lombardi, and Mackenzie Sivilli
    Faculty: Associate Professor Olga V. Savinova, Ph.D.

Since 2011, researchers in NYITCOM’s Department of Biomedical Sciences have received more than $8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Many of these NIH-funded projects investigate a range of topics in cardiovascular pathophysiology, including two recently funded projects, which aim to limit heart damage in cancer survivors treated with a potent chemotherapy drug and explore the link between obesity and hypertension.