UNC and the American Heart Association celebrate a 40-year Partnership

UNC Cardiovascular Medicine and the American Heart Association gather to celebrate their 40-year partnership with a tour of UNC’s research facilities

UNC and the American Heart Association celebrate a 40-year Partnership click to enlarge Jiandong Liu, PhD, holds up a specimen in the Zebra Fish Core Research Facility during the UNC-AHA research tour on December 11
UNC and the American Heart Association celebrate a 40-year Partnership click to enlarge Mauricio Rojas, MD, discusses his cardiovascular research in the Mouse Core Research Facility during the UNC-AHA Research Tour

While the mouse and the zebra fish hardly seem like obvious supporters in the fight against heart disease, their biologies offer distinct advantages to researchers working to end cardiovascular disease.

On December 11, 2012, a select group of friends and supporters of UNC Cardiovascular Medicine and the American Heart Association gathered at the Medical Biomolecular Research Building (MBRB) on UNC’s campus to celebrate the 40-year partnership between the American Heart Association (AHA) and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Guests at this intimate event were treated to an insider’s research tour, led by Mauricio Rojas, MD, and Jiandong Liu, PhD, of the Mouse and Zebra Fish Core research facilities - both of which are integral to the cutting edge cardiovascular research at Carolina.

Following the tours, UNC faculty members Arjun Deb, MD, Frank Conlon MD, and Wolfgang Bergmeier, PhD, gave presentations featuring their cardiovascular disease research. All three of these faculty members have been funded by the AHA, and each mentioned in their talk how vital the support of the AHA has been in their career, particularly when they were early-career faculty.

Nigel Mackman, Ph.D., Director of the McAllister Heart Institute, and Cam Patterson, MD, MBA, Chief of the Division of Cardiology, also offered remarks to celebrate the occasion and highlight the importance of the strategic partnership between the AHA and UNC.

Dr. Mackman provided a brief history of the successful collaboration between UNC and the AHA, stating that over the last 40 years, the AHA has given over $33 million in research grants to UNC.

Dr. Patterson offered encouraging remarks for supporters of UNC Cardiovascular Medicine, thanking them for contributing more than $3.6 million in support in the past year to combat heart disease.

Erica Lind, Executive Director of the Triangle Office of the AHA, concluded the event by saying how gratifying it was to see the research dollars from the American Heart Association in action at UNC in efforts to prevent and eventually eradicate heart disease.