Circulation: Heart Failure is pleased to announce the launch of the Emerging Investigators series.
This new series highlights important new research by young investigators—defined as individuals less than ten years out of training—in the fields of heart failure, mechanical circulatory support, cardiac transplantation, and pulmonary hypertension. The editors believe that highly talented young investigators need support, rather than special consideration; thus, submissions to the Emerging Investigators series will be reviewed in exactly the same manner as all original articles.
The editors recognize that forming relationships with colleagues around the globe is challenging in the early years of a career, when achieving work-life balance is hard and when the path to identifying potential colleagues seems difficult. The goal for Circulation: Heart Failure’s Emerging Investigators program is, then, to build an online interactive community for emerging investigators in the heart failure research space.
Articles accepted for this series will be prominently featured on the journal homepage, and the lead author of the paper will be invited to discuss the paper on Twitter with the editors and the community. All past and present Emerging Investigators are encouraged to join these Twitter chats to connect with peers around the world.
In addition, authors featured in the Emerging Investigators series will be invited to attend the journal’s yearly Editorial Board meeting at AHA Scientific Sessions, which will provide a unique opportunity to view the inner workings of the journal.
Are you an early investigator with a study that would fit in Circ HF’s pages? The editors encourage you to submit your best work via our online submission system.
Featured Emerging Investigators
Investigator: Veli K. Topkara, MD
Twitter Journal Club: May 3, 2018
Dr. Veli Topkara completed his medical training in Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey before moving to Columbia University as a post-doctoral research fellow in mechanical circulatory support devices and cardiac transplantation under the mentorship of Dr. Mehmet Oz. He completed internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine as a MeRIT Scholar and cardiovascular disease fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. During his basic research fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Douglas Mann at Baylor and Washington University, he developed a mouse model of reversible cardiomyopathy using conditional transgenesis and investigated transcriptional mechanisms of myocardial recovery. His work led to numerous research awards including 2010 Jay N. Cohn New Investigator Award in Basic Science from the Heart Failure Society of America and 2010 Northwestern Cardiovascular Young Investigators' Forum Basic Science Award. He received a master’s degree in genetic epidemiology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. Following his general cardiology training, Dr. Topkara moved back to Columbia University to complete Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology fellowship under the direction of Dr. Donna Mancini and stayed on as clinical faculty.
Dr. Topkara’s basic research interests include transcriptional regulation of cardiac remodeling with an emphasis on functional non-coding genes by utilizing cell models and human heart samples obtained at the time of left ventricular assist device implantation. His clinical research focuses on improving outcomes of advanced heart failure patients, through statistical risk modeling, genetic and biomarker approaches, as well as physiological studies. He has authored more than 100 research publications on heart failure and actively involved in education and mentoring of residents and fellows.
Dr. Topkara lives in New York City with his wife and 6-year old-son, and devotes most of his spare time to outdoor activities exploring the city, history, art and cuisine. He is an avid soccer fan and would not miss a game played by Besiktas JK – Istanbul.
Investigator: Anna Catino, MD
Twitter Journal Club: April 4, 2018
Dr. Anna Catino was born in Reading, England, then she and her family moved to the United States and Vermont when she was 8 years old. She obtained her undergraduate and medical degrees from The University of Vermont and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Following this she pursued her Cardiology training at The University of Utah, where she is now on faculty as an Assistant Professor and serves as the Associate Program Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship.
Dr. Catino has a research and clinical interest in Cardio-Oncology and has developed a Cardio-Oncology program at the University of Utah in collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Her research interests in particular include studying the effect of cancer therapies (in particular tyrosine kinase inhibitors and other biological agents) on the heart and vascular system. Her work focuses on further understanding cardiotoxicity of such agents mechanistically to better understand pathophysiology, treatment, and predictive markers of disease. She has a particular interest in novel echocardiographic techniques and use of advanced imaging in this population.
In addition to her research, Dr. Catino is a well-recognized physician educator, she has earned several teaching awards throughout her career and plays a major role in the education of medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Catino lives just outside of Salt Lake City in the mountains in Big Cottonwood Canyon with her husband, son (Gianluca, 3 months old), and Bernese Mountain dog (Mansfield). She and her husband are avid skiers and spend much of their time backcountry skiing and enjoying the Utah mountains and snow.
Investigator: Bettina Heidecker, MD
Notes from the Editors: The study by Heidecker and colleagues evaluated a cohort of myocarditis patients and examined changes in MRI late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) compared to changes in conventional biomarkers, troponin and natriuretic peptides. Interestingly they found a fair amount of LGE even 3 months into recovery, an abnormality that did not correlate very well with either baseline or change in biomarker values. This raises the important question of whether routine clinical and biomarker evaluation of myocarditis patients misses a substantial subset that may have residual active disease and whether additional surveillance with MRI is needed.
Twitter Journal Club: December 11, 2017 (discussion summary now available)
Dr. Heidecker was born in Austria and went to medical school at Medical University Innsbruck. After graduating, she began a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Cardiology at the Johns Hopkins University, where she developed an interest in myocarditis. Together with her team, and funded by a grant from the Myocarditis Foundation, they developed a transcriptomic biomarker that detected lymphocytic myocarditis with very high accuracy. Participating in the meetings of the Myocarditis Foundation was a unique experience for Dr. Heidecker, as she not only learned about projects of other investigators in the field of myocarditis, but was also able to listen to personal stories from patients or relatives of patients with myocarditis that left a significant impression on her. After 3.5 years of research, she did her residency training at the University of Miami and her cardiology clinical fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. After that, she returned to Europe and started her clinical work as an attending in cardiology at the University of Zurich, where she established a research group, a bioregistry, and a clinic for myocarditis.
Following her work with the Myocarditis Foundation, Dr. Heidecker’s main areas of interest in myocarditis are improving diagnostic accuracy and follow-up care, and identifying patients with a high risk for cardiovascular events in myocarditis. Her goal is to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death for this young population in the future.
Though she has many hobbies and interests, Dr. Heidecker spends most of her spare time being active outside. Having grown up in the Austrian Alps, she loves skiing in the winter. In the summer, she enjoys hiking, running, and surfing. She has also played classical guitar since she was 10 years old, and later switched mostly to acoustic.
Investigator: Rebecca Cogswell, MD
Notes from the Editors: This study examines the sensitivity of pectoral muscle area by CT for prediction of outcomes following mechanical circulatory support implantation in advanced heart failure patients. The editors found this work to be particularly clever, novel and impactful because Dr. Cogswell describes an objective, quantifiable measurement of something—i.e. frailty—that we as clinicians struggle with every day, using routinely obtained imaging from daily clinical practice.
Twitter Journal Club: September 27, 2017 (discussion summary now available)
Rebecca Cogswell completed internal medicine residency, chief residency, and cardiology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and then moved to Minnesota for her Advanced Heart Failure fellowship. While at UCSF she completed a year of advanced clinical research training. She is starting her 5th year on faculty at the University of Minnesota where she is the Medical Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support.
Dr. Cogswell's research interests are in outcome prediction of patients receiving mechanical support. She developed the University of Minnesota LVAD database which has yielded many accepted abstracts and publications since its creation. She is the medical lead for the MOMENTUM 3 clinical trial and is principle investigator on several heart failure and LVAD related clinical trials.
Dr. Cogswell lives in Minneapolis with her husband and 2 boys, Henry age 8 and Charlie age 5. She was a competitive alpine ski racer in college and continues to race with her husband in Minnesota’s Ski Challenge League.