Kristi Lopez

By

College: Medicine

UK Researcher Among 14 in the U.S. to Receive Prestigious NIH Award

Published: Oct 1, 2012

See video

Video by Reveal Research Media.

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2012)Dr. Brandon Fornwalt, assistant professor of pediatrics, physiology and biomedical engineering in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Kentucky, has been selected to receive the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Early Independence Award. The award provides funding for junior scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific creativity, intellectual maturity, and leadership skills with the opportunity to conduct independent biomedical or behavioral research by skipping the traditional postdoctoral training period.

 

Fornwalt was among 14 exceptional junior scientists who have completed doctoral degrees or clinical residencies in the past year and have been chosen to be supported by the NIH Common Fund and contributing NIH Institutes. NIH plans to commit approximately $25.9 million to support their research projects over a five-year period. Fornwalt will receive $1.96 million over five years to advance his research in exploring the role of dyssynchrony – a condition where the heart suffers from uncoordinated contraction – in pediatric heart disease with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

 

"This is a great honor for Dr. Fornwalt, our pediatric cardiology program and the University of Kentucky," said Dr. Carmel Wallace, chair of the UK Department of Pediatrics. "His research background and proposals for future clinical advancements based on his research have made him a great asset that complements our pediatric cardiology team."

 

Originally from South Carolina, Fornwalt joined the faculty at UK in 2011 and directs the Cardiac Imaging Research Laboratory at Kentucky Children's Hospital. He attended the University of South Carolina receiving undergraduate degrees in mathematics and marine science. He worked in a free medical clinic for a year before starting a combined MD/PhD program at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. After finishing his degrees in 2010, he completed an internship in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.

 

"I have always had an interest in math, engineering and medicine but my true passion is research," Fornwalt said. "It is rare for someone to have that combination as their background but for me it was a natural fit. As imaging becomes an even more valuable and utilized tool in patient care and diagnosis, I think having people with math and engineering knowledge in the medical field will become more essential and more common."

 

Today, Fornwalt is among a growing number of translational scientists whose expertise in research and medicine bridges the gap taking innovations from the lab to the patient setting producing rapid clinical advances.

 

His research focus is in congenital heart disease -- or heart defects at birth -- which affects more than a million children and adults in the United States and is responsible for more years of life lost than all of childhood cancer combined. According to Fornwalt, "the big-picture goal of my research program is to address this problem by adapting a relatively new, highly successful therapy for adult heart failure called cardiac resynchronization therapy, into a treatment option for patients with congenital heart disease."

 

The most critical knowledge gap is identifying which patients with congenital heart disease are most likely to benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy, he said. He is using MRIs to address this challenge by studying a population of patients with a common, serious congenital heart defect known as tetralogy of Fallot.

 

In the future, he plans to use this work as the basis for initiating randomized trials to study the effectiveness of cardiac resynchronization therapy in patients with congenital heart disease.

 

"We are extremely fortunate to have been able to recruit Dr. Fornwalt to UK," said Dr. Lou Bezold, medical director at Kentucky Children's Hospital and co-chair of the Kentucky Children's Hospital Congenital Heart Program. "He has a very bright future and I am confident he will continue to contribute to innovative and collaborative research here in the future."

 

Fornwalt is the first faculty member from Kentucky selected to receive the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award and as a recipient joins scientists from such elite research institutions as Yale University, UCLA, Stanford University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, last year's cohort of awardees included five of the "30 under 30" in Science and Innovation named by Forbes Magazine.

 

Below is the complete list of the 2012 NIH Director's Early Independence award recipients:

 

  • Alan Anticevic, Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  • Mona Batish, Ph.D., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, N.J.
  • Yvonne Chen, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles
  • Adam de la Zerda, Ph.D., Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
  • Brandon K.  Fornwalt, M.D., Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.
  • Mitchell Guttman, Ph.D., Broad Institute, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
  • William J. Kaiser, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta
  • Ziad Obermeyer, M.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
  • Brad Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Rockefeller University, New York
  • Gregory F. Sonnenberg, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Matthew Thompson, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco, San Francisco
  • Gabriel D. Victoria, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Saul A. Villeda, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco, San Francisco
  • Ellen Yeh, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University.

 

More information on the Early Independence Award is available at http://commonfund.nih.gov/earlyindependence

 

Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez, kristi.lopez@uky.edu or (859) 323-6363

fornwalt_feature_photo.jpg
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
UK Working Moms Connection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Minority Student Welcome
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Jackass 3
LNFS Presents: Godzilla
Pedalpalooza
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Last Day to Drop a Course with 100% Refund
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Rec 'N Roll 2014
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
LNFS Presents: Jurassic Park
First Day of Classes
Campus Outreach
Opening Act: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Her
LNFS Presents: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
LNFS Presents: Team America: World Police
Pills and Pizza
K Week Event: Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Neighbors
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 22
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament 08/22/2014
Reset Page