25th annual UK Cardiovascular Research Day to celebrate excellence, innovation in heart health


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2023) — The University of Kentucky is celebrating 25 years of excellence and innovation in cardiovascular clinical care, research and education with its annual Cardiovascular Research Day.

The event will be held on Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Central Bank Center. Registration is open online through Oct. 6.

Alan Daugherty, Ph.D., D. Sc., the Gill Foundation Chair of Preventive Cardiology, director of the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center and the Saha Aortic Center, chair of the Department of Physiology and associate vice president for research core facilities, will welcome attendees to the event.

Two researchers who have made significant contributions to the field of cardiovascular medicine will be honored for their work with the Gill Awards.

Joseph C. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and the Simon H. Stertzer, M.D., professor of medicine and radiology, will be awarded the Gill Heart and Vascular Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cardiovascular Research.

Wu, who is president-elect of the American Heart Association, will be honored for his lifelong achievements in research and the direct impact his work has had on cardiovascular biology, disease and the standard of cardiovascular clinical care.

Wu will also present “Stem Cells & Genomics: From Precision Medicine to Clinical Trials in Dish.”

Rebecca A. Haeusler, Ph.D., an associate professor of pathology and cell biology and researcher at Columbia University’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, will be awarded the Gill Heart and Vascular Institute Early Career Gill Award.

The award is given to those who are typically within the first seven years of their faculty appointment. Awardees are recognized for innovation and creativity that has impacted cardiovascular research and/or advancements in clinical care.

Haeusler will also present “How Hepatic Insulin Signaling Contributes to Cardiovascular Health.”  

Joseph A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D., the Frank M. Ryburn Jr. chair in heart research and James T. Willerson, M.D., distinguished chair in cardiovascular diseases at UT Southwestern Medical School, and editor-in-chief of the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, will be the career development speaker at the event. He will present “Disseminating Biomedical Information in Evolving Times.”

Giving the alumni presentation this year is Alison Bailey, M.D., physician director of cardiovascular diseases at HCA Healthcare in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and editor-in-chief of the American College of Cardiology Extended Learning. She will present “Social Determinants of Health: What Are They and Why You Should Care.”

Mary Walsh, M.D., medical director of the St. Vincent Cardiovascular Research Institute in Indianapolis and a past president of the American College of Cardiology, will deliver a special presentation: “The Power of Cardiovascular Research Touches Patients Everyday: A Clinician's Perspective."

Three assistant professors at UK will also be recognized for their work and each give presentations: Lindsay Czuba, Ph.D., in the College of Pharmacy, Cheavar Blair, Ph.D., in the College of Medicine, and Hongbing Fan, Ph.D., in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

The Saha Aortic Center Awards will also presented to recognize excellence in clinical service, research and education at the University of Kentucky as it pertains to aortic health and treatment.

There will be judged poster sessions in five categories: Staff, Postdoctoral Fellow, Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student, along with a five-minute rapid-fire presentation.

Cardiovascular Research Day is made possible by support from the UK Cardiovascular Research Priority Area, the UK HealthCare Gil Heart & Vascular Institute, the UK Saha Cardiovascular Research Center and the UK Saha Aortic Center.

The annual UK Aortic Symposium will be held the next day, Oct. 21, in Room 150 at the Healthy Kentucky Research Building. Registration is open online through Oct. 6.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.