Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute
Magnus Creed awarded an NIH NHLBI F31 Predoctoral Fellowship

Magnus Creed, a Ph.D. candidate in Sarah Franklin’s lab, was awarded a three-year Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to study protein methyltransferase activity as a regulator of cardiac metabolism. This award will aid in his scientific and career development and will enable him to investigate the role of Smyd1 as it relates to heart disease and heart failure.

Kathryn Davis was awarded AHA Fellowship Award
Kathryn Davis, a Biochemistry graduate student in Sarah Franklin’s lab was just awarded a 2-year Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association. The title of her project is: Characterization of Smyd1 Enzymatic Activity
Franklin Lab recently participated in Adobe's annual "I Heart Tech" event focused on STEAM education
On September 26, 2019, researchers from the Franklin Lab at the University of Utah, participated in Adobe’s annual ‘I Heart Tech’ event in Lehi, UT. More than 250 high school students from 20 schools across Utah county and the surrounding areas participated in an exciting array of workshops encompassing the ‘Pick Your Path’ theme. These hands-on exploratory workshop stations allowed students to choose their own area of interest and incorporated activities exploring all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) topics. The Franklin Lab shared their passion for scientific research focused on human heart disease and enabled participants to use microscopes to distinguish different types of isolated cells which are commonly used to model various disease states in research.
Enrique Balderas Angeles receives Honorable Mention in UPDA poster competition 2019.
Enrique Balderas Angeles receives Honorable Mention in UPDA poster competition 2019. The title of her project is: Characterization of Smyd1 Enzymatic Activity
Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD has been appointed as a permanent member of the NIH Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences (CICS) Study Section (2019-2023).
Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD has been appointed as a permanent member of the NIH Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences (CICS) Study Section (2019-2023) The title of her project is: Characterization of Smyd1 Enzymatic Activity
Congratulations to Enrique Balderas (CVRTI Research Associate) and his colleagues for their August 2019 publication featured as the cover page of the Journal of Physiology.
The recent publication by Enrique Balderas (CVRTI Research Associate) et al. titled "MitoBKCa channel is functionally associated with its regulatory β1 subunit in cardiac mitochondria” is featured on the cover page of the August 2019 issue of the Journal of Physiology.
Sarah Franklin is selected to receive the 2020 Outstanding Investigator Award of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR)
Sarah Franklin is selected to receive the 2020 Outstanding Investigator Award of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR). The award will be bestowed during the 2020 North American Section meeting (Denver, CO, May 26-29, 2020). As a recipient of this award, she will present a major lecture (which will be scheduled by the organizers of the meeting) and will receive $1,500 and a plaque.
Hanin Sheikh was chosen to represent the University of Utah and CVRTI and showcase her research for Utah lawmakers and the general public
Hanin Sheikh, from Dr Sarah Franklin’s lab, was chosen to represent the University of Utah and CVRTI and showcase her research for Utah lawmakers and the general public March 5 as part of the Research on Capitol Hill event in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol.
Rachit Badolia was awarded the AHA Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2019
Rachit Badolia, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Stavros Drakos’s lab, was recently awarded the AHA Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2019, to study the cardiac metabolism in heart failure patients upon LVAD-induced mechanical unloading. This award will allow him to investigate the primary energy substrate and novel metabolic pathways which are involved in functional cardiac recovery in a subset of heart failure patients on LVAD.
Teenagers visit CVRTI for an exciting ‘Night in the Lab’
On August 30, 2018, the Franklin lab hosted an inaugural event called “Night in the Lab for Teenagers” at CVRTI. Together, fellow scientists from our Institute and Human Genetics shared our passion for research and biological chemistry with the youth of our community. This event was organized to provide teenagers the opportunity to visit science research labs, see science in action, and speak with scientists at different stages in their careers. “Night in the Lab for Teenagers” gave young minds a chance to learn about exciting opportunities in STEM fields as a potential career path.
Amanda Horiuchi was recently awarded the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)
Amanda Horiuchi, a sophomore working in Dr. Junco Warren's lab, was recently awarded the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Spring 2018 at the University of Utah, to assistant the project titled “Perm1: A Novel Regulator of Mitochondrial Energetics in the Heart". This award will allow her to study the gain of function of Perm1 in mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration capacity in cardiomyocytes.
Bram Hunt has been awarded a fellowship
Bram Hunt, a first-year PhD student working in the Dosdall-Ranjan labs, has been awarded a fellowship by the ARCS Foundation in recognition of his superior academic history and the promise of his career in scientific research. The ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation is a national organization dedicated to supporting the best and brightest U.S. graduate and undergraduate scholars by providing financial awards in science, engineering and medical research.
Muhammad Khan has been awarded a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship
Muhammad Khan, a postdoctoral research associate working in the Dosdall lab, has been awarded a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association for his work titled, “Prediction of Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation in Cardiac Surgery Patients.” This project is a collaboration between surgeons, engineers, and biostatisticians to identify patients that are at highest risk for the post-operative complication of atrial fibrillation.
Derek Dosdall has received equipment grant
Dr. Derek Dosdall, PhD, an Associate Professor of Surgery (Cardiothoracic Division) and a CVRTI investigator, has received a $76,000 equipment grant from the the U’s Research Instrumentation Fund. These funds will be used to help purchase a C-arm fluoroscope required for a variety of research projects involving intercardiac placement of electrodes and catheters.
Rob MacLeod has received equipment grant
Dr. Rob MacLeod, PhD, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a CVRTI investigator, has received a $48,184 equipment grant from the U’s Research Instrumentation Fund. These funds will be used to help purchase a high-speed data acquisition system for mapping electrical activity in whole hearts.
Junco Warren has received research grant award
Dr. Junco Warren, PhD, a Research Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine Division) and a CVRTI investigator, has received a 2-year, $330,000 research grant award from the Harold S. Geneen Charitable Trust Awards Program for Coronary Heart Disease Research. This Foundation supports basic and translational scientific research with a focus on the prevention of coronary heart disease and circulatory failure. The title of Dr. Warren’s grant is: “Novel Approach of Mitochondrial Therapy in Heart Failure”.
Enrique Balderas recently won 1st Place at the National Postdoc Appreciation Week UPDA Poster Competition
Enrique Balderas-Angeles, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Dipayan Chaudhuri's lab recently won 1st Place at the National Postdoc Appreciation Week UPDA Poster Competition. “Complex I Inhibition Enhances Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter Current”. Authors: Enrique Balderas, Salah Sommakia, Sadiki Deane, Dipayan Chaudhuri.
Researchers identify a genetic mutation that sets the heart racing, producing an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart failure
“For me, this study is a satisfying example of precision medicine,” Tristani-Firouzi said, referring to a rapidly advancing field of health care that is based on an individual’s unique genetic and environmental background.
Najat Aliyev recently won first place for his poster
Najat Aliyev, a second-year medical student working in the laboratory of Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD, recently won first place for his poster titled "Assessing Glycolysis-Dependent Pentose Phosphate and 1-Carbon Metabolic Pathways in Heart Failure Patients with Left Ventricular Assist Devices” . The competition was called "SOM Alumni Weekend Student Poster Walk.” Forty-two abstracts were submitted for the competition and 22 were accepted. Abstract submissions were received from both medical students and PhD graduate students.
Rachit Badolia was recently awarded the Driving Out Diabetes Initiative 2018
Rachit Badolia, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Stavros Drakos’s lab, was recently awarded the Driving Out Diabetes Initiative 2018, a Larry H. Miller Family Wellness Initiative in collaboration with University of Utah, to study metabolism in the failing heart of diabetic patients. This award will allow him to investigate the primary energy substrate and novel metabolic pathways during heart failure in patients with diabetes.
Sean O’Very receives UROP Research Fellowship
Sean O’Very, an undergraduate student in Dr. Sarah Franklin’s lab, was recently awarded a research fellowship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the University of Utah to study the role of the histone methyltransferase Smyd1 in the adult myocardium.
Anna Jacobsen receives UROP Research Fellowship
Anna Jacobsen, an undergraduate student in Dr. Sarah Franklin’s lab, was recently awarded a research fellowship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the University of Utah to study the role of the histone methyltransferase Smyd5 in the diseased heart.
Natalia Torres is this year recipient of the Leadership in Inclusive Excellence Award, category trainee
Natalia Torres, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Tristani-Firouzi’s lab at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI), is this year's recipient of the Leadership in Inclusive Excellence Award, category trainee, from the University of Utah Office of Health Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Torres was recognized for her long-standing involvement with different organizations that work toward creating an inclusive community for underrepresented minorities, creating inclusive spaces for intercultural dialogue on campus and fostering equal opportunity.
Marta Szulik was recently awarded a 3-year NIH NRSA F32 fellowship
Natalia Torres, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Tristani-Firouzi’s lab at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI), is this year's recipient of the Leadership in Inclusive Excellence Award, category trainee, from the University of Utah Office of Health Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Torres was recognized for her long-standing involvement with different organizations that work toward creating an inclusive community for underrepresented minorities, creating inclusive spaces for intercultural dialogue on campus and fostering equal opportunity.
Dr. Craig Selzman was recently awarded the first Dr. Russell M. Nelson and Dantzel W. Nelson Presidential Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Dr. Craig Selzman, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a CVRTI Investigator, was recently awarded the first Dr. Russell M. Nelson and Dantzel W. Nelson Presidential Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery. This is an outstanding honor and a significant tribute to Craig's outstanding success as a physician/scientist.
Fulbright Scholarship for Jean Bragard
Dr. Jean Bragard, Associate Professor at the Universidad de Navarra, Spain, received a distinguished Fulbright Scholarship for studies on computational modeling of cardiac defibrillation at the University of Utah. He is hosted by Dr. Frank Sachse’s research group at the CVRTI.
Undergraduate Research Symposium
The mission of the University of Utah Office of Undergraduate Research is to facilitate and promote undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research in all disciplines throughout the University of Utah campus. The Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium offered students an opportunity to communicate their research to an audience from a broad range of backgrounds.
AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship for Chao Huang
Dr. Chao Huang received a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association for work on catheterized fiber-optics confocal microscopy of the atrial fibrosis. Sponsors of his application are Dr. Nassir Marrouche and Dr. Frank Sachse.
Nijat Aliyev was appointed to the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award
Nijat Aliyev (U of U medical student) was appointed to the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRS) institutional training grant (T35HL007744) to perform work in the laboratory of Dr. Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD.
Hanin Sheikh has been selected as Chevron Foundation UROP Scholars for 2018
Hanin Sheikh has been selected as one of six Chevron Foundation UROP Scholars for 2018, for your project entitled “The Role of Smyd1 as a Histone Methyltransferase in Heart Disease” with faculty mentor Sarah Franklin. Through this program, the Chevron Foundation recognizes outstanding female undergraduate researchers in STEM who contribute to the achievement of a more technically proficient global workforce
Annie White was awarded the Don B. Olsen Graduate Fellowship in the Department of Bioengineering
Annie White was awarded the Don B. Olsen Graduate Fellowship in the Department of Bioengineering. Don Olsen was a long-time Utah Faculty in Bioengineering and the Artifical Heart Program; a strong believer in education and the transformative power of interdisciplinary research.
Stavros Drakos, MD, was recognized by Forbes as an exemplary physician in the field of cardiology
Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD, FACC, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine Division), is one of 27 cardiologists across the country being recognized by Forbes as an exemplary physician in the field of cardiology. Stavros is also a Nora Eccles Treadwell Investigator at Nora Eccles Harrison CVRTI. See links for details. AAAS Forbes
Dipayan Chaudhuri was selected to receive an award from Gilead Sciences
Congratulations to Dipayan Chaudhuri, MD, PhD, (cardiovascular) for being selected to receive an award from Gilead Sciences. Later this fall, Dr. Chaudhuri will be recognized at an awards dinner hosted by the committee and senior representatives from Gilead, in Anaheim, California. Gilead's Research Scholars Program is designed to support innovative clinical scientific research and advance knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease. Research supported by these awards will enhance understanding of cardiovascular disease and develop the careers of early stage investigators. Recipients of these competitive awards are selected by a committee, comprised of leaders in the field of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Chaudhuri's research proposal was reviewed based on scientific merit, feasibility, and innovation and was selected to receive an award of $130,000 to further his research in cardiovascular disease. Chaudhuri received his MD and PhD from John Hopkins University School of Medicine and serves as assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. His current areas of research include calcium regulation in mitochondrial cardiomyopathies and biophysics of mitochondrial ion channels.
CVRTI Postdocs awarded 1st and 2nd place in Poster Competition
Congratulations to Dipayan Chaudhuri, MD, PhD, (cardiovascular) for being selected to receive an award from Gilead Sciences. Later this fall, Dr. Chaudhuri will be recognized at an awards dinner hosted by the committee and senior representatives from Gilead, in Anaheim, California. Gilead's Research Scholars Program is designed to support innovative clinical scientific research and advance knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease. Research supported by these awards will enhance understanding of cardiovascular disease and develop the careers of early stage investigators. Recipients of these competitive awards are selected by a committee, comprised of leaders in the field of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Chaudhuri's research proposal was reviewed based on scientific merit, feasibility, and innovation and was selected to receive an award of $130,000 to further his research in cardiovascular disease. Chaudhuri received his MD and PhD from John Hopkins University School of Medicine and serves as assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. His current areas of research include calcium regulation in mitochondrial cardiomyopathies and biophysics of mitochondrial ion channels.
Publication by CVRTI investigators highlighted in editorial
A recent publication by CVRTI investigators on cellular remodeling and recovery in heart failure patients was highlighted in an editorial of the journal Circulation.
Jared M Roberts was recently awarded through the Medical Student Research Program, sponsored by NIH/NHLBI
Jared Roberts, a 1st year medical student in Dr. Drakos’ lab, was recently awarded through the Medical Student Research Program, sponsored by NIH/NHLBI, to study metabolic pathways within certain populations of advanced heart failure patients. Jared will assist in human cardiac tissue procurement, analyze and interpret metabolomics data and conduct work in statistical modeling.
Yuanhang Zhao was awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
Yuanhang Zhao, an undergraduate student in Dr. Drakos’s lab, was recently awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to study the role of VDAC2 in regulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis. In this project, she will investigate the phenotype of cardiac-specific VDAC2-deficient adult mice and the mechanisms by which mitochondrial Ca2+ and EC coupling will be impacted as a result.
Global Phosphopeptide Analyses Identifies Heart Failure Patients Capable of Cardiac Recovery
Chris Tracy was awarded a T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant to identify global changes in signaling pathways operative in the normal and failing human heart and to distinguish patients who respond to LVAD therapy from non-responders, using a phosphoproteomics approach. This research may lead to the identification of novel pathways that drive reverse remodeling and recovery from heart failure. These studies will be performed in Dr. Sarah Franklin’s lab in collaboration with lab of Dr. Stavros Drakos, who recently joined CVRTI.
T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant for Chao Huang, PhD
Chao Huang, PhD was awarded a T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant. He will work on translating fiber-optics confocal microscopy for diagnosis of atrial fibrosis. The studies will be performed in Dr. Frank Sachse’s laboratory and in collaboration with Dr. Nassir Marrouche, Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research & Management (CARMA) Center, University of Utah Health Sciences.
Congratulations to Sarah Franklin, PhD, recognized by Utah Business as one of Utah's best and brightest
Sarah Franklin - 40 Under 40
Sarah Franklin, PhD (Cardiovascular) will be recognized by Utah Business as one of Utah's best and brightest through their annual Forty Under 40 program which honors Utah’s up-and-coming professionals rising through the ranks at record speed. Dr. Franklin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah with a research laboratory in the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute. She received her PhD from Brigham Young University and then received postdoctoral training at UCLA in the department of Anesthesiology. Her research interests focus on understanding how the packaging of DNA around nucleosomes influences specific patterns of gene expression and how this packaging is modulated during disease to alter transcriptional activity. In addition to the works she does at the University of Utah she is involved in the community, supporting humanitarian service projects through her nonprofit, Hope Worldwide Utah, where volunteers work with refugees in Greece. She is also a dedicated, caring mentor to the many trainees in her lab who rave about the individual attention and support she gives them.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Award for Jordon Johnson
Jordon Johnson, an Bioengineering undergraduate student in Dr. Frank Sachse’s laboratory, was recently awarded in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to study transient receptor potential canonical channels in the heart. He will investigate the location and function of the channels in the normal and diseased heart.
Keiko Cawley was recently awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
Keiko Cawley, an undergraduate student in Dr. Junco Warren’s lab, was recently awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to study the role of the histone methyltransferase Smyd1 in the diabetic heart. In this project, she will study the expression and cellular localization of Smyd1 and the mechanisms by which Smyd1 regulates gene expression of key metabolic regulators in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes.
Amira Sabry was awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
Amira Sabry, an undergraduate student in Dr. Junco Warren’s lab, was recently awarded an assistantship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to study the role of Smyd1 in cardiac metabolism. In this project, she will study the expression and cellular localization of the histone methyltransferase Smyd1 under metabolic stress, to seek for the mechanisms by which Smyd1 transcriptionally regulates metabolism.
Natalia Torres was appointed in June 2016 as Senior Chair of the Utah Postdoctoral Association
Natalia Torres, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. John Bridge’s lab at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI), was appointed in June 2016 as Senior Chair of the Utah Postdoctoral Association (UPDA). The UPDA, a chapter of the National Postdoctoral Association, is an independent advocacy organization established and operated by postdocs at the University of Utah. The UPDA, in conjunction with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, promotes postdocs’ professional and social development by organizing activities like a monthly Lunch & Learn series, an annual Postdoc Appreciation Day and a Summer BBQ.