Kheradvar Named a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences

Feb. 24, 2020  - UC Irvine’s Arash Kheradvar has been selected as a Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. With this award, Kheradvar, a professor of biomedical engineering, will lead research on mitochondrial transplantation in cardiac stem cells at the University of Eastern Finland during the summers of 2021 and 2022.

Kheradvar, an American Heart Association fellow who has both an M.D. and a Ph.D., conducts research in cardiovascular engineering with an emphasis on novel cardiac imaging technologies, cardiovascular system modeling and heart valve engineering.

At the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kheradvar will work with an extensive international network of partners in Europe and the U.S. focused on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. His new project will explore the feasibility of mitochondrial transplantation in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes of patients with mitochondrial disease.

Fulbright Finland, the University of Eastern Finland and the Saastamoinen Foundation together fund this Distinguished Chair award, which provides Kheradvar, as an American scholar, the opportunity to participate in international health sciences academic collaborations. During his stay, Kheradvar will collaborate more closely with Dr. Pasi Tavi, whose main research focus is on cellular and molecular physiology of the heart muscle cells, particularly on the adaptive processes in the cells during heart diseases and normal heart development, and on the interconnections between energy metabolism and cardiac-specific features.

Kheradvar says the award is important to him and his research: “Developing a standard method for transplanting mitochondria into cardiomyocytes is a revolutionary approach that may eventually contribute to using mitochondrial transplantation for cellular biotherapy in mitochondrial cardiomyopathy and other mitochondrial diseases.”

The Fulbright Finland Foundation promotes a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States. The private, independent, not-for-profit organization collaborates with a range of government, foundation, university and corporate partners on both sides of the Atlantic to design and manage study and research scholarships, leadership development programs and internationalization services.

– Lori Brandt

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