Yitschak Biton, M.D., a fellow in the Heart Research Follow-up Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center, won a Young Investigator Award at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session in Chicago earlier this week. Biton received third prize in the category “Molecular and Cellular Cardiology” for his research on long QT syndrome. The Young Investigator Awards are given annually to physicians, scientists and students in residency or fellowship programs who show great promise and represent the future of cardiac research.
Biton studies long QT syndrome type 3 (LQT3), a rare heart rhythm disorder that causes young people to die suddenly. Individuals with LQT3 have mutations in the sodium channels in their heart. Biton analyzed the function of these mutations – what they do to the heart – in close to 300 LQT3 patients. He found that some mutations put people at greater risk of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and sudden cardiac death, while other mutations render beta blockers (standard therapy for LQT3 patients) ineffective and potentially dangerous.
Wojciech Zareba, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Heart Research Follow-up Program, says that this research stands out because of its translational nature. In the future, it will help physicians appropriately tailor treatment for each patient based on the effect of his or her specific mutation, driving the use of personalized medicine in cardiology.
Working closely with Zareba, Arthur J. Moss, M.D., Coeli M. Lopes, Ph.D., Valentina Kutyifa, M.D., Ph.D., and other members of the Heart Research Follow-up team, Biton has published 12 studies throughout his fellowship. He credits his faculty mentors for his success and doesn’t believe that there is another cardiac research program where an individual can achieve so much in such a short period of time.
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The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s, pandemic influenza, and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes, and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region, and across the globe. To learn more, visit www.urmc.rochester.edu/research.