Women's Leadership Committee Members

WLC Chair

Elena AikawaElena Aikawa, MD, PhD, FAHA

Dr. Elena Aikawa is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Co-director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences, Founding Director of the Heart Valve Translational Research Program and Associate Head of Section of Cardiovascular Life Sciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Boston, USA.

Dr. Aikawa is a passionate advocate for the early imaging and treatment of calcific aortic valve disease. Her Research Program focuses on the development of new therapies to prevent and treat calcific aortic valve stenosis, a disease that currently has no treatment options other than valve replacement. She was at the forefront in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiovascular calcification. Her studies contributed to the discovery of calcifying extracellular vesicles as a precursor of microcalcification. More recently she used systems approaches to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Dr. Aikawa has been a member of the Working Group on Calcific Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Alliance of Investigators on Calcific Aortic Valve Disease of the National Institutes of Health. She holds editorial positions at the Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research and ATVB. Dr. Aikawa has delivered more than 180 invited talks and has authored more than 230 articles. Her research program has been continuously supported by NIH funding.

In addition to her strong interest in cardiovascular research, she also enjoys educating and mentoring young scientists. Throughout her career, she has trained more than 50 research fellows, medical students, and PhD candidates. Dr. Aikawa remains committed to advancing the careers of women in science and medicine. She cofounded the BWH Committee for Internationally Trained Women Faculty in 2004 and founded the annual Women in Medicine and Science Symposium at BWH in 2012. In 2016, Dr. Aikawa was elected as President of the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB). She served as the society’s first female president until May 2021. She has been a member of the ATVB WLC since 2016 and currently serves as Chair.

WLC Vice Chair

Hanrui ZhangHanrui Zhang, MB, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences
Cardiometabolic Genomics Program, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
New York, N.Y.

Dr. Hanrui Zhang is a macrophage biologist. She received her medical degree at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and PhD degree in Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Missouri (MU). She received post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. Her training has been funded by the American Heart Association (AHA) predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship, and the NHLBI Pathway-to-Independence Award (K99/R00). Since 2018, Dr. Zhang has been an Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The main areas of research in her laboratory include: (1) Functional genomics and mechanistic studies of candidate genes and genetic variants inspired by human genome-wide association studies of cardiometabolic traits; (2) Unbiased CRISPR screening to discover novel regulators of macrophage function, in particular macrophage efferocytosis, and investigate their roles in atherosclerosis; (3) Disease modeling and functional genomic studies in human iPSC-derived macrophages. The long-term goal of her laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms and therapeutic implications of macrophage heterogeneity and plasticity in cardiometabolic diseases. She has been an AHA member since 2007 and is a former member of the ATVB Early Career Committee (2012-2016). She joined the ATVB Women’s Leadership Committee in 2016 and is now serving as the Vice-Chair of the committee. She is the 2020 Irvine H. Page Junior Faculty Research Award Winner (sponsored by the AHA ATVB council).

WLC Immediate Past Chair

Isbella GrumbachIsabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, FAHA

Professor, Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center, Departments of Internal Medicine and Radiation Oncology,
Vice-Chair for Research, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Iowa City, Iowa

Isabella graduated from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) before training in Cardiology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany). She came to the US to pursue a career as physician/scientist and completed clinical training at Cook-County-Hospital and Emory University and postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois and Emory University.

Her VA- and NIH-funded research focuses on mitochondrial biology, calcium- and ROS-dependent pathway in models of vascular injury and hypertension. Isabella has been a member of the American Heart Association since 2002 and has been involved in various AHA activities from grant review to national advocacy. Since she has been supported by the AHA at various career stages, she would like to give back by helping other women scientists and clinicians attain their fullest potential. She has been a member of the WLC since 2014 and currently serves as Vice-Chair. She is also an active clinician and attends on inpatient services and in the echocardiography laboratory at VA Medical Center and the University of Iowa Hospital.

WLC Members

Zhen ChenZhen Chen, BM, PhD

Zhen Bouman Chen, B.Med., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism and a faculty member of Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope, California. She completed her medical training in Basic Medical Sciences from Peking University Health Science Center, China and pursued her PhD study in mechanosensing and vascular biology at University of California Riverside (UCR). Dr. Chen continued her research as a postdoctoral fellow at Academia Sinica in Taiwan, UCR, and UC San Diego, which was funded by American Heart Association (AHA) and a Pathway-to-Independence K99 award from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Since 2016, Dr. Chen joined City of Hope as Assistant Professor and has built a robust research program focused on noncoding RNAs and endothelial stress response. Her team integrates innovative high-throughput sequencing technologies, bioinformatics approaches, and multi-scale models to elucidate RNA-mediated endothelial biology in the context of diabetes. Her studies have continuously been funded by NIH, the Chan Zuckerberg and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundations.

Dr. Chen was a finalist for ATVB Junior Investigator Award for Women and a recipient of the New Investigator Award from American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section and Springer Junior Investigator Award from North American Vascular Biology Organization. She has been a member of AHA since 2011 and has been actively involved in ATVB Council activities. She is passionate about mentorship of trainees from high school students to postdoctoral scholars, peer support for fellow researchers, as well as scientific outreach. She is committed to advancing the careers of women in science and medicine.

Gabrielle FredmanGabrielle Fredman, PhD

Gabrielle Fredman received a PhD from Boston University in 2009. She then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School to study the chemical biology of lipid mediators in the resolution of inflammation. Dr. Fredman carried out a second post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University where she investigated the actions of pro-resolving lipid mediators in atherosclerosis. Dr. Fredman was a recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Eicosanoid Research Foundation and was a finalist for the Irvine Page Award in 2016. Dr. Fredman is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Albany Medical College. Her research interests include uncovering mechanisms associated with defective resolution of inflammation in atherosclerosis and aging, with a focus on pro-resolving lipid mediator signaling and macrophage biology.

Delphine GomezDelphine Gomez, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine – Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Principal Investigator, Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Dr. Delphine Gomez received her master’s and PhD degrees in Physiology and Cell Biology from the University Paris Diderot, France. For her postdoctoral training, she joined Dr. Gary K. Owens’s laboratory at the University of Virginia to work on SMC plasticity in atherosclerosis. She identified a stable chromatin signature of the vascular smooth muscle cell lineage. Dr. Gomez developed an innovative method, named ISH-PLA, to detect histone modifications at defined genomic loci in single cells in histological tissue sections, allowing investigation of epigenetic mechanisms in archived specimens (Nature Methods 2013, PMID: 23314172). She also participated in a series of projects reevaluating the contribution of vascular smooth muscle cells in the development and progression of atherosclerosis and highlighting their remarkable plasticity (Nature Medicine 2015, PMID: 25985364; Nature Medicine 2016, PMID: 27183216; Nature Medicine 2018, PMID: 30038218). During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Gomez was recognized for her accomplishments by receiving a Scientific Development Grant for the American Heart Association (2015). She was also awarded the New Investigator Award from the Histochemical Society (2014) and the Junior Investigator Award for Women from the ATVB Women’s Leadership Committee (2015).

Dr. Gomez joined the University of Pittsburgh as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, and a primary Faculty of the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute in 2017. Dr. Gomez has developed an NIH-funded research program focused on investigating the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms in controlling vascular development and vascular smooth muscle cell dysfunction in cardiovascular disease.

Ngan HuangNgan Huang, PhD

Ngan F. Huang, BS, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University and Principal Investigator at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. Dr. Huang completed her BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a PhD in bioengineering from the University of California Berkeley & University of California San Francisco Joint Program in Bioengineering. Prior to joining the faculty, she was a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University. Her laboratory investigates the interactions between pluripotent/multipotent stem cells and their extracellular matrix microenvironment for engineering cardiovascular tissues to treat cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases. She has active or completed projects funded by the NIH, NSF, AHA, Department of Defense, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and Department of Veteran Affairs.

Patricia K. Nguyen, MDPatricia Nguyen, MD

Dr. Patricia Nguyen, MD is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University. She earned her medical degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed her internal medicine training at New Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia Medical Center). She completed her cardiology and advanced imaging training at Stanford University. Her lab focuses on applying single cell technologies, advanced imaging, and computational biology to better understand the relationship between the adaptive immune system and the development of atherosclerosis.

Mireille Ouimet, PhD

Scientist and Director of Cardiovascular Metabolism and Cell Biology Laboratory, University of Ottawa Heart Institute; Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Mireille Ouimet is a Scientist and Director of Cardiovascular Metabolism and Cell Biology Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Ottawa.

Mireille obtained her BSc and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University. Her research program aims to determine the role of autophagy in macrophage foam cell metabolism, inflammation and cholesterol trafficking and its linkage to the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Mireille is a member of the ATVB Early Career Committee and serves as the liaison to the WLC.

Nadia SuttonNadia Sutton, MD, MPH

Nadia Sutton, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Section of Interventional Cardiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Sutton’s clinical interest is in the management of complex coronary artery disease of older patients. Dr. Sutton performs translational research on the biology of vascular aging, specifically vascular calcification, supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging and the American Heart Association. Dr. Sutton serves on a number of national committees and boards, including the American Heart Association (AHA) Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB) Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC), the AHA Taskforce on Data Standards Committee, and the AHA Committee on Scientific Sessions Program.