Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB)—Women's Leadership Committee Members

WLC Chair

Vasanthy ‘Vas’ Narayanaswami, PhDVasanthy ‘Vas’ Narayanaswami, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, California State University Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif.

Vas obtained her BSc in Chemistry from University of Madras and PhD in Chemistry (Biochemistry) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India. She did her post doctoral work as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany, and at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. She is currently a Biochemistry faculty at Cal State Long Beach and holds an adjunct position at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Oakland, CA.

Vas’ research interest is focused on the structural and functional analysis of apolipoprotein E, and its role in oxidative stress, cardiovascular/cerebrovascular disease, and nanomedicine applications. She is actively involved in increasing diversity in biomedical research and maximizing access to research careers. Vas has been a member of the ATVB Council since 2001; a member of the ATVB WLC since 2013; has served on the AHA Cell Transport, Physiology & Metabolism Peer Review Committee, and is a member of the AHA ATVB Diversity Committee.

WLC Vice Chair

Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, FAHAIsabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, FAHA

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, 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 calcium- and ROS-dependent pathway in endothelium and smooth muscle and mitochondrial biology in vascular injury models. 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 Immediate Past Chair

Daisy Sahoo, PhDDaisy Sahoo, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Center, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW)
Milwaukee, Wis.

Daisy received her BSc(Hon) in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta (Canada). Her research focuses on SR-BI-mediated delivery of HDL-cholesterol, reverse cholesterol transport and scavenger receptor biology in atherosclerosis.  She plays an active role in graduate and medical student education.  She is the Chair of MCW’s Research Affairs Committee. Having served as Chair of MCW’s Women’s Faculty Council, Daisy works closely with MCW Leadership to help develop programs that promote career advancement, faculty retention and promotion, as well as leadership opportunities for women faculty. Daisy is also a member of the ATVB Communications/Membership Committee and previously served on the ATVB Early Career Committee.

WLC Members

Elena Aikawa, PhD, MDElena Aikawa, PhD, MD

Director, Vascular Biology Program;
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Boston, Mass.

Dr. Elena Aikawa is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Director of the Vascular Biology Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CICS) and the founding Director of the Heart Valve Translational Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Aikawa’s primary research emphasis is on the development of new therapies to prevent, treat and cure calcific aortic valve stenosis, a disease that currently has no treatment options except invasive valve replacement. She has remained a pioneer in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiac valve calcification, and has advocated for the early imaging and treatment of calcific aortic valve disease. Her recent studies focus on the formation of extracellular vesicle-derived microcalcifications.

Dr. Aikawa is a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on Calcific Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Alliance of Investigators on Calcific Aortic Valve Disease. She holds editorial board member positions at PLoS ONE, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, Circulation Research and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Dr. Aikawa has delivered more than 100 keynote lectures, invited talks and cardiovascular grand rounds, and authored 170 manuscripts on cardiovascular pathobiology.

Dr. Aikawa remains committed to advancing the careers of women in science and medicine. She cofounded the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Committee for Internationally Trained Women Faculty in 2004, and established the annual Women in Medicine and Science Symposium at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2012. Dr. Aikawa is a member of the American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Women’s Leadership Committee. She is a president of the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB).

Hong Chen, PhDHong Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School
Boston, Mass.

Hong is a Principal Investigator in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She completed her PhD and received exceptional postdoctoral training from Dr. Pietro De Camilli, a world-class premier cell biologist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University. She developed a groundbreaking research program based on her discovery of a family of founding endocytic adaptor proteins, epsins, which resulted in a landmark publication in Nature. The discovery of epsins has opened brand new avenues for her exciting research program, which has been represented in several prestigious manuscripts including Nature and PNAS (Chen, et al. Nature, 1998, Chen, et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2003, 2005 and 2009).

Cynthia St. Hilaire, PhDCynthia St. Hilaire, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology and the Vascular Medicine Institute University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Cindy received her BS in Molecular Genetics from the University of Vermont and PhD in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine. She did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Manfred Boehm at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute where her studies focused on the mechanisms regulating vascular remodeling processes. While in the Boehm lab she and colleagues at the NHLBI and NHGRI discovered the rare disease, Arterial Calcification due to Deficiency of CD73. She joined the University of Pittsburgh in July 2015 and her research focuses on characterizing the mechanisms underlying non-atherosclerotic vascular calcification and calcific aortic valve disease. Cindy is a member of the ATVB Early Career Committee and serves as the liaison to the WLC.

Sumitra Miriyala, PhDSumitra Miriyala, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, LSU Health Sciences Center
Shreveport, La.

Dr. Miriyala’s research involves evaluating genetic abnormalities of antioxidant enzymes, the mechanisms regulating gene expression and the impact these alterations have on the ability of humans to cope with oxidative stress. Her research focuses are on the novel mechanism by which oxidative stress activates mitochondrial retrograde signaling in cardiac tissues under life and death conditions.

Elizabeth Tarling, PhDElizabeth Tarling, PhD

Assistant Professor, UCLA Division of Cardiology
Los Angeles, Calif.

Liz obtained her Bsc in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry from the University of Nottingham (UK) and her PhD in Biomedical Science also from the University of Nottingham (UK). She did her post doctoral work at the University of California Los Angeles, where she now holds an Assistant Professor position. Her research is focused on understanding the regulation of lipid metabolism, inflammation, atherosclerosis and innate immunity.

Hong Wang, MD, PhD, EMBAHong Wang, MD, PhD, EMBA

Director, Center for Metabolic Disease Research;
Associate Dean for Research;
Laura H. Carnell Professor; Professor of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine
Philadelphia, Pa.

Dr. Hong Wang received her medical training from JinagXi Medical School, an MS degree from Peking Union Medical University, a PhD degree in Biochemistry from University of Montreal, and an EMBA degree from Fox Business School in Temple University. She did her post-doctoral fellowship in Harvard School of Public Health and had the first faculty position in Baylor College of Medicine.

She is the Director for the Center for Metabolic Disease Research and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Pharmacology in Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her research focuses on identifying biochemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for metabolic disorders, including hyperhomocysteinemia, diabetes and hyperlipidemia-induced cardiovascular disease.

Hanrui Zhang PhDHanrui Zhang, PhD

Associate Research Scientist, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Columbia University Medical Center
New York, N.Y.

Hanrui obtained her medical degree from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and her PhD in Physiology & Pharmacology from the University of Missouri (MU). She did her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She is now an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University.

She is interested in the mechanisms of cardiometabolic diseases with a particular focus on functional genomics of cardiometabolic disease GWAS loci, macrophage biology, and the genetic and molecular mechanisms that connect lipid metabolism to chronic inflammation in the broad area of human cardiometabolic diseases. She is currently funded by an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.