AHA 2016: Elizabeth M McNally wins AHA prize for research into genetic flaws responsible for inherited human disorders including heart failure

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New Orleans, LA - AHA 2016 Scientific Sessions - Awardees and leadership in the green room during the Opening Session here today, Sunday November 13, 2016 at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions being held here at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. Scientific Sessions is the leading cardiovascular meeting for basic, translational, clinical and population science, in the United States, with more than 19,000 cardiovascular experts from over 105 countries attending the meeting. Photo by © AHA/Todd Buchanan 2016, Opening Session, Sunday
Elizabeth M McNally (Courtesy of AHA)

The American Heart Association (AHA) awarded its Basic Research Prize for 2016 to Elizabeth M McNally (Chicago, USA) for “Ground-breaking investigations of novel genetic mechanisms responsible for inherited human disorders including heart failure, cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy, arrhythmias and aortic aneurysms.” 

McNally who is Elizabeth J Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine and professor and director, Division of Cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, USA, received the prize on during the opening of 2016 AHA scientific sessions (12–16 November, New Orleans, USA).  AHA president Steven Houser (Temple University in Philadelphia, USA) presented the prize, a citation and US$5,000 honorarium for outstanding achievement in basic cardiovascular science.

Houser said McNally is recognised for her integration of molecular and cellular biology with genetically engineered models of disease and human genomics, leading to the discovery of novel mechanisms of disease and the identification of new therapeutic targets.

“Importantly, her laboratory created the first genetically engineered model of cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy,” Houser said. “This model closely parallels what is seen in humans with the same mutation.”  McNally’s group also has generated several other animal models with a similar constellation of heart and muscle disease, AHA’s president noted.

McNally has been honoured twice previously by the AHA, receiving both an Established Investigator Award and the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award.

“Clearly, Dr Elizabeth McNally is an extraordinary physician-scientist, educator and mission advocate,” Houser said. “Her highly promising studies hold great potential for making important inroads into the worldwide scourge of cardiovascular diseases.”