Kedar Aras, PhD, has received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) as an outstanding postdoctoral researcher to help him complete the needed mentoring and training to transition to an independent, tenure-track faculty position. This is a highly prestigious award offered to promising individuals at early stages in their career who wish to become independent investigators. The award is a five-year grant where two years are spent as a postdoc and three years as an assistant tenure-track faculty member. Dr. Aras will receive $1 Million over the five year period to support his research and for starting his own lab. His research is focused on how cardiac obesity promotes ventricular arrhythmias. Aras is the first individual to receive this award in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at GWU.
Dr. Aras is currently a postdoctoral scientist training in the lab of Igor Efimov, PhD, Alisann and Terry Collins Professor of Biomedical Engineering. His research project will investigate the role of epicardial adiposity in promoting ventricular arrhythmias. In particular, he will investigate how epicardial adipose tissue paracrine signaling makes obese hearts more vulnerable to arrhythmias. He will also obtain specialized training in bioinformatics and adipocyte tissue biology. The long-term goal of his research is to explore mechanisms of obesity mediated conduction and rhythm disorders using multiscale and multimodal approach as well as develop and validate novel diagnostic tools and strategies for effective therapy of these diseases.
His mentors on this research are: Prof. Igor Efimov (George Washington University), Prof. Keith Crandall (George Washington University), Prof. Rong Li (George Washington University), Prof. Mark Anderson (Johns Hopkins University), Prof. John Rogers (Northwestern University), Prof. Bjorn Knollmann (Vanderbilt University), Prof. Kalyanam Shivkumar (University of California Los Angeles) and Prof. Richard Schuessler (Washington University Saint Louis).