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Pharm-Tox Lab Has Outstanding Showing at AHA Meeting

Ji Li and students at AHA meeting.

At the AHA’s 2011 Scientific Sessions are, from left to right: Alex Morrison-Nozik, Robert Costa, Ji Li, Xiaoyan Yan and Chao Tong.

Published January 24, 2012

Three PhD students and a recent postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ji Li, PhD, presented their research at the world’s largest and most prestigious heart research meeting.

“The AHA receives more than 10,000 abstracts every year for the Scientific Sessions but accepts only 30 percent of them.”
Ji Li, PhD
Assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology

The group had a total of six abstracts—three oral presentations and three poster presentations—accepted for the American Heart Association’s 2011 Scientific Sessions.

 “The AHA receives more than 10,000 abstracts every year for the Scientific Sessions but accepts only 30 percent of them,” said Li, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

“This was a great achievement for my students.”

PhD candidates Alex Morrison-Nozik, Robert Costa and Chao Tong presented at the Nov. 12-16 conference in Orlando, Fla., along with Xiaoyan Yan, PhD, now an associate professor at China’s Shanxi Normal University.

PhD Student Presents Findings in Hot Topics Session

Among the group’s notable achievements, Morrison-Nozik gave an oral presentation at the meeting’s Hot Topics session, an extremely competitive category that is chaired by some of the country’s most esteemed cardiac researchers and devoted exclusively to highly innovative research.

During a standing-room-only presentation, Morrison-Nozik shared his work identifying a new modulator involved in regulating a well-known cardioprotective signaling pathway.

“For the first time, Alex reported that this scaffold protein, called ‘Sestrin2,’ is an important factor protecting against ischemic heart disease,” Li explained, adding that several investigators congratulated him on Morrison-Nozik’s finding as well as the group’s advances in understanding signaling mechanisms.

“I always encourage trainees in my lab to present their research at this meeting,” Li said. “It’s important for them to get positive feedback for their work and to further their careers by interacting with this larger community of heart researchers.”

One of Li’s former students, Jingying Wang, PhD ’11, presented her research at four such meetings when she was in his lab, receiving a young investigators travel award from the AHA to attend in 2010. Wang is now a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School.