Miami CTSI

Diversity Supplement Award Extends Areas of Investigation for Faculty’s Funded RO1


Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), and Miami CTSI Eureka Translational Medicine Program graduate, recently was awarded a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) diversity supplement award to her funded NHLBI RO1 grant.

The supplement provides two years and $200K of support for Julian Dunkley, M.D., to work as a full-time postdoctoral fellow in Shehadeh’s lab at the Miller School’s ISCI. Its aim is to help develop research careers and improve participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences.

Under her RO1 grant, Shehadeh’s research studies the role of Osteopontin in mitochondrial function in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) in cardiorenal syndrome.
Dunkley will extend the aim of the original parent grant and further investigate

  • HFpEF in black strain mice, which survive longer in the presence of kidney and heart failure and, thus, be closer to the clinical phenotype that progresses slowly
  • The relationship between obesity and HFpEF by inducing obesity in the mice, using a high-fat diet and monitoring their heart function

“This supplement allows me to make valuable contributions to my field by bringing a different perspective and new ideas,” says Dunkley. “I’ll be able to gain valuable research experience and learn more about HFpEF while adapting to the American research environment.”

Dunkley was born in Jamaica and obtained his MBBS degree (the equivalent of U.S. medical degree) from the University of the West Indies in 2016. Dunkley learned of Shehadeh’s research while participating in a Cardiology observership in August of 2018 as part of the University of Miami’s Global Observership Program/William J. Harrington Medical Training Program. Dunkley’s medical background and interest in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction made him a natural addition to Shehadeh’s team.

“This supplement will assist me in achieving my goals and prepare me for future research pursuits during medical residency, fellowship and onwards,” says Dunkley.

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