Physiologist to Lead U Cardiovascular Institute

Physiologist to Lead U Cardiovascular Institute

Nov 10, 2003 5:00 PM

Kenneth W. Spitzer, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, has been named director of the school's Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI).

The appointment of Spitzer, who has conducted research and taught medical students and graduate students at CVRTI and the University for 24 years, was approved by the University Board of Trustees on Nov. 10. The appointment is retroactive to Oct. 1.

Spitzer's research focuses on cardiac cellular electrophysiology--how heart cells generate electricity--and pH regulation in the heart. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently honored him with a prestigious MERIT Award (Method to Extend Research In Time) when it renewed his research grant for five years. The award recognizes superior work and will provide five additional years of funding, resulting in a total of 24 years of continuous NIH support for his cardiac pH research.

An NIH program director nominated him for the MERIT Award.

Maxwell M. Wintrobe, M.D., founded CVRTI in 1969, and in 1974 Nora Eccles Harrison and Richard A. Harrisonbegan their long-term generous support of the Institute. Today, CVRTI is funded primarily by the NIH and the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation and employs approximately 40 people, including 10 investigators.

The primary focus of CVRTI research is cardiac electrophysiology and ion transport, with investigative expertise ranging from the molecular level to the whole heart. Specific research areas include: structural and functional properties of single ion channels, cellular electrophysiology, excitation-contraction coupling, regulation of intracellular pH and calcium, tissue and organ-level electrophysiology, and computational modeling.

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