UAB doctoral students receive two-year fellowships from the American Heart Association

Bracamonte, Sun and Wang received two-year fellowships from the American Heart Association for their research within the department of biomedical engineering.

Johane Bracamonte 3Johane Bracamonte, Ph.D.Three University of Alabama at Birmingham students have been awarded two-year fellowships from the American Heart Association. Johane Bracamonte, Ph.D., a postdoctoral trainee, and doctoral students Jiacheng “Jason” Sun, M.D., and Meimei Wang are all affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Bracamonte, a native of Barquisimeto City, Venezuela, is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Bracamonte received a postdoctoral fellowship for his work into developing fast-computing multiscale models to predict the remodeling of cardiac tissue following an injury or a medical treatment.

“I believe the future of health care relies on incorporating computational tools to personalize medical diagnosis, prognosis and treatment planning,” Bracamonte said. “We hypothesize that individualized computational models have the potential to improve the outcomes of cardiac resynchronization therapy by enabling virtual treatment planning.”

Bracamonte feels he is inspired by the amazing minds that have assumed the challenge of pushing the limits of biomechanics and biomedical engineering. Bracamonte works as a researcher in the laboratory of School of Engineering Dean Jeff Holmes, M.D.

 DSC6984 43Jiacheng “Jason” Sun, M.D.“UAB is a thriving research environment,” Bracamonte said. “Here, I’ve found all the resources and support to pursue my postdoctoral training, establish interesting research collaborations, and foster my general growth as a professional and individual.”

Sun, a native of Xi’an City, China, is a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student who received a predoctoral fellowship to support his research into myocardial regeneration.

“I was very excited to receive this fellowship,” Sun said. “It’s very humbling and validating, and it feels like all my work has paid off.”

Sun’s research took a cutting-edge technology called Cardiomyocyte Specific Modified mRNA Translation system, or CM SMRTs, to transiently and exclusively overexpress their candidate gene hPKM2 into the cardiomyocyte in the myocardial infarcted large mammal.

“We hope that our novel therapy will provide a promising method to remuscularize the injured heart after myocardial infarction and could be translated into clinical study in the future,” Sun said. “My mentor Jianyi Zhang, M.D., has instructed me and offered me much support and resources through the conceiving and design of this proposal.”

Meimei Wang photo1Meimei WangWang, a native of Tai’an, China, is a biomedical sciences Ph.D. student who received a predoctoral fellowship for her research into direct cardiac reprogramming. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and Wang’s research seeks to understand the potential role of histone acetylation regulation in the direct cardiac reprogramming process. Wang works in the lab of BME Assistant Professor Yang Zhou, Ph.D.

“The objective is to explore how ELMSAN1 regulates direct cardiac reprogramming through complex formation with these two other proteins,” Wang said. “Throughout our mentorship, Dr. Zhou has provided me with invaluable guidance, support, and opportunities that have helped me grow both personally and professionally. Her insights and encouragement have been instrumental in my development. UAB provides an excellent research environment and emphasizes the importance of innovation, discovery and knowledge dissemination. These aspects of academic research have helped prepare me for opportunities like the AHA fellowship.”