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News Release

New data grants awarded to clinical and population researchers, computer engineers and computational biologists

08 November 2017 American Heart Association

Studies empower next generation of cardiovascular researchers to realize the promise of precision cardiovascular medicine

The American Heart Association Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced 13 grants awarded to scientists who are transforming a one-size-fits-all healthcare into a system that focuses on an individual’s unique needs through precision medicine. The competitive grants and fellowships total $2 million and are awarded to scientists with backgrounds in data science and computer engineering.

Grant recipients received credits to conduct computational analysis and store research data on the American Heart Association Precision Medicine Platform—a data marketplace that houses vast, diverse and previously siloed information, powered by the AWS cloud. The platform provides scientists from around the world easy access to store, share and analyze large datasets with the power of cloud computing to find new answers to accelerate breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and cures for heart disease and stroke.

The awards include data mining grants, methods validation grants, innovative development grants and cross-disciplinary fellowship awards.

The awardees for data mining grants are:

David Kao, M.D., University of Colorado, Denver, Project: Aggregating Data to Accelerate Personalization of the Treatment of Heart Failure (ADAPT-HF)
Jyotishman Pathak, Ph.D, Cornell University, Project: Data Element Mapping Recommender Service for Cardiovascular Disease Research Studies
Mintu Turakhia, M.D., MAS, Stanford University and VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Project: Machine and Deep Learning of Dense Patient Data to Improve Stroke Risk Stratification in Atrial Fibrillation
Hua Xu, Ph.D, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Project: Developing a data discovery index to facilitate precision medicine research in cardiovascular diseases
The awardees for innovative development grants are:

Simon Lin, M.D., MBA, Nationwide Children’s, Project: CardioGenomics eXchange commons: A cloud-based collaboration platform for the analysis /exchange of genome sequencing data
Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., University of Michigan, Project: AngioAid: A Fully Automated Computer-Based Platform for Interpreting Coronary Angiograms
The awardees for the data mining pilot grants are:

Westyn Branch-Elliman, M.D., Veterans Affairs, Boston, Project: Application of Advanced Medical Informatics to Improve Arrhythmia Care through Reduction of Cardiac Device Infections
Iftikhar Kullo, M.D., Mayo Clinic, Project: Using Big Data Analytics to Discover Pleiotropic Effects of Genes Regulating Lipid Metabolism
The fellowship awardees are:

Spiros Denaxas, Ph.D, University College London, Project: Using machine learning in large-scale EHR and genomics data to define and characterize heart failure phenotypes
James Cimino, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Project: Institutional Data Fellowship for translational and population based medicine
The awardees for methods validation grants are:

Rima Arnaout, M.D., UC San Francisco, Project: Deep Learning as a New Method for Echocardiographic Data Harmonization in the Cloud
Stacey Knight, Ph.D, Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute / Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Project: Pedigree Identification and Genetic Analysis Pipeline for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine: The PeGAsis Pipeline
Nina Paynter, Ph.D, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Project: Flexible Framework for Cardiovascular Risk Prediction in a Clinical Setting
“The American Heart Association’s mission to help cure cardiovascular disease through precision medicine is truly inspiring. I’m so excited that these worthy researchers will be able to take advantage of the immense computational and analytical power of the cloud to find specialized solutions to the number one cause of death worldwide,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector. “We are proud that AWS provides the technological foundation and high-performance computing necessary to facilitate AHA’s research projects and ultimately improve the lives of so many across the globe.”

“The collaboration between the Association and Amazon Web Services unites the global research community to accelerate discovery in cardiovascular and brain health and usher in a new era of tailored prevention and treatment that will help patients and lessen the global burden of cardiovascular disease,” said Jennifer Hall, Ph.D, Chief of the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. “We are excited by the possibilities from the awardees’ work as research and technology come together to deliver new insights.”

For more information on the Precision Medicine Platform, visit


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