Beginning in the 1940s, the cardiovascular center at BUMC has been at the forefront of research and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In 1974, the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute (WCVI) was established, dedicated to U.A. and Helen Whitaker, to foster advances in research, education, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In 1979, in collaboration with the Framingham Heart Study, key risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease were identified. For further information about the WCI, please see: http://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm-wci/
The Ruth Kirschstein Fellowship at the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute’s Training Program
Educational programs, particularly in research training of both pre- and postdoctoral fellow, are consistent with the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute’s mission to further the conquest of cardiovascular disease through the preparation of research leaders. Faculties at the Institute organized and teach a graduate course in Cardiovascular Biology under the direction of Dr. Vasillis Zannis. In addition, Institute investigators participate annually in more than 100 continuing education programs for physicians and other health professionals.
Now in its 36th year, the NIH-sponsored Basic Science Cardiovascular Postdoctoral Training Program, under the direction of Dr. Victoria Bolotina, offers research training in hypertension, atherosclerosis, and ischemic heart disease. Central to the training premise is the in-depth laboratory experience that trainees undergo, directly supervised by one of the Institute’s senior scientists. This single program has graduated 140 fellows, most of whom currently hold academic positions. The environment is keen, fostering scientific interchange among fellows and preceptors; trainees remain for several years of training. From the standpoint of quality of faculty, of the faculty’s well-funded support, and of trainee productivity in publication and in grant submission, the record of success is clear. Another measure of success, the proportion of physician scientists vs. postdoctoral scientists trained, is high (63 percent), as is the frequency with which physicians who are trained here remain in research. There is also a predoctoral training grant in cardiovascular biology was awarded under the direction of Dr. Katya Ravid.
Basic science training opportunities include hands-on training in the pathophysiology of hypertension; cellular and molecular biology of the arterial wall; lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis; pathobiology of ischemic heart disease; pathobiology of thrombosis; and contractile mechanisms in vascular tissue. Other pre- and postdoctoral research training programs, including the highly successful M.D./Ph.D. training program and the Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine are also present within the Institute. An NIH-sponsored predoctoral training grant in cardiovascular biology was recently awarded under the direction of Dr. Katya Ravid. These programs offer training in cardiovascular biochemistry and biophysics.