FIU researcher Hooi Hooi Ng has been named the 2021 "Stop Heart Disease" Florida Heart Researcher of the Year by the Heart Research Foundation. The $50K award was presented at the annual meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando.
"I am very honored," said Ng. "The award money will allow us to continue our efforts to fight cardiovascular disease, specifically in the context of vascular calcification."
Ng's research interest focuses on finding treatments for vascular calcifications— common and potentially dangerous mineral deposits on the walls of blood vessels. There are no current drugs to prevent or treat vascular calcifications. And these calcifications can lead to heart disease, stroke, and renal (kidney) failure. They are most often found in older patients and people with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. There is still so much that we do not know about it," Ng said. "I hope to play a small part by contributing to the research with the goal of finding novel therapeutic targets and ultimately reducing the burden cardiovascular disease has impacted on our society. "
Less than a year ago, Ng, a postdoctoral fellow of the American Heart Association, also won the organization's prestigious Elaine W. Raines Early Career Investigator Award.
Ng's work is a collaboration across FIU's research community. She was a joint postdoctoral associate in the lab of Alexander Agoulnik at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Joshua Hutcheson at the College of Engineering and Computing's Department of Biomedical Engineering. All three scientists collaborate in the Biomolecular Sciences Institute (BSI)—a multidisciplinary consortium of FIU researchers housed in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. BSI is part of FIU's Translational Molecular Discoveries Emerging Preeminent Program.