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Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute director appointed

The institute has done medical research in cardiovascular disease for more than five decades.

Robin M. Shaw, M.D., Ph.D.

Robin Mark Shaw, M.D., Ph.D., has been named director of the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute (CVRTI) at University of Utah Health. The institute has been at the forefront of medical research in cardiovascular disease for more than five decades, generously supported over these years by the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation, Nora Eccles Harrison and Richard A. Harrison.

The announcement was made by Michael L. Good, M.D., senior vice president at U of U Health, who said, “Dr. Shaw is one of the nation’s leading cardiologists and is recognized for his research in myocardial biology.  He brings to our campus potential for continuing the great legacy at CVRTI, which is to perform cutting edge research in the field of cardiac function at the basic and translational levels.” Shaw succeeds Kenneth Spitzer, Ph.D., who served as director since 2003.

Shaw comes to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles where he was a professor of medicine at UCLA and Wasserman Foundation Chair in Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. While there, his team defined the paradigm of Targeted Delivery, which describes how individual heart muscle cells maintain their internal organization, and how the organization is disrupted in cells of failing hearts.

“My goal for the CVRTI is to support and broaden its basic science focus as its primary mission,” Shaw said. “At the same time, given my background as a clinically active physician-scientist, we will also seek opportunities to translate our research into novel bench to bedside diagnostics and therapeutics. The myocardial recovery program already underway at the CVRTI is an excellent example of this type of translational effort.”

The CVRTI was established at University of Utah in 1969. The concept of a cardiovascular research institute was initiated and developed by the late Maxwell M. Wintrobe, M.D., former chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He served as the first director. Hundreds of publications and millions of dollars in grant funding have arisen from CVRTI investigations.

Through the generous financial support of Nora Eccles Harrison, Richard A. Harrison and the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation, the institute has been expanded since its founding.

“We are excited to have Dr. Shaw join CVRTI to carry on its important work,” said Spencer F. Eccles, chairman of the foundation. “He shares our commitment to support the next generation of scientists by providing mentoring and research training to enable students and faculty to pursue scientific careers in areas focused on understanding heart function and fighting heart disease.”