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The Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiovascular Center Appoints Postdoctoral Fellow to T32 Training Program

Milwaukee, April 28, 2022 – The Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) Cardiovascular Center has appointed Michelle L. Roberts, MS, PhD, as a postdoctoral trainee on the Cardiovascular Center’s National Institutes of Health T32 postdoctoral training program.

Dr. Michelle L. Roberts earned her Bachelor of Science from The University of Wisconsin-Parkside in biological sciences in 2008, followed by a Master of Science in 2015 in applied molecular biology. This past winter, she earned a PhD in physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin under the mentorship of Mingyu Liang, MB, PhD with a concentration in basic and translational sciences from the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Her dissertation focused on the epigenomics of hypertension. In January 2022, Dr. Roberts joined the laboratory of Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH, Northwestern Mutual Professor of Cardiology, associate director of the Cardiovascular Center at MCW, and member of the Cardiovascular Center’s Signature Program in Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. Dr. Roberts’ T32 project will investigate the role of the mitochondria in vascular endothelial dysfunction to aid in the development of a treatment to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients suffering from diabetes. With more than 500 million adults worldwide who are currently living with diabetes, it remains a global burden costing hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Those suffering often develop impairment of the functioning of the lining of the blood vessels, also known as vascular endothelial dysfunction, eventually leading to cardiovascular disease.

Building on excellence in cardiovascular research, the Cardiovascular Center’s T32 postdoctoral training program, “Training in Signature Transdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences,” is funded by a $1.6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that provides support for six postdoctoral training slots each year. The grant provides up to three years of training for appointed postdoctoral fellows in the Cardiovascular Center with an MD, PhD, PharmD, or DO degree. Complementary support for trainees is provided by a grant given to the Cardiovascular Center by the A. O. Smith Foundation for the A. O. Smith Fellowship Scholars Program, a program designed to support talented cardiovascular researchers and physicians to overcome the barriers that exist in launching and sustaining a successful research career.

The ultimate goal of this training program is to train the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and physicians, including underrepresented minorities, by incorporating broad-based, personalized, supportive, and rigorous training opportunities.

This impressive new appointee joins six other A.O. Smith Scholars in the Cardiovascular Center’s T32 postdoctoral training program, Tyler Buddell, PhD, Janée Terwoord, PhD, Sakthi Sundararajan, MD, MS, Joshua Nord, PhD, and Ryan Adam, PhD. Alumni of this program include Christine Klemens, PhD, research associate and NIH K99 award recipient at the University of South Florida, Jennifer Stancill, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and NIH K99 award recipient in the MCW Department of Biochemistry, Jing Liu, MBBS, PhD, staff scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Michael Flinn, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and NIH F32 award recipient in the MCW Department of Physiology, Moua Yang, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and recipient of a fundable score on an NIH K99 award at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, and Pablo Nakagawa, PhD, assistant professor and NIH K01 award recipient in the MCW Department of Physiology.

Ivor Benjamin, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Center at MCW and David Gutterman, MD, professor of medicine and senior associate director emeritus of the Cardiovascular Center at MCW, are co-directors. Mary Sorci-Thomas, PhD, professor of medicine and associate director of the Cardiovascular Center, is associate director.

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