Khalid El Saafien, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the department of pharmacodynamics, and Earl Morris, Pharm.D., M.P.H., a fourth-year graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, were recently awarded fellowships from the American Heart Association.
Dr. Khalid El Saafien awarded American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship
Khalid El Saafien, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the department of pharmacodynamics in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, has been awarded a two-year, $151,000 postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. The fellowship will fund studies that examine a novel approach to lower blood pressure in hypertension. It will allow El Saafien to investigate the role a population of neurons play in reducing blood pressure in hypertension to develop effective pharmacological therapies to target them in hypertension.
“This fellowship is a stepping stone in my academic career,” El Saafien said. “It will allow me to begin investigating my research interests independently and develop my direction in research.”
El Saafien is interested in understanding cardiovascular physiology and disease to develop effective anti-hypertensive therapies. He is particularly interested in investigating the role the brain plays in regulating blood pressure. His mentors include Eric Krause, Ph.D., an associate professor and the Debbie DeSantis Excellence Professor in the UF College of Pharmacy and Annette de Kloet, Ph.D., an assistant professor in UF College of Medicine.
Graduate student Earl Morris awarded American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship
Earl Morris, Pharm.D., M.P.H., a fourth-year graduate student in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been awarded a one-year fellowship from the American Heart Association, or AHA. The predoctoral fellowship award provides more than $32,000 in annual funding to support Morris’ research related to cardiovascular disease.
Morris will study the link between xanthine oxidase inhibitors, or XOIs, and heart disease. These drugs are often used by patients with gout to reduce disease symptoms, but their role in the development of heart disease remains poorly understood. Morris will use Medicare data and trajectory modeling tools to assess adherence issues with XOIs and study usage patterns among patients. His findings will help clinicians and researchers understand the link between XOIs and heart disease and target interventions to improve the way patients take these drugs.
“I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship,” Morris said. “The AHA award will benefit my career by providing advanced training, enhancing my research productivity and developing my technical skills in a research area that explore the connections between rheumatological treatments and heart disease.”
Morris is mentored by Steven Smith, Pharm.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and Wei-Hsuan “Jenny” Lo-Ciganic, Ph.D., M.S., M.S.Pharm., an associate professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. After graduation, he wants to pursue a tenure-track academic faculty position and continue to research rheumatological treatments and heart disease.