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Cardiologist Receives Early Career Award from Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Aarif Khakoo, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cardiology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, has been awarded a Physician-Scientist Early Career Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Early Career Award program provides $375,000 over five years to promising physician-scientists who are launching their careers at academic medical centers. Khakoo’s award is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s investment of $7.5 million this year to ensure that young investigators have adequate resources to fund their research.

Khakoo will apply his award to studying the damaging effects of novel chemotherapy agents on cancer patients’ hearts. As a cardiologist at M. D. Anderson, Khakoo has observed that some patients who are treated with a class of promising cancer drugs called receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors often develop debilitating heart disease. His research will explore at the basic level what mechanisms might trigger the cardiomyopathy.

Only alumni of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Training Fellowship or Howard Hughes Medical Institute – National Institutes of Health Research Scholars Program may apply for the prestigious program. Khakoo was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow while a medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“I am very pleased and proud that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is continuing to support my research and career development,” said Khakoo. “The infusion of this seed money is vital to young investigators who have innovative ideas.”

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a not-for-profit research organization that ranks as one of the nation’s largest philanthropies. In the past two decades, the institute has invested more than $8.3 billion for the support, training and education of the nation’s most promising scientists.


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