November 1, 2017

UAMS Hosts High School Students in American Heart Association Program

UAMS hosted the 2017-2018 American Heart Association (AHA) “Sweethearts” – 70 girls from high schools throughout central Arkansas – during two evenings in October.

AHA Sweethearts is a year-long program that introduces sophomore girls to the importance of heart health, the mission of the AHA, and the region’s investment into heart-related activities.

Kevin Phelan, Ph.D. with student and volunteer patient

Kevin Phelan, Ph.D., demonstrates the power of ultrasound technology to monitor heart function in a volunteer. The AHA Sweethearts were able to see the heart working as a pump with valves opening and closing to supply blood to the body.

At UAMS, the students were exposed to a range of research activities, with demonstrations focusing on protein engineering, clinical simulations, heart and kidney functions and cancer.

K.I. Varughese, Ph.D., observes student with microscope

K.I. Varughese, Ph.D., watches as a student explores the production of protein crystals as seen through a microscope, a first step in determining the 3-D structure of a protein.

UAMS organizers were former AHA Established Investigator Award recipients Jerry Ware, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Medicine Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Steve Post, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Pathology.

Other faculty participants included assistant professor Aime Franco, Ph.D., and professor K.I. Varughese, Ph.D., of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics; Nishank Jain, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Nephrology; and Kevin Phelan, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. James Marsh, M.D., Nolan Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, welcomed the students and stressed the importance of AHA-sponsored research to UAMS.

Ware, Post and Varughese have supported AHA research activities and have received AHA support in the past. Jain currently holds an AHA Scientist Development Award.