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CMS Early Career Committee

Mission : Promote early career advancement for individuals focusing on cardiac muscle physiology

Aims : 

1. Provide coordinated training to foster the development of trainees and early career individuals in the field of cardiac muscle physiology research

2. Promote collaborations and networking with established investigators in the field of cardiac muscle physiology research

3. Facilitate the dissemination of information for scientific advancement and career opportunities

Current activities : Early Career Presentations at the Annual CMS Meeting

Chair - Michelle Parvatiyar, PhD

Assistant Professor 
Nutrition and Integrative Physiology
Florida State University 
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Dr. Parvatiyar received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Miami School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. James D. Potter and her postdoctoral studies at UCLA. Dr. Parvatiyar received diverse training ranging from understanding regulation of the sarcomere to studying sarcolemma proteins in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In 2018, Dr. Parvatiyar joined Florida State University as an Assistant Professor and her independent research program is centered on investigating how sarcolemma remodeling impacts cardiac function. Her research goals include protection of the cardiac sarcolemma as well as investigating the primary inflammatory triggers that instigate acute or chronic cardiac dysfunction after cell integrity is breached. 


Vice Chair - Brett Colson, PhD

Assistant Professor 
Department of Cell and Molecular Medicine 
University of Arizona 
Tuscon, AZ

Dr. Colson is Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona. He earned his B.S. in Molecular Biology in 2004, and M.S./PhD in Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working with Professor Richard Moss through 2009. His thesis work used X-ray diffraction to study myocardial cross-bridge regulation by myosin-binding protein C. Dr. Colson pursued postdoctoral studies in biochemistry and biophysics working with Prof. David Thomas at the University of Minnesota, where he developed spectroscopic approaches for probing actin-myosin structural dynamics. At Arizona, Colson continues his focus on the molecular basis of contraction in healthy and diseased hearts.


Members :

Dave Barefield, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology

Loyola University Chicago

Maywood, IL

Dr. Dave Barefield is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago. Dave received his PhD at Loyola University Chicago under the mentorship of Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, and did his postdoctoral training at Northwestern University in the lab of Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD. His research interests have focused on myofilament function in genetic cardiomyopathies, and particularly the effect of environmental and genetic modifiers on the progression and severity of these disorders. The Barefield Lab opened at Loyola University Chicago in May 2020 and focuses on atrial myopathies and the roll of atrial dysfunction in common forms of cardiovascular disease.



Matthew A. Caporizzo, PhD

Assistant Professor
Larner College of Medicine
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT

Dr. Caporizzo is interested in the mechanical feedback driving cardiac remodeling, with a focus on the factors that control myocardial viscoelasticity and their impact in regulating cardiac systolic and diastolic performance.  Harnessing a background in engineering, Dr. Caporizzo’s research integrates multiscale mechanical testing techniques with sub-diffraction microscopy to visualize the deformation of extracellular and cytoskeletal structures during mechanical loading.  His research aims to decipher the molecular regulators of cardiac mechanical changes and develop strategies to reverse pathological remodeling.



Swati Dey, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Clinical Pharmacology Division/Medicine

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Nashville, TN

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) claims more lives each year than all other causes of death combined. The underlying mechanisms remain unclear, precluding the design of new more effective therapies. Dr. Dey's ongoing research aims to understand the mechanistic role of oxidative tree and autonomic dysfunction, leading to SCD. The innovations of her research program lie in (1) Establishing a highly clinically relevant animal model of non-ischemic heart failure with spontaneous arrhythmic death; (2) sophisticated new tools for quantifying ROS dynamics in subcellular microdomains; (3) Cutting edge technology for integrative studies of single neurons and cardiac myocytes that then translate to the whole heart and animal; (4) designing new tools for minimally invasive video gene therapy to transform cardiac sympathetic nerve properties to modulate cardiac oxidative stress and function. Dr. Dey trained with Dr. Brain O'Rourke at Johns Hopkins University, where she dissected the mechanistic role of mitochondrial bioenergetics and oxidative stress in both the pathogenesis and potential therapy of SCD. She joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a tenure track Assistant Professor in 2019. 


Shanna Hamilton, PhD
Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Dr. Shanna Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona. Her laboratory aims to decipher molecular mechanisms of calcium regulation in the healthy and diseased heart, with the end goal of uncovering novel therapeutic strategies to treat arrhythmias and heart disease. We integrate a combination of confocal microscopy, electrophysiology, ex vivo optical mapping and gene editing approaches to study these mechanisms in multiple rodent models of cardiac diseases, from molecule to organism. Current research interests include regulation of cardiac calcium handling by endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial signaling pathways. 


Shubha Gururaja Rao, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Ohio Northern University
Ada, OH

Dr. Gururaja Rao is a cell biologist and geneticist with a focus on molecular mechanism involved in cancer-cardiology axis with respect to heart failure. Dr. Gururaja Rao received her Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, UK under the mentorship of Prof. Margarete Heck, and established the role of a metalloproatease, Invadolysin, in regulation of chromatin structure and function. She the obtained her postdoctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles under Prof. Utpal Banerjee and she discovered role of unique mitochondrial signaling in cancer.  Currently, her group is focused on studying the role of ion channels in muscle pathophysiology during aging, cancer and heart failure. She uses experimental models ranging from Drosophila to human tissues. 


James McNamara, PhD

Research Officer

Department of Physiology

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Melbourne, Australia 

Dr McNamara completed his PhD at The University of Sydney, mentored by Professors Cristobal dos Remedios and Roger Cooke (UCSF). He then moved to The University of Cincinnati, supported by an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship, to train with Professor Sakthivel Sadayappan. Currently, James is a Research Officer at The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, working with Associate Professors Enzo Porrello and David Elliott. His research uses a combination of preclinical animal and human pluripotent stem models to understand the basis of genetic muscle diseases.


Sumita Mishra, PhD

Division of Cardiology

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Baltimore, Maryland

Epidemiological studies have shown an increased association between obesity and the diagnosis of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF). HFpEF accounts for about half of all heart failure cases in USA and worldwide. There is no effective evidence-based therapy against it. Dr. Mishra’s research is focused on elucidating the mechanisms and targeting the key regulators of cardiac dysfunction in HFpEF and associated cardiometabolic disorders.

She is a faculty at the Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, working with Dr. David Kass. By using multidisciplinary approaches and developing relevant preclinical models that capture features of hemodynamic and metabolic stress seen in HFpEF patients, Dr. Mishra is testing novel ways to stimulate cGMP/PKG signaling as a potential approach for HFpEF treatment. She is also working towards deciphering novel mechanisms by which myocardial lipid overload effects cardiac mechanotransduction and the upstream mechanisms that alters mitochondrial dynamics in the development of cardiometabolic diseases. 



Mary Papadaki, PhD

Kirk Lab

Cell and Molecular Physiology

Loyola University Chicago, Maywood

Chicago, Illinois

Mary completed her PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Prof Steve Marston, where she studied molecular mechanisms of inherited cardiomyopathies. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago and her research focuses on the interface between diabetes and cardiac function. More specifically, she is trying to understand how diabetes affects cardiac contractility through post-translational modifications and signaling pathways. Outside of science, Mary loves to run, ski, cook, and relax at the beach.


Christopher Y. Ko, PhD

Project Scientist

Department of Pharmacology

UC Davis School of Medicine

Davis, CA

Dr. Christopher Ko is a Project Scientist working with Dr. Donald M. Bers at UC Davis. He investigates molecular and spatiotemporal mechanisms of CaMKII regulation and function in cardiac myocytes and how they underlie cardiac physiology and disease. Dr. Ko also has a keen interest in understanding mechanisms of Ca cycling and excitation-contraction coupling, particularly as they apply to RyR-mediated Ca leak and its consequences on heart failure and arrhythmias. Dr. Ko’s multidisciplinary studies implements a wide array of specialized techniques, which include live-cell Ca fluorescence and fluorescence lifetime/FRET-based molecular imaging, patch clamp electrophysiology, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling. Dr. Ko received his PhD studying the nonlinear dynamics of arrhythmia biology under the mentorship of Dr. James N. Weiss, MD and received his BS degree in Biomedical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University.


Christopher Solís, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University of Illinois Chicago
Chicago, IL

Dr. Christopher Solís is originally from Costa Rica and he currently works with Dr. Brenda Russell at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His long-term goal is to elucidate how cells recognize mechanical forces, what they do about it, and how disease impairs the capacity to read mechanical cues. Dr. Solís is focused in the heart and how mechanical forces play a role in cardiac muscle cell growth and adaptation. Specifically, in studying proteins that act as mechanosensors and pair mechanical inputs to acute adaptation of contractility and to chronic adaptation via transcriptional control and regulation of sarcomere assembly and disassembly.

In addition to research, Dr. Solís has served as President of the UIC Postdoctoral Association where he coordinated the organization several professional development events. In January 2019 Dr. Solís co-funded the First Costa Rican Biophysics Symposium, an event organized in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences of Costa Rican and sponsored by the Biophysical Society.


Christopher Toepfer, PhD

'Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow of the Wellcome Trust and Oxford BHF CRE Intermediate Transition Fellow 

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

University of Oxford

Oxford, UK

Chris completed his PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Professor Michael Ferenczi and Dr. James Sellers (NHLBI, NIH). Studying cardiac muscle regulation in health and disease. He subsequently began a Post-doc with the support of a Sir Henry Wellcome Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Professors Christine and Jonathan Seidman at Harvard Medical School and Professor Hugh Watkins at the RDM Oxford.

Chris is currently supported by a British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) Intermediate Transition Fellowship In Oxford. Chris’s group focuses on investigating the role of thick filament variants in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). His laboratory focuses on CRISPR/Cas-9 engineering of human induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can be differentiated into cardiomyocytes, which are used to model human heart disease in a dish.

Early Career Committee Alumni

Maegen Ackermann Borzok, PhD

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Charles S Chung, PhD

Wayne State University

Jennifer Davis, PhD

University of Washington

Deeptankar DeMazumder, MD, PhD

University of Cincinnati

Jonathan Kirk, PhD

Loyola University

Benjamin Prosser, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

The Cardiac Muscle Society was established in the 1960’s to promote the interactions between basic and clinical cardiovascular investigators. Members meet annually, exchange their latest discoveries and exchange ideas on future cardiovascular research.

2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 522

Maywood, IL 60153

Phone: (708) 216-6348


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