2011 Judson Daland Prize

2011 Autumn General Meeting

Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Investigation

Svati Shah

The 2011 recipient of the American Philosophical Society’s Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-oriented Clinical Investigation is Svati Shah, M.D., M.H.S., in recognition of her work on novel metabolomic biomarkers for cardiovascular events.  Dr. Shah is an assistant professor and Medical Director of the Adult Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic at Duke University.  She is also a member of the faculty at the Duke Center for Human Genetics, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center. The award was presented by the Chair of the Selection Committee and President of the American Philosophical Society, Clyde F. Barker, Donald Guthrie Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Svati Shah’s clinical research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  She has used novel translational technologies to make important discoveries of biomarkers for improved CVD risk prediction.  She is also focusing her efforts on the implications and application of these discoveries to patient care.

Profiling of small-molecule metabolites holds promise for giving a more complete picture of human systems biology. “Unbiased” metabolomic profiling has been used to predict coronary artery disease (CAD), but the non-quantitative nature reduces clinical utility.  Further, the genetic basis of these profiles is not established.  Shah hypothesized that targeted, quantitative metabolomic profiles are heritable; identify patients with CAD and predict subsequent cardiovascular events.

Her research observed that simple metabolomic profiles, in particular branched-chain amino acids and their byproducts, are highly heritable and strongly differentiate patients with CAD and MI, providing improved risk discrimination beyond standard clinical factors.  Metabolite signatures composed of dicarboxylacylcarnitines are independently predictive of subsequent cardiovascular events. These results implicate branched-chain amino acid catabolism and other mitochondrial processes in cardiovascular disease pathogenesis, and could have significant clinical implications for cardiovascular risk prediction, diagnosis, and identification of genetic factors underlying the heritability of cardiovascular disease.

The Daland Prize selection committee consisted of Clyde F. Barker (chair), Donald Guthrie Professor of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania; John N. Loeb, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Columbia University; Arno Motulsky, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Genome Sciences, University of Washington; and Thomas E. Starzl, Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.