PHILADELPHIA – Thomas Cappola, MD, ScM, an assistant professor in the division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding early-career scientists and engineers, recognizes Cappola’s outstanding achievements in research on causes and treatment for heart failure, which is the leading cause of hospitalization among adults in the United States.

The Presidential Award Program was created to honor young scientists and engineers who, in their early research careers, exemplify exceptional potential in the field. Cappola will receive up to a five-year research grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health to support the continued development of his heart failure research, which holds great promise for changing the standard of care for this complex, life-limiting condition. The program aims to foster innovative and far-reaching developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and enhance connections between biomedical research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation’s future. Just 100 young investigators are recipients of this year’s awards.

“Dr. Cappola is an outstanding young physician investigator and we are thrilled that he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers,” said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.  “His research is focused on the identification of several critical genetic factors associated with heart failure and how they contribute to its development.  This research is novel and important as heart failure is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States.”

Cappola has a passion for translational medicine, uncovering new discoveries about genetic factors that contribute to heart failure and searching for ways to translate those findings into better care for patients. His laboratory has demonstrated that noninvasive genetic tests can be used to diagnose and track transplant patients who may experience rejection of their new heart.  This new application of molecular technology may help patients avoid expensive and invasive heart biopsy procedures that are necessary to monitor patients following transplant.

Cappola attended Princeton University and is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a master’s degree in clinical investigation.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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