PHILADELPHIA — Rajan Jain, MD, cardiovascular fellow, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, has been honored with an American Medical Association (AMA) 2012 Seed Grant Research Program award for his promising research into congenital heart disease.

"I'm very excited to have received this grant," said Dr. Jain. "Congenital heart disease is among the most prevalent congenital abnormalities, but surprisingly, we know very little about how the various abnormalities occur. We hope to continue to understand the fundamentals of cardiac development and to eventually provide novel avenues of diagnostics and therapeutics for patients with congenital heart disease."

Dr. Jain, working under the guidance Jonathan A. Epstein, MD, scientific director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute and chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, William Wikoff Smith Professor of Cardiovascular Research, Perelman School of Medicine, is interested specifically in how the aortic valve and aorta are formed, and how this process goes wrong in patients with congenital heart disease.

Dr. Jain is one of 43 junior investigators nationwide awarded a grant by this initiative for basic science or clinical research projects in the areas of cardiovascular/pulmonary diseases, HIV/AIDS, neoplastic diseases and pancreatic cancer.

The AMA's grant research program supports grant-writing and research skills in young researchers. Since its creation in 2000, the program has encouraged these medical school students, residents, and fellows to pursue research careers by funding new projects, instead of funding current research by experienced principal investigators.

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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