Professor to Direct New Research Center Focused on Atrial Fibrillation
Emelia J. Benjamin, professor of epidemiology and of cardiovascular medicine at the School of Medicine, will serve as director of a new BU-based center examining atrial fibrillation risk, part of a larger research network funded by the American Heart Association (AHA).
The AMA announced research grants totaling more than $28 million to fund research centers focused on understanding the causes of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The new knowledge they discover will provide a basis to generate more effective ways to treat and prevent the disease.
“Establishing these centers with leading investigators from renowned institutions is an important step in discovering biological, genetic, and behavioral connections affecting the occurrence and impact of AFib and stroke related to this common arrhythmia,” said American Heart Association Chief Science Officer Rose Marie Robertson. “Bringing together the best science while empowering patients to be active participants in their own care should significantly improve the quality of life for those who suffer from AFib.”
The BU center headed by Benjamin will examine both AFib risk and stroke risk in patients with AFib, with a specific focus on African American individuals. The goal is to advance AFib precision medicine by predicting individuals at risk and providing insights essential to develop effective prevention, treatment, and management strategies.
An estimated 6.1 million or more Americans were living with AFib as of 2010, making it the most common heart abnormality in the US. That number is expected to rise to 12.1 million by 2030.
In 2016, the AHA honored Benjamin with the Gold Heart Award, the organization’s highest honor.