The International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) awarded Erik Blackwood, PhD, a research assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, the Young Investigator Competition Award (YICA) and the Litsa Kranias Early Career Investigators (ECI) Leadership Award.
Dr. Blackwood received the ECI Leadership Award while presenting his research at the North American Section ISHR meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He said the awards help him move closer to fulfilling his dream of mentoring future physicians.
“As I recently made the transition to faculty, I’m looking to present myself as a good mentor,” Dr. Blackwood said. “I think these awards are recognition that you can go through that process and then hopefully mentor the next generation through it, as well.”
The Litsa Kranias ECI Leadership Award was founded to recognize early career scientists who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities. The award’s namesake was dedicated to researching cardiac illness and mentoring the next generation of researchers.
“I find Erik’s leadership, professional society engagement and volunteer time in our field to be truly astounding accomplishments for such an early career investigator,” said Christopher Glembotski, PhD, the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix’s associate dean for research. “He has made outstanding progress toward becoming an independent cardiovascular research scientist.”
Dr. Blackwood was initially interested in neurology because of his family’s history with Alzheimer’s disease. After he started volunteering in the lab of Dr. Glembotski, who is the director of the Translational Cardiovascular Research Center, he discovered a passion for cardiovascular research.
“I realized how a career in the research field in academia could actually fit more in line with finding and discovering novel therapies and making a clinical impact,” Dr. Blackwood said. “I just fell in love with the research and the way that Dr. Glembotski mentored. It allowed for a lot of freedom.”
Dr. Blackwood completed his doctorate in 2020 while working in Dr. Glembotski’s lab and transitioned to a postdoctoral fellowship. He also was one of eight 2022 BIO5 Institute Postdoctoral Fellows. He recently was hired as a research assistant professor in the Translational Cardiovascular Research Center.