By Wendy Sarubbi | October 24, 2013 4:53 pm

Sampath Parthasarathy, Ph.D., M.B.A., an internationally known cardiovascular scientist at the UCF College of Medicine, has been named interim associate dean for research.  Dr. Parthasarathy currently holds the college’s first endowed chair, the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, and serves as professor of medicine and associate director for research at the college’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the medical school, selected Dr. Parthasarathy after a national search for a scientific leader to build the college’s research strategy and establish the College of Medicine as a truly research-based medical school.

“Such a role requires someone who knows where we are and has the tools, experience and spirit to move us forward,” Dr. German said. “In his two years at the College of Medicine, Dr. Parthasarathy has demonstrated the pioneering spirit that is so key to building a 21st century medical school.”

She added that in the next year she has asked Dr. Parthasarathy to take the college’s basic science, medical education and clinical research efforts to the next level and to leverage new and existing partnerships to create fundable research opportunities.

Dr. Parthasarathy is the co-discoverer of the major cardiovascular concept, that oxidized LDL cholesterol blocks arterial vessels in the heart. As the Frank Lowe Professor at Louisiana State University, he set up an institute on oxidative stress. As Ohio State University’s Klassen Chair, he directed research related to cardiovascular sciences and developed a new model for heart failure. Dr. Parthasarathy has published over 250 original articles and has written a book “Modified Lipoproteins in the Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis.” He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, has served on a variety of journal editorial boards and was a member of National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH Program Project Committee. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to medical science and has over 20 patents on cardiovascular pharmaceuticals.

In his two years at UCF, he has been honored as a member of the Millionaires Club and has been funded on a variety of research efforts, including a novel mechanism by which aspirin might protect against atherosclerosis. Dr. Parthasarathy has led efforts to establish more collaborative research efforts between the medical school, other UCF colleges, and partners in Medical City. Collaboration will be a focus of his efforts as interim associate dean, said Dr. Parthasarathy, who dreams of the day when “every scientist would have a clinical interest and every clinician would be a scientist.”

“There is a place for everyone in science,” he said. “Science is a puzzle and to put it together you need to understand the different pieces. That is why diversity is so important. Science doesn’t happen in compartments. It doesn’t work in isolation.”

Dr. Parthasarathy said he wants to organize teams of researchers that include a clinical, basic scientist and innovation specialist so that every research project approaches solutions based on new technologies that can improve patient care. A focus on innovation in medical research can give the UCF College of Medicine a niche in the vast research world, he said, and an opportunity to find additional and new funding sources.

“The key to our success is inclusion,” he said, “and being a team player who addresses the needs of our community. That way, scientists can work with physicians and their patients to identify gaps in our knowledge of treatments and disease and work together to bridge those gaps. When we work together, all of us can be thinking about research.”

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