By Christin Senior and Zenaida Kotola | October 19, 2021 12:35 pm
Vice President for Research, Dr. Elizabeth Klonoff presents Dr. Dinender Singla with his Luminary Award.

Cardiovascular researcher and Professor Dinender Singla is one of 15 UCF faculty members who were honored for being academic leaders, bettering lives and shining a light in the world at the university’s annual Luminary Awards Night Oct. 6.

COVID-19 disrupted plans for the recognition ceremony last year so UCF honored the 2020 and 2021 winners together. Dr. Singla is a 2020 recipient. UCF President Alex Cartwright, Interim Provost Michael Johnson, Vice President for Research Elizabeth Klonoff and Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence Jana Jasinski were on hand to recognize each winner with glass awards.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Dr. Singla’s research focuses on heart failure, inflammation, cell death, stem cells and cardiac regeneration. Dr. Singla, who leads the Metabolic and Cardiovascular research division at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, has focused much of his recent research on exploring ways to reduce heart damage in patients who have had chemotherapy. He is also examining how a protein naturally occurring in the body — bone morphogenetic protein — can be used to prevent muscle damage in diabetic patients.

“I am delighted and honored that the university has recognized my hard work with this award,” Dr. Singla said. “Research requires patience, an innovative thinking, continuity and determination in efforts and trial we perform by working countless hours in the lab. So awards like this help to show us that we are doing something right and our contribution to community and scientific knowledge is recognized.”

Dr. Singla has received more than $10 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, making him the highest NIH-funded researcher at the College of Medicine. He has published more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals and received numerous research honors and awards. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association, American Physiological society, and of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. He is president-elect for the International Society for Adaptive Medicine. 

He is well known in the community as a collaborator, which is one of the reasons he was named the Advent Health Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, the only basic science chair at the College of Medicine. In this role, he is charged with developing collaborative and translational scientific relationships with the hospitals in Central Florida. His research has also been featured in local and national news outlets.

Luminary awardees are nominated by deans, chairs and directors from across the university and a selection committee determines the winners. In addition to the glass award, faculty members will be featured on the new Luminary Awards Recognition website launched after the event.

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