People come from all over the world to attend the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. This year, the event will be held in the Western States Affiliate – in Los Angeles, Nov. 3-7.
Benoit Bruneau, Ph.D., a veteran presenter at the conference, has seen the event evolve over the years to attract more basic scientists and general practitioners. This year he will present the newest insights into the processes of heart formation – Epigenetic Regulation of Cardiac Development. His lab at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco is dedicated to finding out how congenital heart defects occur, and then uncovering new and improved options to treat them.
Dr. Bruneau has presented at Scientific Sessions a dozen times and for the past ten years has been one of the volunteer scientists reviewing abstracts submitted for consideration. He explains the conference has broad appeal because it integrates the concepts of basic, clinical, population and translational science and allow attendees to interact with colleagues across disciplines. He adds, “It is the best forum for disseminating research findings, prior to formal publishing.”
Dr. Bruneau has close ties to the American Heart Association (AHA). He received early career funding from the association and, in turn, has volunteered on many levels through the years. In 2011, Dr. Bruneau received a five-year AHA Established Investigator Award, allowing him to step up the pace of his work.
The fight against heart disease is personal for Dr. Bruneau. His father and uncle both had heart attacks in their 40’s, which focused his attention on cardiovascular research – specifically the formation of the heart. He was a well-known expert in that field when his own daughter was born with a tiny hole in the wall separating the lower chambers of the heart. It eventually closed spontaneously.
He says, “Heart defects can happen to anyone for no known reason and we still know so little about them. I am grateful to the American Heart Association for its support as we continue the search for answers.”