Dr. Shaine Morris awarded prestigious K23 grant from the National Institutes of Health

Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Shaine Morris was recently honored with a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The goal of the award, given to senior postdoctoral fellows or faculty-level candidates, is to bring recipients to the point where they are able to conduct their research independently and are competitive for major grant support through career development. Morris’ research is centered on children and young adults with genetic disorders that are associated with aortic disease including Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Turner syndrome, familial bicuspid aortic valve and familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection.

“I am truly honored to receive this distinguished award,” said Morris, who is also co-director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic at Texas Children’s Heart Center. “With the support of my mentors, the Texas Children’s cardiology team and the Cardiovascular Research Core, I look forward to conducting meaningful research that will have positive implications for pediatric cardiovascular patients in the future.”

Following the formation of a mentorship committee of local and national experts and a rigorous application process, Morris was awarded the five-year grant which began in April. Morris’ mentorship committee includes physicians from the Texas Medical Center: Dr. Rajesh Krishnamurthy, section chief of radiology research and cardiac imaging at Texas Children’s and associate professor of pediatrics-radiology at Baylor; Dr. Scott LaMaire, professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Baylor; as well as Dr. Dianna Milewicz and Dr. Jon Tyson of the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.

Morris’ project will look at both a national dataset of patients from centers across the country as well as patients cared for at Texas Children’s with aortic disease to determine how tortuosity of the arteries, in addition to size of the arteries, predicts outcomes. The implications of the research are major as there are currently no guidelines in place to determine when interventions on young patients with aortic enlargement are necessary.

“I am thrilled to further our commitment to research through Dr. Morris’ prestigious work,” said Dr. Daniel Penny, chief of cardiology at Texas Children’s and section head and professor of pediatrics-cardiology at Baylor. “Her expertise in cardiovascular genetics has proved to be an invaluable asset to our team and this effort will only improve the care we provide to our patients each day.”

Texas Children’s Heart Center is ranked #2 nationally in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.