Through a generous $1 million donation to Aurora Health Care Foundation, Aurora Research Institute’s first Colton Scholar in Cardiology Research has begun developing software that aims to predict serious cardiac events in patients with a rare heart condition.
The research institute recently selected Christopher Beal as its first Colton Scholar. The Colton Scholar in Cardiology Research in Honor of A. Jamil Tajik, MD, fund was created with the intention of providing a researcher the opportunity to advance understanding of cardiovascular disease under the mentorship of A. Jamil Tajik, MD, president emeritus of Aurora Cardiovascular Services and an internationally known cardiovascular disease expert.
Since being selected for the position, Beal has begun developing software that aims to predict serious cardiac events based on electrical activity of the heart in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). His advisors on this project include Dr. Tajik, Arshad Jahangir, MD, and M. Fuad Jan, MD.
“The software will use machine learning methods to recognize patterns in electrocardiograms,” Beal said. “The software will be designed specifically to aid the work of cardiologists, providing another tool to help them better identify high-risk patients and quickly determine the right course of treatment.”
Beal is completing his doctorate in computational sciences from Marquette University and had worked as a research associate for the research institute prior to being named Colton Scholar.
“We are deeply grateful for the Colton family’s generous gift, and I am confident Mr. Beal will be a great asset to our research team,” Dr. Tajik said.
Dr. Tajik joined Aurora Health Care in 2010 and has since established five centers at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee: hypertrophic and inherited cardiomyopathies, adult congenital heart disease, Marfan syndrome and aortopathies, complex valvular heart disease, and pericardial diseases.
“As a researcher familiar with machine learning, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, Christopher will play a key complementary role working alongside clinicians and investigators on Dr. Tajik’s cardiovascular research team,” said Kelly Piacsek, PhD, vice president of research for Aurora Research Institute, part of Advocate Aurora Health.
The research institute continues to be a leader in cardiovascular research, including preclinical studies, clinical trials and clinical outcomes research. The institute conducted more than 230 total cardiovascular research projects in 2019.
To learn more about our research, visit aurora.org/research.
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