A University of California, Davis cardiovascular scientist will kick off the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC’s spring 2021 series of weekly lectures by leading biomedical researchers.

The virtual seminar by Crystal Ripplinger, titled “The Nervous Heart: Insights into Autonomic-Mediated Arrhythmias,” is set for 11 a.m. Friday and is the first of 14 in the research institute’s Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminar Series coming up this spring.

The seminar series, which runs annually from September to May, has featured 97 leading biomedical researchers from throughout the country since the program began in 2012. Presented virtually via Zoom primarily for research and clinical audiences throughout the academic year, the lectures are also open to all members of the Virginia Tech community including graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, and staff, as well as the public.

“The Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminars are a crucial component of our research enterprise at the institute, as well as the broader university community and the VTC academic health center,” said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. “The seminars connect graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with the world’s premiere innovators who are pioneering new approaches to some of the most important topics in science and medicine, while inspiring innovative, cross-disciplinary collaborations between speakers and Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff.”

Each presentation is sponsored by one or more of the institute’s research centers, including the Addiction Recovery and Research Center; the Center for Heart and Reparative Medicine Research; the Cancer Research Group; the Center for Human Neuroscience Research; the Center for Glial Biology in Health, Disease, and Cancer; the Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors; and the Center for Neurobiology Research.

Ripplinger, a professor and the vice chair for research and administration in the Department of Pharmacology in the UC Davis School of Medicine, integrates imaging techniques in new ways to study how activity in the nervous system modulates the electrical activity of the heart for normal function and in disorders that can lead to arrhythmias and even sudden cardiac death. Ripplinger’s seminar on Friday will explore what her research has revealed about lasting impacts from heart attacks that lead to potentially lethal abnormal heart rhythms.

Other lectures coming up in the series include:

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute also hosts the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series, Brain School, international conferences, and the Timothy A. Johnson Medical Scholar Lecture Series.

Previous Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminars from the fall are archived on the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s website, including:

—Written by Matt Chittum