Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student, Valentina Dargam, was selected as the 2022 Early Career Stop Heart Disease Researcher of the Year! Valentina will be presented with this prestigious award of $50,000 at this year’s Annual Meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, held in Orlando, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This award is made possible through the sale of the Stop Heart Disease specialty license plates, which funded the award.

Valentina is working towards her Ph.D. Degree in Biomedical Engineering here at FIU, with her focus on developing new analytical methods using artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose early stages of cardiovascular diseases. Her goal is to develop low-cost, AI-based diagnostic techniques that assess risks of heart disease within a patient. So far in her Ph.D. career, she has published two manuscripts, was issued a patent, presented at international and national conferences, and won poster and commercial pitching competitions. Valentina has a bright future ahead of her, and her long-term goal is to create a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, academics, and industry partners to accelerate research commercialization and decrease the burden of disease.

Through this award, Valentina plans to acquire physiological signals of cardiovascular function to develop new, noninvasive techniques to diagnose and evaluate heart failure. The funds will be used to purchase research supplies and equipment to complete these studies and invest in furthering her research. These studies will allow Valentina to grow her research profile and begin to establish herself as an independent researcher.