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Faculty Profile: Sadiya Khan, ’09 MD, ’14 MS, ’10 ’12 GME

Sadiya Khan

Sadiya Khan, ’09 MD, ’14 MS, ’10 ’12 GME, is an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology. Her lab studies the influence of obesity on the development of cardiovascular disease and utilizes various research methods to enhance cardiovascular risk prediction and identify novel therapeutic agents for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.

She is also a staff cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has a particular focus in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and an interest in the use of genetic testing and risk communication with patients who are at-risk for cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia and vascular disorders. At the hospital, she also serves on the inpatient cardiology consult service and conducts weekly ambulatory clinic sessions.

Khan is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine, and has received multiple awards for excellence in research, teaching, and patient care. She is a member of the Feinberg Cardiovascular and Renal Research Institute, the Center for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS), the Simpson Querrey Center for Epigenetics and has authored more than 50 peer reviewed publications. 

What are your research interests? 

I am a cardiologist whose research focuses on prevention of heart failure through studies of epidemiologic trends and drivers, risk prediction modeling, and molecular and genetic epidemiology. I have three key areas within my research theme: 1) cardiovascular disease trends and projections to inform prevention policies; 2) development, validation, and implementation of risk prediction tools for heart failure prevention, including a focus on sex-specific risk enhancers such as adverse pregnancy outcomes; and 3) molecular epidemiology and genomics-first precision medicine approaches towards risk assessment to personalize prevention. I also explore the complex interplay of aging and the development of heart failure in mechanistic studies to identify key targets of accelerated and premature onset of heart failure.

What is the ultimate goal of your research?

The ultimate goal of my research is to equitably improve cardiovascular health across the life course and to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the development of heart failure. By doing so, I hope to contribute to reducing morbidity and mortality related to heart failure through these investigations, particularly among those disadvantaged populations who bear the greatest burden of disease and experience the worst outcomes. In particular, I am especially passionate about improving women’s cardiovascular health and targeting key vulnerable periods, such as pregnancy and menopause.

How did you become interested in this area of research?

While there is a lot of focus on cardiovascular disease prevention among cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular mortality related to heart failure is growing fastest among all cardiovascular subtypes. Further, individuals younger than 65 years have experienced the greatest increases in heart failure-related mortality in the past decade with significant and persistent disparities. In addition, prevalence of heart failure continues to increase and is expected to exceed eight million adults in the United States by 2030. Therefore, I have chosen to pursue a focus in the prevention of heart failure.

How is your research funded?

My research is funded from grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

Where has your work been published?

We have recently published in a mixture of general internal medicine and cardiology journals: JAMA, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the Journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation: Heart Failure, and more.

Who inspires you? Who are your mentors?

I feel incredibly grateful to have the support of my family as well as my colleagues, mentors and friends at Northwestern. I am so lucky to have been welcomed into the Northwestern community as an undergraduate in the Honors Program in Medical Education and was able to continue my training here in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease through the Physician Scientist Training Program.

Finally, the amazing trainees that I get to work with at Feinberg inspire me every day in providing exceptional care for our patients and discovering innovative ways to improve cardiovascular health.