The NRI is proud to announce that Saroja Voruganti, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at UNC Chapel Hill, has been elected a Fellow with the American Heart Association. Dr. Voruganti is one of 17 American Heart Association Fellows from several thousand national and international members of the Functional Genomics and Translational Biology council of the AHA elected for 2014.

The AHA Fellowship honors members for their scientific and professional accomplishments. The AHA states, “Fellowship is open to physicians, scientists, nurses and other healthcare professionals with a major and productive interest in cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

Voruganti’s research in the field of cardiometabolics assisted her in achieving this honor. A cardiometabolic disease incorporates both heart disease and a metabolic disorder. Some examples are obesity, diabetes, and kidney and cardiovascular diseases. Cardiometabolic risk refers to your chances of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke. There is a direct link between cardiometabolic diseases and diet.

Voruganti is one of 13 faculty researchers at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute. She investigates how genetic and environmental (particularly diet and nutrients) factors impact hyperuricemia, gout, kidney and cardiovascular disease, with the goal of finding new treatment options.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Food and Nutrition at the University of Delhi, India, and a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics and Hospital Food Service. She received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and did post-doctoral work in Genetic Epidemiology at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. AHA public health education provides science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals. The AHA’s mission is “Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”