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[June 16, 2010]

SUNY Downstate Student Irani Khatun Awarded Predoctoral Fellowship for Heart Research

Irani Khatun, a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has been selected to receive the coveted Predoctoral Research Fellowship by the American Heart Association. The award is given to help promising students pursue careers in cardiovascular and stroke research. 

Ms. Khatun was selected on the strength of her research proposal, titled “MTP lipid transfer activities in apo B–lipoprotein biosynthesis.” The goal of her research is to better understand the mechanisms by which MTP (microsomal triglyceride transfer protein) facilitates the assembly of lipoproteins known to contribute to cardiovascular disease.

A graduate of the University of Calcutta, Ms. Khatun earned an MS degree from Texas Women’s University. For her thesis project, she sequenced and characterized a plasmid isolated from an Alaskan Indian strain of Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium associated with peptic ulcers. She is co-author of a review article on MTP and a paper published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, a publication of the American Heart Association.

As part of the fellowship selection process, the selection committee evaluates the student’s sponsor, training plan, and research environment. Ms. Khatun has the advantage of working in the laboratory of M. Mahmood Hussain, PhD, professor of cell biology and of pediatrics, internationally known for having characterized the role of MTP in the molecular assembly of lipoproteins. Dr. Hussain’s lab has long been at the forefront of research that is paving the way to find more effective treatments for heart disease.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.