Dr. Sadek receives Zipes Young Scientist Award

By Lisa Warshaw

Dr. Hesham Sadek, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, has won the 2013 Douglas P. Zipes Distinguished Young Scientist Award from the American College of Cardiology. 

Dr. Hesham Sadek

The international award recognizes early-career scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiovascular disease and who have amassed an impressive body of basic or clinical scientific research. The Zipes Award, established in 2005, is named after noted cardiologist and electrophysiology expert Dr. Douglas Zipes. 

“Receiving this award represents the appreciation of the cardiology community and their recognition of my research,” Dr. Sadek said. “Through the years, a number of outstanding clinical and basic scientists have received this award in the early phases of their careers, and to be recognized among them is a great honor.”

Among Dr. Sadek’s most significant contributions to science is his work in uncovering the regenerative capacity of the neonatal mammalian heart.

“This groundbreaking discovery is likely to hold the key to unlocking the regenerative potential of the adult heart and in fact represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of mammalian cardiac biology,” said Dr. Milton Packer, Chairman of Clinical Sciences and one of Dr. Sadek’s mentors.

Dr. Sadek studies the mechanisms of myocyte proliferation in the neonatal heart and strategies to reawaken the regenerative potential of the adult mammalian heart. Additionally, staff  members in his lab are examining the role of stem cell metabolism and the regulation of stem cell function – applied to both hematopoietic and heart stem cells. 

“In research, hard work alone does not guarantee success, and these kinds of awards help inspire you to continue asking difficult questions and searching for cutting-edge scientific solutions,” Dr. Sadek said.

An Egyptian native, Dr. Sadek graduated from medical school at Ain Shams University in 1995 before moving to the United States to complete his internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at University Hospitals in Cleveland. During that time, Dr. Sadek simultaneously pursued graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, focused primarily on cardiac reperfusion injury and on the role of reactive oxygen species in mitochondrial dysfunction following ischemia/reperfusion. 

Before joining the UT Southwestern faculty in 2008, Dr. Sadek was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Daniel Garry, former Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology at UTSW, where he studied cardiac regeneration and stem cell biology.

“I have been very fortunate to have mentors like Dr. Garry, Dr. Eric Olson [Chairman of Molecular Biology at  UT Southwestern], and Dr. Packer, who have been a tremendous source of guidance and inspiration,” Dr. Sadek said.

In addition to being an excellent scientist, Dr. Sadek also is an “outstanding clinician,” said Dr. Joseph A. Hill, Chief of Cardiology and Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology.

“It’s refreshing in this day of hyperspecialization, where the physician-scientist is increasingly rare,” Dr. Hill said. “To that end, I would say that Hesham is following the model of Dr. Zipes as someone who has manifested credibility and leadership in the domains of both clinical cardiology and science.”


Dr. Hill is Director of the Harry S. Moss Heart Center. He holds the James T. Willerson, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases and the Frank M. Ryburn Jr. Chair in Heart Research.

Dr. Olson is Director of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic and Clinical Research in Pediatric Oncology. He holds the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects, the Robert A Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research. 

Dr. Packer holds the Gayle and Paul Stoffel Distinguished Chair in Cardiology.