We are proud to announce that we have two 2021 Fellowship Grant Recipients, Dr. Andrew Koenig, PhD, from Washington University in Saint Louis and Dr. Tahir Kafil, MD, from the Ottawa Heart Institute, in Canada.

Dr. Koenig’s research study is titled: “Defining the Spatial Proteomic and Transcriptomic Landscape of Myocarditis.”  This Fellowship Grant will be named for Sarah Knight, a 25-year-old bi-lingual kindergarten teacher, who was a victim of Viral Myocarditis. Due to the generosity of her family and friends, this is the second grant to be named for her. They believe that myocarditis research is the key to finding the answers and putting a halt to the disease that takes so many young and otherwise healthy unsuspecting people.

Dr. Koenig’s preceptor of myocarditis research is Dr. Kory Lavine, MD, PhD, also from Washington University in Saint Louis.

Dr. Koenig is our 22nd Fellowship Grant Recipient and here is his layman’s description of his research:

Myocarditis is a life-threatening disease as an underdiagnosed cause of acute heart failure, sudden death. In addition to viral myocarditis, there are different kinds of myocarditis. They are characterized with heart damage and immune cells accumulation. It is challenging to diagnose some kinds of myocarditis with similar features using current diagnostic approaches. Furthermore, myocarditis has different features and outcomes across patients. Here in our study, we will use the recently developed novel technologies directly on patients’ biopsy samples. With the data generated by the novel technologies, we will uncover the causes and specific characters of these diseases as well as the precise differences between different patients. Importantly, this will yield new diagnostic tools that inform personalized patient management and uncover new therapeutic targets to treat these diseases and improve patients’ life quality.



Dr. Kafil’s research study is titled: “COVID-19 Vaccine-induced Inflammatory Heart Disease Registry and Prospective Cohort Study. (COVID-VIHPR)” This Fellowship Grant will be named for Ashley Burgauer, a 27-year-old registered nurse, who was a victim of Viral Myocarditis. Due to the generosity of her family and friends, this grant is being named for her. Her family have made it a passion of theirs to make people aware of this disease and support research to help stop the devastation to families that it causes.

Dr. Kafil’s preceptor of myocarditis research is Dr. Peter Liu, MD, also from the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Dr. Kafil is our 23rd Fellowship Grant recipient and here is his layman’s description of his research:

“Myocarditis and pericarditis are inflammatory conditions of the heart muscle and lining. They can occur after viral infections and can occur in patients who are infected by COVID-19. Recently, myocarditis has also been reported following mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines are effective in preventing ICU admissions and deaths from COVID-19 infection. One of their rare side-effects can be myocarditis or pericarditis. Our study is designed to determine the natural history, diagnostic work up, immunological profile, biomarker predictors and sex differences in these conditions.”

Our congratulations to Dr. Andrew Koenig, PhD and Dr. Tahir Kafil, MD and many thanks for your work in myocarditis research!


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