Virtual Event June 1 Explores Aging, Heart Disease and COVID-19

Johns Hopkins Professor Explains New Research on Protecting the Most Vulnerable

MELBOURNE, FLA. — A medical doctor and researcher at Johns Hopkins University who leads human cardiovascular studies at the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science at National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging will explore the intersection of aging, heart disease and COVID-19 during a free virtual workshop from 1-2:30 p.m. Monday, June 1, organized and hosted by Florida Tech.

Dr. Majd AlGhatrif will discuss why older adults with underlying cardiovascular disease are experiencing increased disease severity and higher mortality rates from COVID-19. These possible connections were highlighted in an April article in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Cardiology byAlGhatrif and Edward G. Lakatta, both of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science in NIA’s Intramural Research Program, and Oscar Cingolani of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

In their article, the authors propose that using blockers for hormones called angiotensin that affect blood pressure may prevent severe COVID-19, particularly in older adults with low baseline levels of a key anti-inflammatory factor called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2. However, this hypothesis needs to be tested in clinical trials with people who have COVID-19 to determine the safety and efficacy of these medications in reducing the risk of developing severe lung disease, they note.

In addition to AlGhatrif’s presentation and question-and-answer segment, the event will feature short presentations about several efforts undertaken at Florida Tech in response to the pandemic. Those scheduled to present are:

  • Munevver Mine Subasi, Ph.D.: machine learning techniques to analyze COVID-19 data;
  • Nezamoddin N. Kachouie, Ph.D.: statistical modeling of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths;
  • Carlos Otero, Ph.D. and Adrian Peter, Ph.D.: platform to support data analytics and visualization for COVID-19;
  • Juan Avendano: personal protective equipment design and contributions.

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D., Florida Tech’s executive vice president for academics, will offer opening remarks.

To participate online, visit


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