Steven Poelzing’s basic research has direct effect

Steven Poelzing, Ph.D.

Steven Poelzing, Ph.D.

For scientists conducting basic biological research, discoveries often take years before they’re translated into effects on individual patients. Even if they lead to clinical trials, the impact on human health is not a guarantee. Imagine the delight, then, when a scientist sees a research paper have a dramatic effect on a patient less than a year after publication.

This is what happened to Steven Poelzing, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, who studies the electrical wiring and signals that keep a heart pumping. Included in his studies is research on a rare genetic disease called Andersen-Tawil syndrome, which shorts and crosses some of those cardiac wires causing arrhythmias. Just a year ago, Poelzing published a paper on a potential treatment for the disease that proved to be just what two doctors didn’t know they had ordered.

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