Dr. Juneman Joins UA Sarver Heart Center Faculty

03/03/15

Elizabeth Juneman, MD, has joined the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center as an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson, and director of outpatient cardiology.  Dr. Juneman also serves as assistant program director of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program.

Dr. Juneman conducts basic science research focused on mechanical and cellular remodeling in heart failure, particularly alterations in systolic and diastolic dysfunction in various cardiomyopathies. On the clinical research side, Dr. Juneman’s focus is in heart failure. She has served as a principle investigator on nationally funded, multi-center clinical trials, as well as her own investigator-initiated clinical trials. She has authored multiple original research publications, a book chapter, and clinical reviews. 

Currently, Dr. Juneman is collaborating with Henk Granzier, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the UA College of Medicine - Tucson, and Steve Goldman, MD, professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine - Tucson and cardiologist at Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, on a National Institutes of Health grant. Led by Professor Granzier, the team is studying heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a major health problem with no treatment proven to improve long-term outcomes.

“This condition represents half of all heart failure hospital admissions and disproportionately affects women. We don’t have a good understanding of the mechanisms that lead to the disease and we essentially treat related conditions, such as lowering high blood pressure,” said Dr. Juneman. The primary symptom of HFpEF is severe shortness of breath with mild exertion, despite a heart muscle that seems to pump normally on heart imaging studies.

 The research team includes Martin M. LeWinter, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, who is a co-principal investigator on the federal NIH grant titled, “Myofilament-based mechanisms of diastolic dysfunction in HFpEF” (1R01HL118524), totaling $2.46 million over four years.

Most HFpEF patients have a history of hypertension and concentric left ventricular (LV) remodeling, a combination referred to as “hypertensive heart disease.” The vast majority of HFpEF patients also have LV diastolic dysfunction, resulting from increased chamber stiffness. This project will study changes at the level of the myofilament in heart cells that contribute to diastolic dysfunction (abnormal heart relaxation) using biopsies of heart muscle obtained during heart surgeries. The researchers will compare patients with hypertensive heart disease who either have symptoms of heart failure (shortness of breath, swelling) or no symptoms, and will run parallel studies with laboratory models of the disease.

Dr. Juneman is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and advanced heart failure/transplantation. She is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and a member of the American Society of Echocardiography, American Heart Association, and Heart Failure Society of America. Dr. Juneman was honored with the Charles W. Hall Jr. Memorial Cardiology Fellowship Teaching Award in 2011 from the UA Sarver Heart Center, and has been recognized by her peers as one of the Best Doctors in America, annually since 2009.

Following medical school at the University of Texas - Houston Health Sciences Center, Dr. Juneman completed her internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Since 2007, she was clinical faculty at Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, where she served as director of echocardiography and director of heart failure for seven years.

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The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center’s 135 members include faculty from cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric cardiology, neurology, radiology, endocrinology, emergency medicine, nursing, pharmacy and basic sciences. The UA Sarver Heart Center emphasizes a highly collaborative research environment, fostering innovative translational or “bench-to-bedside” research and working toward a future free of heart disease and stroke.