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Summer 2003
Chairs of Distinction
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“The endowment provided support to allow me to collaborate with mathematicians and physicists to investigate this question,” he says. “If you can detect the chaos, you can get insights into the mechanisms that are causing it. That led to a new approach to develop drugs to prevent fibrillation. That’s a good example of how seed money can support a program.”

This research led to UCLA becoming a National Institutes of Health Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) in Sudden Cardiac Death, one of only three in the country. “Our program evolved directly from resources that came from this chair,” Weiss says.

Finding scientific answers is like working a jigsaw puzzle, putting small research points together, building on what others have found in their studies and taking one step at a time. “But you don’t solve the puzzle by yourself,” Weiss says. “You solve it over time through the collective efforts of many scientists.”

The Kawata Chair was established in 1991 by cardiologist and UCLA Clinical Professor of Medicine Nobuyuki Kawata, who passed away last year. Kawata, co-founder of the UCLA Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Program, endowed the chair in memory of his wife, Chizuko.

“Dr. Weiss brings to the Kawata Chair a tremendous blend of academic and clinical medicine,” says Jon A. Kobashigawa, medical director of the UCLA Heart Transplant Program and Kawata’s son-in-law.

Kobashigawa, who is also a clinical professor of medicine/cardiology and chief of the Division of Clinical Faculty Medicine at UCLA, says his colleague has been a pioneer in the understanding of cardiac injury and arrhythmias in patients who suffer heart attacks, and his work has led to the development of life-saving therapies.

Says Kobashigawa: “Dr. Weiss truly represents the finest in education, research and patient care that epitomizes the memory of Dr. Kawata.”

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