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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Minnesota Doctoral Student Receives American Heart Association’s Williams Award

University of Minnesota School of Public Health doctoral student Mr. Nick Roetker won the Roger R. Williams Memorial Award for Genetic Epidemiology and the Prevention and Treatment of Atherosclerosis from the American Heart Association. Mr. Roetker was honored with the award at the American Heart Association’s EPI|LIFESTYLE Scientific Sessions in March 2017.


[Photo: Mr. Nick Roetker]

“The award is a nice way for the conference to recognize the work of very early-career investigators,” said Mr. Roetker, an epidemiology student focusing on cardiovascular disease.

The Williams Award acknowledges research on the genetic contributions to atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in arteries. Mr. Roetker’s research centers on how a change observed to DNA — called an epigenetic marker — is associated with the risk of developing the disease.

”I enjoy studying aging-related disease and epigenetics is an exciting field that might help us identify changes in DNA that influence pathways for the development of cardiovascular disease,” said Mr. Roetker.

Mr. Roetker conducted his research under the supervision of Professor James Pankow.

“Professor Pankow has been a great mentor for me,” said Mr. Roetker. “He has always been very generous with his time and opportunities to work on projects. Our frequent discussions about genetic epidemiology has greatly improved my understanding of the field and makes me excited to continue doing this work in the future.”

In addition to his work with Dr. Pankow, Mr. Roetker currently explores other related topics as a research assistant on studies led by Professor Aaron Folsom.

After earning his doctorate, Mr. Roetker plans to continue conducting research within an academic institution.