Jonathan Silva, associate professor of biomedical engineering and of computer science & engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

The Established Investigator Award supports researchers with established records of accomplishments who have shown a commitment to research that supports the American Heart Association’s mission. The five-year, $400,000 award will support his work into precision medicine for patients with irregular heartbeat, or arrythmia.

Silva, the Dennis & Barbara Kessler Career Development Associate Professor, uses computational and biological approaches to find personalized treatments for patients with arrhythmia. After identifying patients who respond well to existing drugs, Silva and his team evaluate how the drugs work on a molecular level and make computer models to understand why they work in these patients, but not others. They then work to predict how patients may respond to treatment and potentially discover better treatments.

His group also developed software to provide a holographic display to physicians who perform interventional catheter ablation procedures to treat arrhythmia. This software was recently tested in humans, and the results showed that physician accuracy was significantly improved with the display. SentiAR Inc., a company that he co-founded, is commercializing the technology. To date, the company has raised $7.3 million in venture and nondilutive funding that will allow it to accelerate its holographic system designed to revolutionize the operating room.

Silva is a permanent member of the Myocardial Physiology and Patholophysiology B Study Section with the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. He also is director of diversity for the Department of Biomedical Engineering.


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 140 full-time faculty, 1,387 undergraduate students, 1,448 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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