On November 17, 2021, UK Biobank announced that Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellow Hannah Meyer received the Early Career Researcher of the Year Award for 2021. The award honors early-career researchers who have made significant scientific discoveries using UK Biobank’s biomedical database. The award recognizes Meyer’s study that examined the structure of the hearts of over 18,000 individuals in the database.
The UK Biobank is a collection of genetic and medical information from approximately half a million individuals across the United Kingdom. The collected data enables researchers from around the world to understand human health, study disease, and develop treatments.
By combining artificial intelligence and genetic analyses, Meyer and her collaborators discovered the role of cardiac trabeculae, a network of muscle fibers in the adult heart. They showed how these trabeculae allow blood to flow more efficiently and how the muscle pattern can influence the risk of heart failure.
Meyer says, “This heart muscle study benefited from more than fifteen years of planning, curating, and continuously updating data in the UK Biobank. The dataset keeps getting deeper and larger all the time, providing a rich resource for quantitative biologists like myself. It is an honor to be recognized at this moment in its history and early in my career.”