- BSc Cells, Molecules and Physiology- Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada
- MS Medical Pharmacology- University of Arizona- Tucson
- Clinical Cardiovascular Perfusion Certificate- University of Arizona- Tucson
My PhD research focused on studying the function of specific sarcomeric proteins in the heart to better understand the pathophysiology of how genetic mutations in these proteins lead to heart disease. Leiomodin2 (Lmod2) is a cardiac sarcomeric protein known to tightly regulate actin-thin filament lengths by acting as a nucleator of actin polymerization, resulting in thin filament elongation. Likewise, it has been demonstrated that cyclase-associated protein 2 (CAP2) depolymerizes filamentous actin (F-actin) and plays a role in cardiomyocyte maturation. Together with the sarcomeric protein tropomodulin (Tmod), which serves to shorten thin filaments, Lmod2 is able to precisely fine-tune thin filament lengths in the sarcomere while CAP2 is able to stabilize nascent myofibrils. Thus, all three proteins contribute to the overall structure and contractile properties of cardiac muscle. To better understand the consequences of mutations in these proteins and the role of these proteins at the level of the sarcomere I studied patient-specific iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) harboring an LMOD2 mutation and a gene-corrected CRISPR/Cas9 isogenic control line and used neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes along with biochemical assays to study their function. Using human iPSC-CMs I discovered structural changes in Lmod2 mutant cardiomyocytes at the level of the sarcomere and significant differences in the transcriptome signature of genes involved in sarcomere function and cardiomyocyte maturation between mutant and isogenic controls. Simultaneously, I observed that CAP2 has essential functions in regulating actin dynamics at the pointed end of cardiac thin filaments and that CAP2 may be influencing the regulation of Lmod2 and Tmod1 actin dynamics and proposed a model of how all three pointed-end binding proteins may work together.
Coming from Canada, I enjoy being outdoors and exploring new areas. I am my happiest when I am out on the mountains rock climbing, hiking or snowboarding. I’ve always enjoyed traveling and experiencing new cultures, sights and especially meeting new people. All of these interests spurred my decision to move to Arizona and join the graduate perfusion sciences program. It was here that I fell in love with cardiology, heart devices and transplants. Working alongside cardiothoracic and transplant surgeons, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in academic medicine, in the hopes of becoming a cardiologist.
- 1st Place American College of Physicians Arizona Chapter Poster Competition (2022)
- Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society Inductee (2020)
- AZ American College of Cardiology Basic Science Case Competition Winner (2020)
- APSA Western Regional Conference Finalist for Oral Presentation (2020)
- Medical Student Leadership Award for Community Service (2018)
- International Conference Ed Ristaino Memorial Scholarship (2015)
- American Society of Extracorporeal Technology Scholarship (2015)
- Lawrence Scientific Presentation Award, American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion (2015)
- Graduate Fellowship Scholarship, University of Arizona (2014)
- The Biological Sciences Undergraduate Excellence in Research Award (2013)
- Vice President Research Undergraduate Student Research Award (VPR USRA) (2011)
- F30HL151139 Ruth L Kirschtein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for MD/PhD and other Dual Degree Fellowships
- Finley and Florence Brown Endowned Research Award-Sarver Heart Center
- T32-5T32HL007249-43 Interdisciplinary Training in Cardiovascular Research Award
- Medical Award of Excellence (MD PhD)
Conference Oral Presentations:
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Identifying aberrant gene signatures in a Leiomodin-2 mutation resulting in neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy. European Muscle Conference, Florence, Italy. September 4, 2023.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Harnessing patient-specific iPSC-CMs to investigate an LMOD2 related neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy. T32 Scholars Research Sessions with Nobel Laureate Dr. Julius- Research Day. Tucson, Arizona, March 29 2023.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Modeling patient-specific Leiomodin-2 dilated cardiomyopathy using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. European Muscle Conference, Virtual, September 22, 2021.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. How to utilize patient tissue and differentiated cells to study a rare mutation in a cardiac sarcomeric protein. MD PhD Retreat Data Blitz, Tucson, AZ, July 17, 2021.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Deciphering the mechanism underlying an Leiomodin 2 mutation resulting in neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. 10th Cardioascona International EMBO Cardiomyocyte Biology Conference, Virtual, June 2, 2021.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Colpan M, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Examining human genetic mutations at the pointed-end complex of cardiac muscle. University of Arizona Research Day (Virtual) Data Blitz, Tucson, AZ, May 4, 2021.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Human genetic mutations in Leiomodin 2 resulting in severe congenital dilated cardiomyopathy. Cellular And Molecular Medicine Department Seminar (virtual), Tucson, AZ, March 11, 2021.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Deciphering the mechanism contributing to congenital dilated cardiomyopathy using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Arizona Chapter- American College of Cardiology 2020 Annual Research and Case Competition, Virtual, Dec 5, 2020.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Examining human sarcomeric mutations leading to the development of congenital dilated cardiomyopathy. American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) Western Regional Conference, Virtual, Dec 5, 2020.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Pathophysiology of a congenital myopathy- from human tissue to cell-autonomous effects of a genetic mutation. MD PhD Colloquium Seminar Series, Tucson, AZ, Oct 19, 2020.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Investigating Lmod2 cardiomyopathy using human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Cellular And Molecular Medicine Department Seminar, Tucson, AZ, April 9, 2020.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy resulting from a mutation in the pointed-end complex of the cardiac sarcomere. T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant Seminar, Tucson, AZ, July 24, 2019.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Update on current research: studying congenital cardiomyopathy. MD PhD Retreat Data Blitz, Tucson, AZ, July 20, 2019.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Using iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to investigate human Lmod2 cardiomyopathy. Statewide Symposium in Regenerative Medicine, Phoenix, AZ, May 17-18, 2019.
- Iwanski J, Ferng A, Wong R, Runyan R, Khalpey Z. Harnessing new and old therapies for treatment of ischemic cardiomyopathy. Department of Medical Pharmacology Seminar Series, Tucson, AZ, April 6, 2016.
- Iwanski J, Kazui T, Le Tran P, Basken R, Wong R, Khalpey Z. Novel Method Using Rotational Thromboelastography (ROTEM) Analysis for Intraoperative Management of Device Patient with HIT. North Carolina Perfusion Society Conference, Charlotte, NC, November 14, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Kazui T, Le Tran P, Basken R, Wong R, Khalpey Z. Management of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device patient with development of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Department of Medical Pharmacology Seminar Series, Tucson, AZ, Oct 21, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Kazui T, Le Tran P, Basken R, Wong R, Khalpey Z. Novel Method Using ROTEM Analysis for Intraoperative Management of Device Patient with HIT. American Society of Extracorporeal Technology International Conference, Tampa Bay, Florida, April 17, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Ferng A, Wong R, Runyan R, Khalpey Z. Remodeling an Infarcted Heart: Novel Hybrid Treatment with Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization, Surgical and Cell Therapy. Arizona State Perfusion Society Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 28, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Ferng A, Wong R, Runyan R, Khalpey Z. Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization and Stem Cell Therapy to Remodel an Infarcted Heart. American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion International Meeting, San Antonio, TX, Feb 6, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Ferng A, Wong R, Runyan R, Khalpey Z. Intraoperative surgical interventions for myocardial revascularization. University of Arizona Cardiovascular/Thoracic Department Conference, Tucson, AZ, February 26, 2015.
- Iwanski J, Mitchell K, Ogbonnaya-Whittlesey S, Dampier C, Brofferio A. Rare manifestation of myositis and acute myocarditis associated with DiHS/DRESS. American College of Physicians- Arizona Chapter Scientific Meeting Poster Forum, Phoenix, AZ, October 28, 2023.
- Iwanski J, Kazmouz S, Li S, Stansfield B, Salem T, Perez-Miller S, Kazui T, Jena L, Uhrlaub J, Lick S, Nikolich-Zugich J, Konhilas J, Gregorio C, Khanna M, Campos S, Churko J. Antihypertensive drug treatment and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in human PSC-derived cardiomyocytes and primary endothelial cells. American College of Physicians- Arizona Chapter Scientific Meeting Poster Forum, Tucson, AZ, October 29, 2022.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Lab Overview: Using hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to study an Lmod2-related cardiomyopathy. Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Recruitment Meeting Poster Forum, Tucson, AZ, January 9, 2020.
- Iwanski J, Pappas C, Farman G, Mayfield R, Churko J, Gregorio C. Investigating human Lmod2 cardiomyopathy using hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Arizona College Of Physicians Scientific Meeting Poster Forum, Tucson, AZ, October 18, 2019.
- Yuen, M., Worgan, L., Iwanski, J. et al. Neonatal-lethal dilated cardiomyopathy due to a homozygous LMOD2 donor splice-site variant. Eur J Hum Genet (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41431-022-01043-8
- Iwanski J, Kazmouz SG, Li S, Stansfield B, Salem TT, Perez-Miller S, Kazui T, Jena L, Uhrlaub JL, Lick S, Nikolich-Žugich J, Konhilas JP, Gregorio CC, Khanna M, Campos SK, Churko JM. Antihypertensive drug treatment and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in human PSC-derived cardiomyocytes and primary endothelial cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 Sep 1:S2213-6711(21)00436-7. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.08.018.
- Iwanski, J., Colpan, M. & Gregorio, C.C. Redefining actin dynamics of the pointed-end complex in striated muscle. Trends Cell Bio.2021 Jul 12;S0962-8924(21)00122-7.doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2021.06.006.
Colpan, M., Iwanski, J. & Gregorio, C.C. CAP2 is a regulator of actin pointed end dynamics and myofibrillogenesis in cardiac muscle. Commun Biol 4, 365 (2021).https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01893-w
Iwanski J, Kraft M, Gregorio C. 2020. What you need to know about coronavirus disease (COVID-19). https://global.arizona.edu/covid-19-resources
Iwanski, J., Knapp, S. M., Avery, R., Oliva, I., Wong, R. K., Runyan, R. B., & Khalpey, Z. I. (2017). Clinical outcomes meta-analysis: Measuring subendocardial perfusion and efficacy of transmyocardial laser revascularization with nuclear imaging. Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 12(1), . https://doi.org/10.1186/s13019-017-0602-8
Ferng AS, Connell AM, Marsh KM, Qu N, Medina AO, Bajaj N, Palomares D, Iwanski J, Tran PL, Lotun K, Johnson K, Khalpey Z. Acellular porcine heart matrices: whole organ decellularization with 3D-bioscaffold & vascular preservation. J Clin Transl Res. 2017 Mar 15;3(2):260-270. PubMed PMID: 30873477; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6410671.
Iwanski J, Tran PL, Jerman C, Smith R, Kazui T, Khalpey Z. Off-pump left ventricular assist device exchange via re-do left mini-thoracotomy with original outflow graft preservation. Perfusion. 2017 Apr;32(3):179-182. doi: 10.1177/0267659116677572. Epub 2016 Oct 28. PubMed PMID: 27794072.
Iwanski J, Kazui T, Le Tran P, Basken R, Wong RK, Khalpey Z. Novel method using rotational thromboelastography analysis for intraoperative management of device patient with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2016 Dec;27(8):943-947. PubMed PMID: 26757013.
Kazui T, Tran PL, Echeverria A, Jerman CF, Iwanski J, Kim SS, Smith RG, Khalpey ZI. Minimally invasive approach for percutaneous CentriMag right ventricular assist device support using a single PROTEKDuo Cannula. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Aug 4;11(1):123. doi: 10.1186/s13019-016-0515-y. PubMed PMID: 27487837; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4973083.
Iwanski J, Wong RK, Larson DF, Ferng AS, Runyan RB, Goldstein S, Khalpey Z. Remodeling an infarcted heart: novel hybrid treatment with transmyocardial revascularization and stem cell therapy. Springerplus. 2016 Jun 16;5(1):738. doi: 10.1186/s40064-016-2355-6. eCollection 2016 Jun 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 27376006; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4909685.
Tran PL, Kazui T, Perovic V, Mikail P, Lick S, Smith R, Betterton EW, Venkat R, Iwanski J, Wong RK, Slepian MJ, Khalpey Z. Case Report: Disparate flow in HeartMate II patient with extensive left ventricle repair. Perfusion. 2016 May;31(4):349-52. doi: 10.1177/0267659115614639. Epub 2015 Nov 2. PubMed PMID: 26531760.
Sadatsafavi M, Rousseau R, Chen W, Zhang W, Lynd L, FitzGerald JM; Economic Burden of Asthma Study Team.. The preventable burden of productivity loss due to suboptimal asthma control: a population-based study. Chest. 2014 Apr;145(4):787-93. PubMed PMID: 24337140.
Fitzpatrick SM, Gries R, Khaskin G, Peach DA, Iwanski J, Gries G. Populations of the gall midge Dasineura oxycoccana on cranberry and blueberry produce and respond to different sex pheromones. J Chem Ecol. 2013 Jan;39(1):37-49. doi: 10.1007/s10886-012-0230-7. Epub 2013 Jan 8. PubMed PMID: 23297107.