Fellow Spotlight: Bettina Heidecker, MD

Dr. Bettina Heidecker was born in Austria and grew up in the town of Gmunden. She earned her medical degree from Innsbruck Medical University, and began a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular research at the Johns Hopkins University, working with Dr. Joshua Hare. When he was recruited to the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, she followed him to continue her research and to complete residency in internal medicine.

Her research investigated the role of gene expression in heart failure, identifying a cluster of genes that was very predictive for how well or poorly patients with newly diagnosed heart failure were likely to do in the future. She and her colleagues also worked to improve diagnosis in heart failure, discovering a molecular signature that was highly predictive of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle usually caused by an infection.

“I got fascinated by cardiology when I started my research in that field,” said Dr. Heidecker. “I was especially impressed by all the compensatory mechanisms that are activated in the setting of heart failure.” She chose UCSF for her fellowship because of the combination of rigorous clinical training and extensive research opportunities. “The faculty take time to sit down with you and discuss cases, and lectures are tailored to the questions we encounter when we treat patients,” said Dr. Heidecker. She is especially interested in heart failure and plans to continue her research in that field.

Dr. Heidecker enjoys running, hiking and windsurfing, and looks forward to skiing this winter.