Marquette doctoral student named Aurora Research Institute Colton Scholar

Jan. 28, 2020

Christopher BealMILWAUKEE — Christopher Beal, a doctoral student at Marquette University, was named Aurora Research Institute’s first Colton Scholar in Cardiology Research.

Beal, who is completing his doctorate in computational sciences, is developing software that aims to predict serious cardiac events in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy using electrical activity of the patient’s heart.

“The software will use machine learning methods to recognize patterns in electrocardiograms,” Beal said. “The software will be designed specifically to aid the work of cardiologists, providing another tool to help them better identify high-risk patients and quickly determine the right course of treatment.”

The Colton Scholar program was made possible through a generous $1 million donation to Aurora Health Care Foundation. The fund, which is in honor of A. Jamil Tajik, MD, was created with the intention of providing a researcher the opportunity to advance understanding of cardiovascular disease under the mentorship of Tajik, who is the president emeritus of Aurora Cardiovascular Services and an internationally known cardiovascular disease expert.

“Our graduate program is designed to equip students with a distinctive blend of theoretical and computational skills, for employment in industry, research laboratories and institutions of higher education,” said Dr. Gary Krenz, a professor in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and Beal’s doctoral research advisor. “Christopher’s research is an outstanding example of the important, challenging 21th century interdisciplinary problems that our students embrace. We are proud of the work that he is doing as his research could make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.”

Tajik, Arshad Jahangir, MD, and M. Fuad Jan, MD, of Aurora Health Care are Beal’s advisors on the Colton Scholar project.

The Aurora Research Institute is part of Advocate Aurora Health, one of the 10 largest not-for-profit health systems in the United States. The institute is a leader in cardiovascular research, including preclinical studies, clinical trials and clinical outcomes research, and conducted more than 230 total cardiovascular research projects in 2019.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or