UTICA, N.Y. -- An accomplished Harvard scientist, Dr. Maria Kontaridis is making the move to Masonic Medical Research Laboratory as their new Director of Research. She said it was an opportunity she didn't want to pass up.

"Building the Masonic Lab, really kind of restructuring it and rebuilding it from the ground up, is a wonderful opportunity, I think, for anyone, and I'm really looking forward to facilitating that," Kontaridis said.

Some of her research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms underlying both congenital heart disease and end-stage heart failure. Kontaridis wants to expand on the institution's cardiovascular research.

"We're hoping to facilitate heart failure all the way through congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy," she said. "So a lot of different areas of research that are going to continue and expand on the current foundation, which is electrophysiology, here."

Kontaridis is the fourth director of research at the institution.