Feinberg awarded fourth AHA research center

Northwestern Now: Summaries

Mary McDermott, MD, will lead a newly-announce vascular research center sponsored by the American Heart Association
Northwestern now boasts more AHA research networks than any other institution
The American Heart Association has awarded Feinberg its fourth sponsored research network center, focusing on calf muscle pathology and disability in peripheral artery disease.
American Heart Association (AHA) Strategically Focused Research Networks (SFRN) are consortiums of three to five centers across different institutions working simultaneously within a single cardiovascular disease area. Partner institutions for the new Vascular Disease Research Network include Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, University of Kentucky in Lexington, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
This newly-awarded center is Northwestern Medicine’s fourth — the most of any institution in the country — and will be led by Mary M. McDermott, MD, Jeremiah Stamler Professor.
“Centers will meet together at least yearly and center directors have regular telephone calls to discuss collaborative research opportunities in vascular disease,” said McDermott, also a professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, and of Preventative Medicine. “The goal is to facilitate highly productive multidisciplinary research in vascular disease with leading established experts. Training the next generation of scientists in vascular disease is also a network priority.”
Investigators have come to realize the importance of calf muscle pathology as an important marker of functional impairment and decline in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to McDermott. Northwestern’s SFRN Center will conduct three studies to establish ischemia-related calf muscle pathological characteristics, with the eventual goal of identifying therapeutic interventions to prevent mobility loss in PAD.
First, a basic science project will study abnormalities in specific mitochondrial markers to determine whether they differ in people with and without PAD, taking advantage of the large repository of muscle biopsy specimens from PAD patients stored at Northwestern. This project will be led by Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, …

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