PHILADELPHIA – An international team of researchers led by Daniel J. Rader, MD, associate director of Penn Medicine’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, has received a $6 million grant from the Paris-based Fondation Leducq to study the molecular genetics of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The team’s proposal, “Molecular Mechanisms of Novel Genes Associated with Plasma Lipids and Cardiovascular Disease,” was selected to receive the award through the Fondation’s Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program.
The investigation will focus on determining the molecular mechanisms of some of the most compelling genes to come out of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for coronary heart disease and heart attack. Specifically, the research team will study six novel genes found by GWAS to be associated with heart disease in order to rigorously assess their function in physiological processes associated with cardiovascular disease and whether or not they are viable targets for future therapeutic developments.
The multidisciplinary, international research team includes experts in epidemiology, human genetics, molecular and cell biology, and animal physiology. In addition to identifying new potential therapeutic targets, this research program will also establish an infrastructure for the systematic evaluation of future GWAS results in the area of cardiovascular disease.
The award is funded through the Fondation Leducq’s Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program. Each research network receives $6 million over five years to support a collaborative research program involving European and North American investigators. In addition to Rader, other scientists involved in the study include:
- European Coordinator: Christian Weber, MD, RWTH, Aachen University, Germany
- Members: Endre Kiss-Toth, PhD, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; Thomas Quertermous, MD, Stanford Cardiovascular Medicine, US; Sekar Kathiresan, MD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, US; Mason Freeman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, US; Heiko Runz, MD, University of Heidelberg, Germany; Rainer Pepperkok, PhD, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany; John Danesh, PhD, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Robert Hegele, MD, University of Western Ontario, Canada; Ronald Krauss, MD, University of California, Berkeley, US; Marju Orho-Melander, MD, Lund University, Sweden; and Ira Tabas, MD, PhD, Columbia University, US.
The Fondation Leducq, a Paris-based nonprofit institution, is dedicated to improving human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.