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UofL gets $11.6 million for diabetes and obesity research

October 23rd, 2008

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Front (left to right): Yong Li and Ewa Zuba-Surma. Back (left to right): Aruni Bhatnagar, Oleg Barski, Roberto Bolli, and Timothy O’Toole.

The University of Louisville’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology will receive $11.6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a center of excellence in diabetes and obesity research.

The Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant will provide five years of support. The grant is designed to give talented young scientists an opportunity to produce initial data in new fields of study so that they may quickly seek individual federal research grants.

“This is UofL’s third multi-million dollar COBRE grant since July 1 in a highly competitive NIH funding environment,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

“Diabetes and obesity are epidemic in Kentucky and closely related to our high level of cardiovascular disease. With this grant, we will ask the Board of Trustees to authorize us to establish a center of excellence to help us fight this deadly trio of health problems,” he added.

The grant will help build and develop a multidisciplinary research center focused on diabetes and obesity to better understand how they contribute to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, according to Aruni Bhatnagar, principal investigator on the grant. The center will build upon existing research capabilities and core facilities to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure support that research.

“Scientists are becoming more aware that diabetes and obesity result in chronic low-grade inflammation,” Bhatnagar said. “Heart disease in the leading cause of death in diabetics, yet we do not know exactly why and how diabetes leads to heart disease and how this could be prevented or treated,” he said.

The grant will allow the team to investigate “how inflammation plays a role in all three of these disorders and contributes to diabetic heart disease,” said Roberto Bolli, Institute of Molecular Cardiology director, and co-principal investigator and scientific mentor on the grant.

In addition to Bolli and Bhatnagar, team members are Yong Li, Ewa Zuba-Surma, Oleg Barski, Timothy O’Toole and Rosalinda Madonna.

“I am extremely proud of this team,” Bolli said.

This grant brings the Institute of Molecular Cardiology’s NIH research funding total to more than $51.4 million over the past decade.

Related Link
Institute of Molecular Cardiology

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