December 6, 2022 by
Vermont Center for Cardiovascular and Brain Health
These awards, supported wholly by funds from UVM entities, provide $200,000 over 2 years to fund meritorious research from early career faculty. We are very grateful to Deans from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Mathematical Sciences, and the Graduate College, as well as the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont, for their support of this program. In addition, we would like to acknowledge matching fund support from the Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Medicine.
Mimicking Exercise Intolerance in Human Cardiac Slice Preparations
Dr Matthew Caporizzo is a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and is a Pipeline Investigator in our Center. His work focuses on the molecular mechanisms that stiffen the failing heart and developing a program to test new therapies that reverse pathological stiffening of the heart.
Exertional intolerance is a common early feature of heart disease caused by stiffening of the heart. Developing therapies to soften the failing heart has been hindered by a lack of experimental techniques capable of measuring exertional capacity in isolated cardiac tissue. The aim of this proposal is to develop the first-of-its-kind working cardiac tissue preparation to assess the role of stiffness on exertional tolerance. Having recently identified microtubule stabilization as a source of stiffness in the failing heart, the Caporizzo lab will leverage this methodology to determine the potential of microtubule-based therapies to improve cardiac performance in an established rat model of heart failure. To determine the translational potential of microtubule destabilization therapies to the clinic, the Caporizzo Lab will adapt their platform accordingly to assess exertional tolerance in cardiac biopsy samples. This will enable identification of patient pools most-likely to benefit from microtubule destabilization therapies. If successful, our work will provide new pharmaceutical targets and guidance for novel microtubule-based therapy trials currently under development for the treatment of heart disease.
Evaluating Cardiovascular Care Delivery in Cancer Patients and Its Complications
Dr Mansour Gergi is a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division and is a Pipeline Investigator in our Center. His work focuses on balancing risks for bleeding and clot formation in cancer patients with cardiovascular disease.
There is a significant clinical knowledge gap on how to balance the risk of bleeding in people with cancer that are at risk for developing blood clots or thrombi. People with cardiovascular disease (CVD) are at greater risk for developing thrombi. The objective of my research is to study how cancer diagnoses affect care for patients under treatment for CVD with antithrombotics. Antithrombotics are drugs that reduce the formation of thrombi in the cardiovascular system. A comparison of antithrombotic therapy outcomes for CVD patients with and without Cancer will be conducted to determine if those with Cancer are at greater risk for bleeding and are treated appropriately to minimize this risk. The goal of this work is to identify cancer-specific risk factors for bleeding in this patient population. These factors will allow clinicians to better assess risks versus benefits when developing a treatment plan for patients with Cancer and CVD.