Robert Weiss, MD, Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, has been awarded a five-year, $2.3 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant provides Dr. Weiss and his team the funds needed to investigate disease processes that lead to failure of heart valves.
Based on ongoing work, Dr. Weiss and his collaborators—Donald Heistad, MD, Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Kristi Anseth, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado—hope to discover medical therapies that will restore health to heart valves that have experienced injury due to aging or other processes. They will use experimental models that are engineered to mirror the properties of human heart valves. Dr. Weiss’s research will target specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) in heart valve cells, which may improve healing in the heart valves. He also intends to increase the signaling of the mechano-sensing calcium channel TRPV4 in responses to valve injury.
Using these techniques, Dr. Weiss and his team will strive toward eliminating the failure of heart valves and improving heart health. “This new work meshes nicely with ongoing innovative clinical programs at UIHC and may provide a foundation for development of new approaches to treating patients with heart valve disease,” said Dr. Weiss.
Last summer, Dr. Weiss was one of four Internal Medicine researchers who received two-year, $200,000 Innovative Project Awards from the American Heart Association.