Ryan Boudreau, PhD, associate professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, received a four-year, $1.5M R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Boudreau will use this funding to further examine the role of mitoregulin, a protein his team recently discovered, in cardiac biology and disease. Boudreau now holds three R01s, all of which focus on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of heart failure.
Heart attacks and failures continue to be the leading cause of mortality in the United States, affecting more than 3 million people and costing the public health care system more than $30 billion each year. Although restoration of blood flow via stent placement improves post-heart-attack survival chances, this reperfusion therapy can cause oxidative stress and further damage tissue which is also known as ischemia-reperfusion injury (IR).
“IR leads to mitochondrial calcium overload and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), both of which can trigger opening of mitochondrial pores to permeable materials,” Boudreau said. “Eventually, this could lead to cell death.”
Given that mitoregulin influences mitochondrial calcium and ROS, Boudreau says that he hopes his research team will demonstrate a role for this understudied protein in cardiac IR injury and identify human genetic variants linked with mitoeregulin expression and potentially heart failure outcomes. Together, these studies could guide the development of new therapies and uncover novel genetic risks for heart failure.