Training in Lipotoxicity-Induced Cardiovascular Complications

Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Physiology, Statistics

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Aging and obesity are primary risk factors for CVD. There is an urgent need to provide meaningful research experiences to undergraduates that will encourage their participation in rigorous post-graduate training to understand the pathophysiology and treatment of CVD. Here we leverage our strengths in cardiovascular and metabolic research at the University of Utah (UU) in general/and our particular interest in the lipotoxic sphingolipid ceramide in particular. Blood and tissue ceramides are heightened by aging and/or obesity/and associate positively with the prevalence and severity of CVD. We have unparalleled tools and core facilities to discern the mechanisms whereby this lipotoxic metabolite contributes to acute ischemic stroke (Symons)/chronic kidney disease (Ramkumar)/and dysfunction in the heart (Boudina)/endothelial cell (Chaix)/and brain (Holland). In addition to completing hypothesis-driven research/each mentee will participate in a robust educational series/social activities/and present their findings locally/regionally/and / or nationally. Our mentoring team will provide clinically-relevant research experiences and encourage qualified students to consider research careers in the cardiovascular sciences.

Stream Leaders

J. David Symons, PhD