The results are in for this year's Grant Program.
We had an overwhelming response to this year's grant program with many qualified applications worldwide. Many projects were of extremely high quality and deciding on which applications to accept was very difficult. Ultimately, our review panel decided on awarding grants to the following projects:
Dr. Lars Maegdefessel is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Karolinska Institute and University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. His research is focused on the therapeutic and biomarker potential of non-coding RNAs in cardiovascular disease. His team utilizes human biobank material for microRNA and lncRNA profiling studies. Results from these studies are extensively tested in experimental models, enabling his team to identify novel therapeutic strategies on a molecular basis to combat the burden of cardiovascular disease. His currently proposed project aims at identifying lncRNAs being crucial for atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability (in patients with carotid stenosis), as well as abdominal aortic aneurysm development.
Dr. Graham Michael Strub, M.D./Ph.D. is an Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery resident at the University of Washington in Seattle. His research at the Seattle Children's Research Institute focuses on propanolol-mediated regression of infantile hemangioma, a common vascular tumor of infancy. The goal of this project is the identification of the propanolol-responsive miRNA sequences that are responsible for the aberrant angiogenesis present in hemangioma, as well as the development of miRNA screening tests to predict responsiveness to the drug propanolol.
Dr. Søren Nielsen is a Post doctoral researcher at the Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism at Rigshospitalet in Denmark. His research focus is long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and their role in brown adipogenesis in humans. Human brown fat is intensely studied due to its potential anti-diabetic properties. The aim of the proposed project is to investigate the function of five lncRNAs substantially expressed in white fat and barely detectable in brown fat cells. LncRNAs are potent regulators of gene expression through chromatin modifications and therefore possible determinants of brown versus white fat cell fate. Identifying a lncRNA that turn excess white fat into brown could provide a tool for counteracting obesity and its associated diseases.