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Building Toward the Future
CHORI Scientist Involved in Prestigious Transatlantic Research Network Grant

CHORI is pleased to announce that senior scientist Ronald Krauss, MD, is among a prestigious group of scientists whose research provides the platform for a highly coveted and competitive Transatlantic Network of Excellence in Cardivascular Disease award announced this July.

The premier granting institution, the Fondation Leducq, is dedicated to improving human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease (CVD), and provides multi-million dollar awards to scientists leading CVD research collaborations between the United States and Europe.

"The institution promotes excellence in cardiovascular research. The awards are very competitive because they provide the funding necessary to carry out research that is very much like large, NIH-funded grants in terms of the scope and capability that this kind of funding provides," explains Dr. Krauss.

The current grant, Molecular Mechanisms of Novel Genes Associated with Plasma Lipids and Cardiovascular Disease, is based on the collaborative work of 13 investigators, across two continents and four countries (Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.), including CHORI's own Dr. Krauss.

"The field of biology in the area of genetics and genomics has begun to come together in a way that brings to mind the golden age of high energy physics in which big teams would collaborate," says Dr. Krauss.
“Researchers have begun to recognize that no single lab could possibly have the breadth of expertise and technology required to answer all the questions we have and at the level of detail we need to move CVD research forward.”
The newly awarded Fondation Leducq grant brings together the best researchers in their respective research areas, with each group providing an essential element of the whole, from experts in population-based studies and gene sequencing to experts in genetic modeling to create mice that express or don't express specific genes.

"It isn't just a matter of identifying this genetic variant or that genetic variant, but what those variants actually do, and how what they do fits into the larger biological picture," says Dr. Krauss. "The only way to do that is to integrate research that takes the multiple aspects of genetic variation into account."

During a decades-long career, Dr. Krauss has been performing pioneering research in lipids and lipoproteins and their relations to CVD risk.
"Our lab has considerable expertise in understanding lipids and lipid metabolism under various conditions. Our unique contribution to the overall project will be looking at how different genetic strains or variants influence the overall lipoprotein profile," explains Dr. Krauss.

"This work will be augmented in a large part by our new ion mobility analysis procedure, which will allow us to dissect the lipoproteins into their individual components to provide a meaningful picture of how these genes may be affecting individual lipid profiles and cardiovascular disease risk."

The grant comes on the heels of two other multi-investigator collaborative projects in CVD research in which Dr. Krauss has been involved that are featured in the August 5 issue of Nature. In both cases, investigators utilized genome-wide association studies (GWAs), which scan an entire genome for potential candidate genes contributing to disease, as the basis of the research.
The Fondation Leducq grant builds on these developments to begin the groundbreaking work of taking CVD research to the next level.

"The GWAs are really just a first approximation. What we need to then do is actually look at every major candidate gene in great detail to find all the possible genetic variants to form a comprehensive picture of the impact of that gene," says Dr. Krauss.

The other element of the grant, which is where Dr. Krauss' program is focused, is to evaluate the functional effects of these genes. As Dr. Krauss explains, "If one can identify mechanisms by which the gene variants could influence CVD risk, we can find new directions for understanding disease progression so that new forms of therapy can be devised."
“By identifing mechanisms by which gene variants could influence CVD risk, we can find new directions for understanding disease progression so that new forms of therapy can be devised.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 8:19 AM

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