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Honoring Excellence
Robert Ryan, PhD, Receives CHORI Annual Scientific Career Achievement Award

March, 2013 – CHORI is pleased to announce that Senior Scientist Robert Ryan, PhD, Chair of the Center for the Prevention of Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes, has received CHORI's Annual Scientific Career Achievement Award for his distinguished research on apolipoproteins, the proteins responsible for transporting lipids through the bloodstream. Understanding the structural and functional mechanisms of apolipoproteins is critically important basic research required to develop novel treatments and preventative strategies for diseases related to cholesterol metabolism, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and early onset Alzheimer's disease.

“Many outstanding scientists from CHORI and the hospital have been presented this award in the past, and I'm touched and moved by being included in that group,” says Dr. Ryan. “I only hope that I can live up to the reputation that this award has established. It is quite an honor.”
“Bob is an internationally recognized researcher, who has sustained a consistently high level of research over an exceptional career.” - Alexander Lucas, CHORI Executive Director



The 2010 recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award, Dr. Ryan has been internationally recognized as a leader in the field of lipoprotein metabolism. Dr. Ryan is currently investigating apolipoprotein A-V (apoA-V), a low abundance protein discovered in 2001 that is made only in the liver and secreted into the plasma, where it binds and associates with plasma lipoproteins.

Researchers believe that apoA-V facilitates the break down of circulating lipoproteins, allowing for the uptake and utilization of the lipid cargo they carry. Certain genetic variations in the APOA5 gene, which codes the apoA-V protein, are strongly correlated with elevated triacylglycerol (TG) which, in turn, dramatically increases the risk for metabolic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and the so called metabolic syndrome.

Recent research in the Ryan lab has shown that gene transfer using an adeno-associated virus significantly lowers plasmaTG levels in hypertriglyceridemic APOA5 knockout mice. The results indicate that Dr. Ryan has at a minimum discovered a powerful tool for understanding the mechanisms by which variations in APOA5 ultimately increase disease risk, as well as having identified a potential new gene therapy for use in the future.

"The Career Achievement Award is meant to recognize outstanding achievement over the span of an entire career. Bob is an internationally recognized researcher, who has sustained a consistently high level of research over an exceptional career," says Dr. Lucas.

“Just as the NIH recognized his work with a MERIT Award in 2010, the medical staff in our organization wanted to recognize the long-term commitment Bob has made to excellence in his research.”

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Monday, May 20, 2013 3:19 PM

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