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$1.4M awarded for cardiovascular research

London, ON – The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario announced more than $1.4-million in new funding for scientists at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine, Lawson Health Research Institute and Robarts Research Institute.

“The incidence of heart and stroke disease continues to rise in Canada and the risk factors associated with these diseases are the leading reasons for family doctor visits,” says Carol Herbert, dean, Western’s Schulich School of Medicine. “Today’s investment will allow scientists in London to advance knowledge in the causes and treatments, aimed at prevention as well as improving the care and quality of life for those who suffer from these diseases.”

"The continued support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario makes an important contribution to research in London," says Dr Mark Poznansky, Robarts’ president and scientific director. "These studies aim to shed light on fundamental questions in heart disease and stroke; answering those questions will improve the odds for patients everywhere."

Highlights of the funding include:

Dr Morris Karmazyn, professor in the department of physiology & pharmacology, Schulich School of Medicine, receives $95,296 in the first year of a four-year grant for the first in-depth assessment of the role of aging on heart failure. The goal of Karmazyn’s research is to discover the mechanisms that contribute to heart failure and identify new and effective therapies for treating it.

Dr Murray Huff, co-director of the vascular biology group at Robarts Research Institute and professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine leads the pack, receiving $133,489 in the first year of a five-year grant. Dr Huff is researching the regulation of ApoB metabolism, and its relationship to atherosclerosis the process in which deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery.

Dr Gerald Wisenberg, scientist in the imaging program at Lawson and professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine, has been awarded $99,030 in the first year of a two-year grant for his research using bone marrow stem cells to repair left ventricular structure and function in a model of myocardial infarction.

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario has been providing research support since 1956, awarding more than $500 million cumulative to date. Most of the funding from the Foundation supports basic science research. This research investigates the basic mechanisms of the circulatory system and how heart disease and strokes develop. Basic research is the “foundation” of all other types of research and holds the key to early prevention and treatment," says Laura Syron, Vice President, Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.