Navigation Links
Rice's Grande-Allen wins AHA Established Investigator Award
Date:1/5/2012

HOUSTON -- (Jan. 5, 2012) -- Rice University's Jane Grande-Allen, one of the world's foremost experts on the biomechanics of heart-valve tissue, has won an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

The award, which includes a five-year research grant, recognizes midcareer scientists who have shown "unusual promise and an established record of accomplishments." Grande-Allen, associate professor of bioengineering and a faculty investigator in Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative, is the first Rice faculty member to win the award.

"It's very competitive, in part because there aren't nearly as many awards for established investigators as there are for people who are just starting out," Grande-Allen said. "I am completely astounded and delighted that I won it. It's going to support some of the most exciting research I've ever undertaken."

Grande-Allen's group studies heart valves, the flexible, resilient flaps of tissue that open and close each time the heart beats. When valves are diseased and do not seal properly, the heart must work harder to pump blood. About 100,000 Americans per year undergo surgery for the repair or replacement of diseased heart valves.

Grande-Allen's specialty is studying the unique biological and material properties of valves so doctors can better understand and treat valve disease. For example, the bulk of material in heart valves is fibrous tissue collectively called extracellular matrix (ECM). Evidence indicates that the ECM in heart valves is different from the ECM found in any other tissue of the body. The same is true of the living cells that produce valvular ECM. Such "valvular interstitial cells" are found in no other part of the body.

Grande-Allen said recent studies indicate that specialized carbohydrate-protein assemblies called proteoglycans (PGs) as well as complex carbohydrates called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) play important but poorly understood roles in heart-valve ECM. For example, biochemists know that both of these often act as master organizers of ECM. However, there's little understanding of the specific types of PG and GAG that are most important for healthy heart valves.

Characterizing the specific PGs and GAGs within heart valves is the first goal of her project. She said it will not be easy because there are no systematic techniques for mapping the structure of PGs or GAGs. Instead, Grande-Allen's team will use a variety of genetic and biochemical techniques to try to tease out that information.

Once the researchers have identified target genes that regulate the PG and GAG structure, they'll enter the second phase of the project and try to manipulate those genes to see if they can grow valvular ECM in the lab that rivals what the body produces on its own.

"We want to transform valve biology into a more mature scientific field," she said. "There's an urgent clinical need for living, healing heart-valve replacements, especially for children, who currently need to undergo surgery every few years as they outgrow their replacement valves."

Grande-Allen said a better basic understanding of the biology of heart-valve tissue could also lead to novel therapies that could prevent or cure valve disease without surgery.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Winner Medical Group inc. Prices Offering of 1,380,000 Shares of Common Stock
2. World fertilizer prices drop dramatically after soaring to all-time highs
3. Malaysian Oil Palm Biomass Center established
4. National Center for Systems Biology to be established at Medical College
5. Modell Chair in Pediatric Immunology established
6. Biotech collaboration established to commercialize research reagents
7. Renewable energy research center to be established in southern Israel
8. 6 new research units established
9. New Tree of Life established for one of the largest groups of bacteria
10. $25M NSF center established to investigate the creation of biological machines
11. Wisconsin Center of Excellence in Genomics Science established
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Rice's Grande-Allen wins AHA Established Investigator Award
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec. 16, 2016   IdentyTechSolutions America ... management products and solutions and a cutting-edge manufacturer ... that it is offering seamless, integrated solutions that ... entrance products. The solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers with ... their facilities from crime and theft. ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... --  WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: WGBS ... that on December 13, 2016, it received a letter ... Market LLC which acknowledged that, as of December 12, ... had been at $1.00 or greater for ten consecutive ... Rule 5550(a)(2) of the Nasdaq Stock Market. ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... "Increase in mobile transactions is driving the growth of ... expected to grow from USD 4.03 billion in 2015 ... of 29.3% between 2016 and 2022. The market is ... smart devices, government initiatives, and increasing penetration of e-commerce ... to grow at a high rate during the forecast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 18, 2017 Acupath Laboratories, Inc., a ... formation of an Executive Committee that will guide the ... John Cucci , a 15-year veteran of ... of Business Development to Chief Sales Officer .  ... served in senior sales leadership roles at several leading ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Opal Kelly, a ... or PCI Express, announced the ZEM5310 USB 3.0 FPGA Module, combining a SuperSpeed ... business-card sized form factor suitable for prototyping, testing, and production-ready integration. The ZEM5310 ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data ... napabucasin, at the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held ... . Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational ... STAT3. i Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Parent Project ... fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) , ... the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Talem ... exploration of robotic technology to assist people living ... incorporate NJIT,s technology – an embedded computer, software, a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: