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MU awarded $8.5 million to explore tiny vessels' role in cardiovascular diseases
Date:5/6/2010

One of the largest medical research grants ever awarded to the University of Missouri was announced today by MU scientists and administrators. The National Institutes of Health grant will help answer important questions about such prevalent health problems as high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. The conditions are closely associated with cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in Missouri and the nation.

The $8.47 million program project grant from the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will fund an integrated research effort involving more than 20 scientists across campus. Their discoveries will further understanding of the smallest blood vessels in the body, collectively known as the microcirculation. How the miniscule vessels contribute to health and disease is a growing field of study for cardiovascular researchers.

"The grant has given us a very large opportunity that will help us focus on the many questions we have about microvascular function," said Gerald Meininger, PhD, the program director and project principal investigator, as well as director of MU's Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "By focusing the efforts of many scientists, we hope to further understand the underlying conditions that contribute to many different types of cardiovascular diseases."

Life literally depends on the microcirculation. The network of vessels, with walls as small as a single cell thick, are responsible for transferring gases, nutrition and hormones throughout the body. The vessels also remove waste, such as carbon dioxide, from organs and tissues. The ability of these processes to function properly, over and over again through many of miles of tiny vessels, is what determines the health of the entire cardiovascular system and all the organs and tissues it supports.

"MU has spent decades developing one of the most productive groups of cardiovascular investigators in the world, with a spec
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Contact: Laura Gerding
gerdingla@health.missouri.edu
573-882-9193
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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