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Rhode Island Hospital fellow receives funding to support research in myocardial perfusion

(Providence, R.I.) Antonio Lassaletta, M.D., a fellow in cardiothoracic surgery research at Rhode Island Hospital, has been awarded a Research Fellowship from the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education (TSFRE) to support his project, "Improving Myocardial Perfusion in a Diabetic Swine Model of Chronic Cardiac Ischemia." TSFRE awarded just two Research Fellowships in 2011; Lassaletta's fellowship is for two years.

TSFRE fellowships are designed to provide salary and/or direct experimental support for surgeons and surgical trainees who wish to acquire research skills. Particular emphasis is placed on evidence of supervisory interaction in the training environment. Lassaletta's research is being conducted under the guidance of Frank Sellke, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. Sellke is nationally and internationally recognized for his clinical skills, commitment to excellence in patient care, and seminal and cutting-edge National Institutes of Health-supported cardiovascular research.

"Dr. Lassaletta has demonstrated a strong commitment to cardiothoracic care," said Sellke. "His work ethic and dedication to furthering patient care through research findings is commendable, and this fellowship is greatly deserved. The TSFRE is very selective in determining the recipients of these fellowships, and I am encouraged by their support of Dr. Lassaletta and his work."

Lassaletta's research measures the changes in blood supply to the heart in swine in order to investigate the effects of regenerative medicine. His goal is to determine if swine with Type I diabetes, suffering from reduced blood flow to the heart possibly brought on by coronary artery disease, will show improvement after the subjects receive a surgically implanted pump that encourages blood vessel growth in the heart, and that these improvements will be sustained with the addition of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a widely used FDA-unregulated supplement that has shown improved blood flow to the heart in humans.

The purpose of The Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education is to increase the knowledge base of cardiothoracic surgery and to enhance the knowledge of all thoracic surgeons so that ultimately patients may be better served. The TSFRE is committed to increasing resources by enlisting the participation of all thoracic surgeons and others who support its purpose. The Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education supports research and education initiatives to:

  • Increase knowledge and enhance treatment of patients with cardiothoracic diseases
  • Develop the skills of cardiothoracic surgeons as surgeon-scientists and health policy leaders
  • Strengthen society's understanding and trust in the profession


Contact: Ellen Slingsby

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