Montefiore Einstein Department of Medicine

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo and Dr. Richard Kitsis Awarded Leducq Grant

Julio Madrigal-Matute Ana Maria Cuervo Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx NY
Julio Madrigal-Matute, PhD and Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo and Dr. Richard Kitsis have been awarded a five-year, $6 million grant from the Paris-based Fondation Leducq for a collaborative study entitled "Modulating Autophagy to Treat Cardiovascular Disease".

The study will examine molecular connections between autophagy, the mechanism that contributes to recycling of cellular materials, and metabolism and mitochondrial function, processes known to play important roles in maintenance of normal cardiovascular function. Additionally, researchers will investigate whether autophagy protects or damages heart and vascular cells, and test autophagy-influencing drugs for their ability to preserve heart and blood vessel function. 

Richard Kitsis Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Richard N. Kitsis, MD

Dr. Kitsis is Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Cell Biology, Dr. Gerald and Myra Dorros Chair in Cardiovascular Disease, and Director of the Wilf Family Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Cuervo is Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases), Developmental & Molecular Biology, and Anatomy & Structural Biology and Robert and the Renée Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases. Dr. Yun Chen and Dr. Julio Madrigal-Matute are designated Leducq fellows. Dr. Chen is a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Kitsis laboratory, and a specialist in mitochondrial dynamics and function. Dr. Madrigal-Matute is a postdoctoral fellow in the Cuervo laboratory and an expert in atherosclerosis and autophagy in the cardiovascular system.

Evripidis Gavathiotis Cardiology Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Evripidis Gavathiotis, PhD

Dr. Evripidis Gavathiotis, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Biochemistry, will serve as a consultant to the project and provide novel small molecules influencing autophagy and expertise in drug discovery. Dr. Gavathiotis' laboratory uses chemical and structural biology approaches to develop novel pharmacological strategies and prototype therapeutics targeting cell death and survival signaling pathways that are deregulated in diseases.

Drs. Cuervo, Kitsis, Gavathiotis, Chen, and Madrigal-Matute will team with colleagues from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/University of Texas Southwestern, Kings College (London, UK), Gustave Roussy (France), University of Padua (Italy), and Maastricht University (Netherlands) for this project.

Yun Chen Cardiology Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Yun Chen, PhD

Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence grants facilitate collaboration and exchange of personnel among different laboratories to work on a common project oriented to the development of novel therapeutics against cardiovascular disorders. Dr. Kitsis and Dr. Cuervo's program was one of four selected from an extremely competitive field this year, an indication of the foundation’s enthusiasm for the proposal and faith that the collaborative work of their network will significantly improve knowledge and treatment in the field of cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. David Tancredi, Executive Director of the Fondation Leducq.

Dr. Bernice Morrow, Professor of Genetics, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, and Pediatrics (Cardiology) also landed a Leducq grant this year, meaning that Einstein researchers hold two of a possible four of the esteemed awards granted worldwide.

Posted July 12, 2015  

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