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Director's Report

photo of M.A.Q. Siddiqui, PH.D.

M.A.Q. Siddiqui, PH.D.
Professor and Chairman

 

 

 

 

Biomedical research is presently undergoing a revolution in its approach to diseases and their treatment. This is no less true for the cardiovascular sciences in which recent advances in the understanding of the basic molecular processes of cardiac and muscle cells have provided a wealth of information applicable to the study and treatment of cardiovascular and muscular diseases. As the secrets of the human genome become revealed to us, both basic and clinical scientists stand to reap the rewards of this knowledge. Using DNA technology it is possible to find model systems in which an event or disease in question is ascribed to a single or a few genes. This provides a potential to target genes for diagnostic purposes and to perform therapeutic gene therapy in multiple diseases, such as, hypertension, ischemia, hypertrophy, atherosclerosis, and muscular dystrophy.

Since its inception in 1993, the Center for Cardiovascular and Muscle Research (CCMR) has provided a scientific infrastructure that has facilitated the convergence of basic with clinical research. This convergence has brought the latest technologies of the ongoing revolution in molecular genetics to bear on problems in clinical cardiology and muscle diseases. Increasingly, a strong and enduring collaborative effort is being forged between the basic scientists and the clinicians of our medical center. This is the overriding aim of the CCMR.

In its role as a training ground for future physician scientists, the Center acts as a focal point for the transfer of on-hand molecular expertise to medical fellows in their pursuit of clinical questions pertinent to cardiovascular and muscle disorders. During the past five years, scores of clinical fellows and faculty spent six months to a year doing on-hand research work in basic science laboratories on projects of mutual interest.

Research interest groups were created in which the CCMR investigators from different disciplines collaborate and ultimately compete for extra-mural funding to support their research efforts. Two major grant proposals, one for Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) and the other for training for fellows and students (Training Grant) were recently submitted to NIH for funding consideration.

Two new faculty, Drs. Sowers and Hussain, with international reputation and expertise in diabetic cardiomyopathy and lipoprotein metabolism respectively, were added to the Center and efforts for recruitment of others with expertise in atherosclerosis and gene targeting techniques are in progress.

Another important objective is to provide an education forum by inviting speakers from outside to give state-ofthe- art seminars on subjects that relate to the biology of the cardiovascular system in the broadest sense. Scores of distinguished researchers were invited to our campus for seminar presentations. A highly successful intramural symposium entitled "Impact of Molecular Biology on Cardiovascular and Muscle Research" was conducted in June, 1995 at the Campus which attracted a large audience and facilitated useful exchange of information.

In the following pages of this DPF Brochure, we have highlighted the research programs of the CCMR members affiliated with various departments of the College of Medicine in both basic science and clinical divisions. I hope this publication will convey to the readers the breadth, depth and excitement of research being pursued at our Center.