In the news / Cardiovascular

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Dr. Judith Su runs the UArizona Little Sensor Lab, where researchers are working to sense tiny amounts – down to a single molecule – of everything from doping agents to biomarkers for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Lyme disease and, yes, even COVID-19. Dr. Su, biomedical engineering and optical sciences professor and a member of the BIO5 Institute, has received a $1.82 million, five-year Maximizing Investigators' Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
 
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One of the most significant questions about the novel coronavirus is whether people who are infected are immune from reinfection and, if so, for how long. Drs. Deepta Bhattacharya and Janko Nikolich-Žugich, University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers and members of BIO5 Institute, determined the answer by studying the production of antibodies from a sample of nearly 6,000 people. Finding showed that immunity persists for at least several months after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
 
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Menopause is a “state of accelerated aging” that can significantly affect health in many ways, says BIO5 member and UArizona professor in the Department of Physiology, Dr. Heddwen Brooks. It’s known that prior to menopause, women generally have lower blood pressure than men. They also have greater protection against cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death worldwide—as well as kidney disease and diabetic complications. The opposite is true after menopause and Dr. Brooks' research seeks to understand why.
 
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A new study by the University of Arizona is looking into COVID-19 immunity, which includes how long it will last and if you can get it more than once. Dr. Jeff Burgess, UArizona Associate Dean of Research and BIO5 member, along with other researchers said just because you've had COVID-19, doesn't mean you're in the clear. According to the CDC, there are no confirmed to date of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within three months of initial infection. The CDC also said, if a person has recovered and has new symptoms the person may need an evaluation for re-infection.
 
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SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona researchers. The finding may explain why nearly half of all people who get COVID-19 experience few or no symptoms, even though they are able to spread the disease, according to the study's corresponding author Dr. Rajesh Khanna, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson's Department of Pharmacology professor and member of the BIO5 Institute.
 
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University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers are moving closer to conducting clinical trials on what would be the first therapeutic drug for vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Research by Meredith Hay, PhD, a UArizona professor of physiology, and member of the BIO5 Institute and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, may offer a remedy for vascular dementia. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs that specifically treat vascular dementia, which involves cognitive impairment caused by injuries – often stroke related – to the vessels supplying blood to the brain.
 
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Dr. Giuliana Repetti, a nationally accomplished young investigator in cardiovascular science, worked with BIO5 faculty Drs. Steven Goldman and Jil Tardiff. Dr. Repetti developed a patch that can be surgically implanted on the epicardial surface of the heart as a treatment for heart failure. She was recently awarded the nationally prestigious Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellowship to work in a genetics lab at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
 
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The BIO5 Institute solicited COVID-19 research proposals for seed grants supplied by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF).

 
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As of April 28, more than 6,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state of Arizona.

 
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Dr. Carol Gregorio has been appointed to the roles of Interim Executive Director for UArizona Health Sciences Global and Online, and Assistant Vice Provost for Global Health Sciences. Dr. Gregorio is internationally recognized as a leader in heart muscle research. She joined the College of Medicine – Tucson faculty in 1996, and is the head of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. She also serves as the co-director of the Sarver Heart Center, director of the Molecular Cardiovascular Research Program, and member of the BIO5 Institute.
 
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The UArizona found itself at the center of many of the world's most captivating news stories in 2019. From its leadership role in capturing mankind's first image of a black hole to discovering a protein that prevents mosquitoes from hatching, opening the possibility of developing new drugs that could act as birth control for mosquito populations, UArizona led research generated international headlines this year.
 
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Acoustoelectric cardiac imaging, a new, noninvasive cardiac imaging technology developed at the University of Arizona, has been licensed to startup ElectroSonix. Dr. Russell Witte, BIO5 faculty and Medical Imaging professor at the UArizona College of Medicine-Tucson, developed the patented technology that provides improvements over current cardiac imaging technologies such as electroanatomical mapping, which provides low-resolution images that make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of cardiac arrhythmias.
 
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In an interview with MD Magazine, Dr. Monica Kraft, Department of Medicine chair at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, detailed her session on interpreting gender sex differences in lung disease, and what clinicians need to know when monitoring and caring for women at risk of asthma.
 
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Dr. Irving Kron, a BIO5 member, professor of surgery with the UA College of Medicine - Tucson, and senior associate vice president for UA Health Sciences, has been named the new contact principal investigator (PI) for the UA Health Sciences and Banner Health 'All of Us' research program and precision medicine initiative. In his new role, Dr. Kron will lead the multiple UA and Banner Health established PI leadership teams, which include a team led by fellow BIO5 member Dr. Eric Reiman.
 
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Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that has been associated with increased mortality. A UA physician-scientist has worked alongside BIO5 faculty members Drs. Raymond Woosley and Bonnie Lafleur, resulting in the awarding of a grant for research to analyze databases from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Banner Health, to better understand the relationship between the sleep disorder and death.
 
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Thrombocytopenia, or HIT, is a deficiency of blood platelets, the cells that help blood clot. A team of UA College of Medicine-Tucson researchers including Associate Vice President and Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics at UA Health Sciences, Dr. Yves Lussier, is working in support of a new grant with the aim to identify predictive and early biomarkers for HIT.
 
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Although rare, common medications – including azithromycin and ondansetron – can contribute to prolonged heart-recharging intervals, which may lead to serious complications and hospital stays. To address this problem, UA researchers including College of Medicine-Phoenix professor Dr. Raymond Woosley, work to implement alerts embedded in patients’ electronic health records to assist health-care providers in mitigating sudden cardiac death.
 
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Researchers have found that emphysema may be a unique risk factor for aneurysm, potentially giving doctors another tool to identify people with aneurysms