Aortopathy Alliance Research Center (UK-AARC)

Principal Investigators

Research Priority Area

  • Cardiovascular

How to Join

If you are interested in joining this alliance, please contact either Dr. Lisa Cassis or Dr. Alan Daugherty.

Summary

Aortopathies, diseases of the aorta, cause specific regions of the aorta to pathologically dilate, dissect, or rupture, with high risk for death. There is no cure at present. Although there are advances in surgical treatment, mortality rate remains high because of the nature of the diseases and a lack of strong guidelines about the best time for the surgery.

With funding from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Research Alliance Initiative, the University of Kentucky Aortopathy Alliance Research Center (UK-AARC) will work to use the existing strengths of basic science researchers to enhance the translation of their research to the clinical and population arena, speeding the bench to bedside process. UK-AARC is especially focusing on research that will aid in the goal of developing effective pharmacological treatments as alternatives to surgery.

Alan Daugherty, PhD, DSc, professor and chair, department of physiology, is one of two principal investigators for UK-AARC. Dr. Daugherty has researched how vascular pathologies develop, with a primary focus on atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm, for over three decades. His lab is now primarily focused on thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissection. Lisa Cassis, PhD, University of Kentucky Vice President for Research, will serve as the co-principal investigator. Dr. Cassis has broad experience in cardiovascular pharmacology, from training as a pharmacist through to serving as chair of the department of pharmacology. She studies the renin-angiotensin system, the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and circulation, particularly as it affects cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

The translation of research into clinical practice depends on close interaction between basic science researchers and physician scientists. The group has plans to work together on projects and to share data, benefiting both researchers and physicians. UK-AARC members will focus their first collaboration on a major goal, the development of an aortopathy-focused photoplethysmography, a device measuring blood flow, for use in clinical practice.

Alliance Members

  • Yasir Alsiraj, PhD, Post-Doc – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Joseph Bobadilla, MD, Professor - Department of Surgery
  • Michael Bounds, MD, Assistant Professor - Department of Surgery
  • Christoph Brehm, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Engineering
  • Roberto Cardarelli, DO, Professor and Chair – Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Lisa A. Cassis, PhD, Professor, VPR – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Alan Daugherty, PhD, Chair and Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Eric Endean, MD, Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Fred de Beer, MD, Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Ming Gong, MD, Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Zhenheng Guo, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Dong Lee, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Hong S. Lu, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • David Minion, MD, Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Amanda Romesberg, DO, Assistant Professor – Department of Radiology
  • Hisashi Sawada, MD, PhD, Post-Doc –  Department of Physiology
  • Mary Sheppard, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Preetha Shridas, PhD, Research Faculty – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Vince Sorrell, MD, Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Venkat Subramanian, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Lisa Tannock, MD, Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Samuel Tyagi, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Nancy Webb, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Jonathan Wenk, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Engineering
  • Eleftherios Xenos, MD, Professor - Department of Surgery
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