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UW Center Advances Cardiovascular Research and Education

December 15, 2008 — In 2008, scientists at a University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy research center were awarded more than $1 million in grants for research into the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Ji Li and Sreejayan Nair were recently appointed to leadership positions in the Center for Cardiovascular Research and Alternative Medicine (C-CRAM), now in its fourth year fostering students' careers, education and teaching and scholarly exchange.

Li, assistant professor of pharmacology, succeeded Jun Ren as director and Nair, associate professor of pharmacology, replaced Bruce Culver as associate director. The founding directors of the center, Ren, professor of pharmacology, and Culver, professor and director of pharmaceutical sciences, will remain active members of the group.

Ren received funding from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to enhance his research on heart disease in patients with diabetes. He says diabetes is commonly associated with heart problems and may be considered as a cardiovascular disease.

"People with diabetes are two to four times as likely as those in the general population to suffer cardiac events or stroke, and are far less likely to survive a cardiac event should one occur," Ren says. "The cardiac risk of diabetes can be reduced if we understand what may have caused the heart problem in patients with diabetes."

Li received funding from the American Heart Association, the American Federation for Aging Research and the National Institutes for Health-National Institute on Aging to enhance the understanding of the relationship between aging and cardiovascular disease, leading to therapeutic strategies aimed at limiting cardiac damage in elderly.

Last year, C-CRAM researchers published 49 articles in national and international medical and pharmaceutical journals, received 22 research grants totaling more than $2 million and presented at 25 national and nine international conferences and seminars.

Peng Zhao, a Ph.D. candidate, conducts research in Ji Li and Jun Ren's laboratory at the UW Center for Cardiovascular Research and Alternative Medicine. (UW Photo)

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