Two researchers with the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown have received a combined total of more than $740,000 in grants to support their research into blood flow in the heart and osteoarthritis.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has awarded $358,118 to NEOMED in support of William Chilian, professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Medical Sciences in the College of Medicine, for his research on coronary physiology and flow regulation.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $383,357 to NEOMED in support of Tariq Haqqi, professor of anatomy and neurobiology in the College of Medicine, for his research on osteoarthritis.
Chilian's research efforts should enable answers regarding how blood flow is regulated to the working heart muscle and the basis by which this regulation is lost during a type of heart disease known as diabetic cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that impacts individuals diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Haqqi is looking to Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine, the two most widely practiced traditional systems in Indian medicine. In these ancient medical practices, the water extract of Butea monosperma flowers, appropriately named "flame of the forest" due to its bright orange-red color, is used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Haqqi's research aims to bring elements of this practice to conventional medicine, using BME to develop a safer and more cost-effective, therapeutic approach for the treatment and prevention of OA.
"Individuals diagnosed with diabetes are three times more likely to experience heart failure when compared to the general population," Chilian said. "Unfortunately, there are currently no effective clinical treatments for diabetic cardiomyopathy. This grant will allow us to work towards a treatment that not only halts the progression of DCM, but to also reverse its consequences."
Chilian joined the department of integrative medical sciences at NEOMED in 2007. He also conducted research and served on the faculty at Louisiana State University, the Medical College at Wisconsin, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center and the University of Iowa. He was recently honored with the national Eugene M. Landis Research Award by the Microcirculatory Society Inc., and was named the national Carl J. Wiggers Award Winner by the American Physiological Society.
Safe and effective treatment of OA continues to be an un-met clinical need, and alternative approaches to treatment are often rejected or considered a secondary option by medical professionals.
"With an aging population, osteoarthritis will continue to impact more and more people," said Dr. Jeff Wenstrup, chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the College of Medicine at NEOMED. "Dr. Haqqi's research has the potential to help individuals suffering from OA to avoid surgical joint replacement for a much safer and less invasive treatment."
Haqqi joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at NEOMED in 2012. He earned a doctorate in zoology from Aligarh Muslim University in India and a certificate in bioinformatics from the University of Oxford in England. In addition to his work at AMU, Haqqi has conducted research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and served on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the University of South Carolina and the Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He has more than 25 years of research experience in the field of inflammatory joint diseases.
The R01 Grant is the original and oldest grant mechanism used by the NIH and provides support for health-related research in an area representing the investigator's specific interest and competencies.
Chilian serves as principal investigator for his research project grant, which peaks at $1,457,705 at the end of the proposed four-year period.
Haqqi serves as principal investigator for his grant, which peaks at up to $2,276,298 at the end of the proposed five-year period.