The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Creighton University nearly $5 million in grants to the School of Medicine.
One of the grants will go to study obesity and fat around the heart.
Dr. Devendra K. Agrawal, professor of biomedical sciences, says there has been an increase in the incidence of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the U.S. He says those are key factors that increase the risk of heart disease.
Dr. Agrawal says the NIH grant will allow researchers to study the link between fat cells and heart disease.
"When a patient undergoes angioplasty or a heart procedures, what will the outcome be for patients who have obesity or metabolic syndrome? Will the outcome be worse than those who don’t have these conditions? And if it is, how can we predict this and how can we prevent it.”
The NIH also gave grant money to help Creighton researchers study asthma.
Dr. Thomas Casale, Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, says he and his collaborators are looking at some mechanisms that are important in the development of asthma.
Dr. Casale says asthma is on the increase, with 8.4% of the U.S. population affected. One shared trait among asthma sufferers is something called airway hyper-responsiveness.
Dr. Casale says this may be due to a molecule called RGS2.
"What we found is that this RGS2 molecule appears to be deficient in patients with asthma and also in the mouse model. And what we are looking at is why that is and how can we change that in an attempt to get a better treatment for asthma.”
The obesity and fat study will take five years while the asthma study will take four.