Dr. Isabella Grumbach, Associate Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, has received a four-year, $1.74M R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Grumbach will use these funds to study how calcium uptake, oxidative stress, and metabolic changes in mitochondria affect vascular disease. In particular, her lab will continue its research into how an enzyme called Calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) in mitochondria regulates calcium uptake and how this regulation affects endothelial and smooth muscle cell survival.
After balloon angioplasty, in which narrow or obstructed veins and arteries are widened, smooth muscle cells in the atherosclerotic plaque divide and migrate and frequently form new atherosclerotic plaques that require further intervention. Dr. Grumbach and her lab will also focus on how the mobility of mitochondria within the vascular cells influences cell proliferation and migration. Whether CaMKII in mitochondria plays an important role in this mitochondrial movement remains a central question. Answers should provide therapeutic targets in treating atherosclerosis.