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NEOMED Researcher Receives $2.5 Million NIH Grant to Study Atherosclerosis

Northeast Ohio Medical University researcher and professor of integrative medical sciences, Yanqiao Zhang, M.D., has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, to study the role of hepatic transcription factors in lipid regulation, lipoprotein metabolism, and atherosclerosis, the most common form of cardiovascular disease.

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Hyperlipidemia is one of the most common risk factors for atherosclerosis. The award will fund a project called “Identification of Novel Genes/Pathways That Regulate Atherogenesis,” and will enable Dr. Zhang and his research team to investigate how a protein expressed in the liver can regulate the development of atherosclerosis.

As an R01 grant-funded researcher, Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of diseases associated with dysregulation of lipid, bile acid and/or glucose metabolism, such as fatty liver diseases, diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis.

“Our group has identified one of the hepatic transcription factors as an important regulator of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis,” said Dr. Zhang. “We hope our work will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets or approaches for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”

Dr. Zhang received his M.D. in internal medicine and M.S. in biological chemistry from Wuhan University School of Medicine, China.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at both West Virginia University and the University of California at Los Angeles before coming to NEOMED.

In addition to research conducted in its colleges, the University has five research areas of focus including hearing research, community-based mental health, heart and blood vessels, musculoskeletal research, and neurodegenerative disease and aging.