Gabriel G. Haddad, MD, chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, has received a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the impact of low oxygen levels on cells and tissue in the heart, lung, and brain.

The project aims to:

  • Study the adaptive mechanisms to hypoxia in cardiovascular and respiratory systems at both cellular and molecular levels
  • Study the fundamental genetic mechanisms of tolerance in a Drosophilia (fruit fly) model
  • Modulate or manipulate molecular mechanisms in mammalian cells/tissues/animals to render them hypoxia-tolerant after learning from a tolerant organism, eg, the fly
  • Identify molecular signatures of hypoxia tolerance and susceptibility that may be predictive clinically.

“Understanding the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that contribute to low oxygen tolerance or susceptibility will have a major impact on our treatments of central nervous system and cardio-respiratory diseases such as stroke, myocardial ischemia/infarction, obstructive sleep apnea, and pulmonary hypertension,” said Haddad, who will lead a collaborative team of investigators from UC San Diego and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Source: UC San Diego Health System