COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than $9 million in federal grants will help fund researchers in the Ohio State University Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute (DHLRI) and their collaborators across the university campus to investigate new causes and treatments for cardiovascular disease.
The funds come from two grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health and its National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and will provide long-term support for various projects.
Peter Mohler, director of the DHLRI, is among only a handful of researchers recognized by the NHLBI’s inaugural R35 Outstanding Investigator Award. Mohler and his lab will receive $5.97 million to fund their research for seven years. The Mohler lab and their collaborators focus on defining new mechanisms for cardiovascular diseases, specifically arrhythmia and heart failure.
“Our funding is focused on understanding new forms of heart failure and arrhythmia. The work utilizes a host of new genetic, molecular, and physiological approaches, but really comes down to answering very fundamental questions related to the diseases we see each day in our community — Why is it happening, and how can we fix it? These are the questions we ask, the solutions we find, and I’m proud that our program is among the first to receive this award,” Mohler said.
Mohler, who is also chair of Ohio State’s Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, says a key strength at Ohio State is that cardiovascular research and patient care are on the same platform.
“This award recognizes the entire team at Ohio State. Without the infrastructure and collaboration we have with physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff across several colleges here at Ohio State, we wouldn’t have received this award,” Mohler said.
The Outstanding Investigator Award is intended to provide researchers with long-term stability and greater freedom to focus on their science.
Additionally, Mohler and co-investigator, Thomas Hund, an associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, recently learned they were awarded $3.2 million dollars over four years from the NHLBI. This grant will help continue work to define new mechanisms that drive atrial fibrillation- the most common form of human arrhythmia. This project also includes Cynthia Carnes, a professor in Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy.
The research is focused on investigating new molecular targets to help control abnormal electrical events that ultimately lead to inappropriate heart rhythms. The goal is to translate these findings into new diagnostics and treatments for this common heart disease.
Abnormal heart rhythms are common and one’s risk for arrhythmia increases with age. Some forms are harmless but others can be serious, even deadly. Mohler says continued research to find new causes and solutions is critical.