Amy S. Major, PhD
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
Why do blood vessels in people with lupus tend to prematurely narrow and harden, a condition called atherosclerosis that sometimes results in fatal heart attacks and devastating strokes?
Using novel mouse models, Dr. Major found that just having lupus is enough to cause accelerated atherosclerosis – you don’t need to have a high fat diet too.
She fed a normal, non-high fat diet to lupus-prone, atherosclerosis-susceptible mice to observe whether the animals quickly develop hardened arteries, all the while examining the effect of slight changes in cholesterol (serum lipoproteins) and the immune system.
In 2008 she won an NIH grant for $1.5 million to further develop this animal model and generate techniques for early detection and prevention of lupus atherosclerosis.
“I am thrilled that I could provide a great return on your investment in me!” Dr. Major said.
Dr. Major also was awarded the Irvine Paige new investigator prize at an American Heart Association meeting, and credits LRI funding for the award.
“Obtaining the LRI grant was a huge spring board for my interest and research in lupus.” - Dr. Major, 2010
Immune dysregulation accelerates atherosclerosis and modulates plaque composition in systemic lupus erythematosus. Stanic AK, Stein CM, Morgan AC, Fazio S, Linton MF, Wakeland EK, Olsen NJ, Major AS. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2006 May 2;103(18):7018-23.
In 2008, Dr. Major won a $1.5 million NIH grant to continue her research in lupus atherosclerosis.
Rev. July 2010
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