UVM professor among group awarded Fondation Leducq grant to support Transatlantic cardiovascular research
University of Vermont investigators and colleagues from France, Germany, Massachusetts, and Iowa have received a five-year, $6 million grant through the Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program. The award, which will support research on small vessel disease of the brain, will be co-led by UVM Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pharmacology Mark Nelson, Ph.D., and the grant’s North American coordinator, and Anne Joutel, M.D., Ph.D., research director of INSERM at the University of Paris, France, and the grant’s European coordinator. The group’s award was one of only four grants given by the Fondation.
The team’s research will focus on uncovering details regarding the mechanisms that cause cerebral small vessel disease of the brain, a condition that accounts for roughly 25 to 30 percent of ischemic strokes, is a leading cause of cognitive decline and disability, and is linked to high blood pressure. Nelson is an expert in the contractility of small arteries inside the brain. He and his UVM laboratory have a history of research collaboration and joint scientific publications with Joutel and other co-investigators on the new grant.
This is the second Fondation Leducq award received by UVM researchers in the past eight years. Professor and Chair Emeritus of Pathology Edwin Bovill, M.D., received one of the first four Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Networks of Excellence awards in 2004, which focused on blood-clotting disorders.
The Transatlantic Networks of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Program is designed to promote collaborative research involving centers in North America and Europe in the areas of cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. The principal aims of this program are to develop international cardiovascular and neurovascular research networks; to advance science in the areas of cardiovascular and neurovascular disease; to apply the knowledge gained through research to promote the development of technology and therapeutics to improve human health; and to support the career development of young investigators in cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. Under the Transatlantic Networks of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Program, Fondation Leducq has supported 35 networks, representing more than 320 investigators at 120 institutions in 17 countries.
UVM, with Nelson as the grantee coordinator, is taking primary financial responsibility for the Fondation Leducq award. As a newly-selected network coordinator, Nelson will attend a meeting of the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) in France in the spring of 2013. At the SAC meeting, coordinators participate in an initial review of their programs, and discuss their experiences in organizing the network with other Leducq investigators and members of the Foundation staff. A research symposium highlighting work done through the Leducq Transatlantic Network Program will be held just prior to the SAC meeting.
In addition to Nelson and Joutel, members of the research team include Cenk Ayata, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Hugues Chabriat, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Paris in France; Martin Dichgans, M.D., Ph.D, of the University of München in Germany; Frank Faraci, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa; and Christophe Tzourio, M.D., Ph.D., of INSERM at the University of Bordeaux, France. For more information about the four funded networks visit Leducq Translatlantic Networks of Excellence.
About Fondation Leducq
Founded by French entrepreneur Jean Leducq and his wife Sylviane in 1996, Fondation Leducq is a French non-profit health research foundation charged with the mission to improve human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease. Having strong ties in both Europe and in North America, the Leducqs decided to position the foundation to support collaborative work between investigators of the two continents.