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Institution: University of California, San Diego
Investigator(s): Jeramie Watrous, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2015 (Cycle 24) Grant #: 24FT-0010 Award: $145,800
Subject Area: Early Diagnosis/Pathogenesis
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract

Long term tobacco use is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease in the world. Each year smoking claims nearly 5 million lives while an estimated 130 million additional people worldwide continue to suffer from smoking related disease. Through intensive research, it has been determined that tobacco use, particularly smoking, causes chronic inflammation resulting in a tobacco users blood forming more platelets, coagulating more readily and accumulating more cholesterol than non-tobacco users which cumulatively results in a high risk of tobacco users developing cardiovascular disease. How tobacco use is able to cause this is gradually becoming more apparent; however, there still exists a strong need for additional information as to exactly which chemical signals are being altered as a result of smoking and how these specific changes in the bodies of tobacco users can be treated therapeutically. In my proposed research, I will use state-of-the-art tools to obtain precise measurements of a large portion of chemicals known to mediate inflammatory responses in the human body and who play a known role in the development of cardiovascular disease in smokers. Using blood samples obtained from roughly 13,000 individuals as part of two landmark cardiovascular disease clinical trials, I will determine how levels of these specific chemicals of interest are affected by tobacco use and which of those are involved in development of cardiovascular disease in long term tobacco users. With this knowledge, a greater understanding of this far reaching and devastating disease can be obtained and new therapeutic strategies, including early diagnosis of which tobacco users are at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease as well as more efficient treatment options for tobacco users who have already become afflicted by tobacco-induced cardiovascular disease.