PHILADELPHIA— Two faculty members from Penn Medicine, Kiran Musunuru, MD, PhD, and Daniel Rader, MD, are honored with prestigious awards from the American Heart Association (AHA) for their achievements in cardiovascular research. The two prizes will be awarded during the presidential session on Sunday, November 14, to the association Scientific sessions 2021.
Musunuru received the Joseph A. Vita Award in recognition of his research on therapeutic gene editing to fight cardiovascular disease. The award is presented annually in honor of the late cardiovascular scientist Joseph A. Vita, MD, to recognize research that has had a major impact on the field of cardiovascular biology or cardiovascular health over the past five years.
Musunuru’s major accomplishments include the discovery of an LDL cholesterol regulatory gene, the inspiration for the development of several ANGPTL3 inhibitor drugs, the use of gene-modified human stem cells for disease modeling, and his work. essential in functional genomics. In his lab, he developed methods to use gene-editing technology to permanently lower cholesterol levels and therefore provide protection against heart attacks and strokes with a single injection. This strategy, which he likens to vaccination, has been very effective in mice and monkeys, and Musunuru’s lab is working diligently to move to human trials.
“I am grateful to the American Heart Association for recognizing the continued efforts to translate cardiovascular gene editing from the research laboratory to clinical settings, and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the legacy of the Dr Vita, “said Musunuru, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and genetics; scientific director of the Penn Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease; and Director of the Genetic and Epigenetic Origins of Disease Program at the Cardiovascular Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. “None of my recent work would have been possible without strong mentorship and unwavering support, past and present, especially from Sekar Kathiresan, Daniel Rader, Thomas Cappola and the leadership of the University of Pennsylvania. “
Rader receives 2021 award for research excellence—The AHA’s highest scientific honor — in recognition of his outstanding contributions to basic and translational research on the genetics and pathophysiology of lipid disorders. Rader is the Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine, Chairman of the Department of Genetics and Head of the Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at Penn’s Department of Medicine. He co-directs the Penn Medicine BioBank and is associate director of Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, as well as head of the division of human genetics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Rader’s research has advanced the understanding of the molecular regulation of lipoprotein metabolism and the development of therapies for dyslipidemia. His research used genetics and physiology in humans and focused on novel pathways regulating lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis using genetics, as well as factors regulating structure and the function of high density lipoproteins and reverse cholesterol transport.
“I have dedicated my career to research, studying the fundamentals of lipid disorders and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and translating this information into how we can manage and prevent these conditions more effectively,” Rader said. “Ensuring that knowledge from research is used to develop new approaches to unmet medical needs provides scientists like me with great motivation, with the hope of continuing to improve patient care and patient outcomes.” . Medicine’s greatest achievement is in contributing to our ever-changing understanding of the complexities of human health and disease. I am proud of my research contributions not only to science, but also to cardiovascular care and prevention.
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