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NIH awards 2 Georgia State biologists $2.4 million

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Georgia State University biologists have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the effect of diabetes on cardiovascular disease.

"Our proposed studies will provide new insights into potential therapies to target and prevent or delay diabetes," said Ming-Hui Zou, co-principal investigator on the grant and director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State.

Mitochondria are organelles that take in nutrients and break them down to create energy-rich molecules for the cell. If damaged, mitochondria become a major source for chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen and trigger a number of responses resulting in disassembly of cells.

"Our preliminary data suggest when autophagy, a normal physiological process in the body that deals with destruction of cells in the body, is suppressed and damaged mitochondria are accumulated, they will contribute to dysfunction in Type 2 diabetic hearts," said Zhonglin Xie, principal investigator on the grant and associate professor in the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State. "Selective removal of damaged mitochondria via autophagy is an important mechanism to maintain mitochondrial function and preserve cell viability."

Both scientists are members of a new university research center at Georgia State, the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, to transform information gained from biomedical research into knowledge improving the state of human health. The research focus of the center is to dissect molecular insights of cardiovascular remodeling in obesity and obesity-related diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and stroke with special emphasis on the regulation of these processes.

"The Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine meets healthcare needs by converting significant research findings into diagnostic tools and medicines to improve the health of individuals," said Zou. "The center is designed to help millions of people suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses."

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For more information about the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine, visit medicine.gsu.edu.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Grant No. R01HL128014. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NIH.

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