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Research Accolades for Students and Investigators in Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences

Four translational science research projects within the Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences (CCRS) have been highlighted at national meetings in the coming weeks.  These projects, using a team science approach, have been targeted at identifying the mechanistic links and health outcomes of key co-morbidities associated with elevated cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk.  

At “Translational Science 2016”, the Annual Meeting for the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS):

Ms. Kristin Grogg, PhD student, will present a research project titled “Interventions Blunting Vascular Inflammation and Oxidant Stress Reduce Depression in Obesity”.  This project utilizes a large database of basic science results with advanced epidemiological and biostatistical analyses to develop a mechanistically-rigorous model for predicting the development and severity of depressive symptoms with the progression of obesity and diabetes.  

Dr. Sarah Singh, PhD student, will present her research project titled “Relationship between Abnormal Ankle Brachial Index and Metabolic Syndrome: Estimates from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey”.  This study represents an epidemiological approach using the NHANES dataset to identify relationships between the severity of peripheral vascular disease risk with alterations to vascular structure and function, as evidenced by the “ankle-brachial index” (ABI).  The results have important implications for primary prevention in primary care settings. 

The senior investigator on both projects is Dr. Stephanie Frisbee, from the Department of Health Policy, Management and Leadership in the School of Public Health.

The Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) uniquely provides an outstanding platform for enhancing education, research, and public policy related to clinical and translational science. ACTS members consist of leaders, investigators, and trainees from academic medical centers, government, industry, and philanthropy.  Their annual meeting represents the premiere outlet for the dissemination of clinical and translational research in the United States.

At “Experimental Biology 2016”, two presentations (below) have been highlighted by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) for international press release, spotlighting the research accomplishments of the investigators and trainees within the CCRS:

Mr. Kent Lemaster, PhD student, will present his project titled “Reversing the Effects of Chronic Stress on the Aorta with Exercise Training”.  This innovative research finds that aerobic exercise kept the vasculature of rats that developed depressive symptoms as a result of chronic stress functioning normally.   The potential translational impact of this work was specifically highlighted, noting that exercise may be an important therapy for promoting cardiovascular health in chronically stressed individuals.

Ms. Kristin Grogg will present her project titled “Early Improvements in Blood Lipid Profile and Vascular Alterations after Gastric Bypass Surgery prior to Dramatic Weight Loss”.  This research, which was performed using the patient population of Dr. Lawrence Tabone in the Division of Bariatric Surgery, investigated the health benefits of Roux-en Y gastric bypass surgery that are present very soon after the procedure.  Ms. Grogg determined that patients who underwent the procedure showed reductions in weight, waist circumference and body-mass index one week after the procedure.  Further, these results demonstrated lower low-density lipoprotein levels and showed indications that patients’ blood pressure and cardiac oxygen demand—how hard the heart is working—were decreasing towards normal ranges. These data suggest cardiovascular health can start improving in the very early stages of recovery before dramatic weight loss occurs following bariatric procedures.

The senior investigators on these projects are Drs. Paul Chantler (Division of Exercise Physiology), Jefferson Frisbee (Department of Physiology and Pharmacology) and Lawrence Tabone (Division of Bariatric Surgery).

Cardiovascular Science Investigator Teams Receive National and International Recognition

Innovative interdisciplinary research initiatives in the Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences (CCRS) at the WVU Health Sciences Center have continued to garner national and international recognition for the accomplishments of its diverse investigator teams.  The diligent work done, and investment made, by these teams – which represent the combined efforts of basic scientists, physician scientists, and population scientists – have allowed for the acquisition of critical insight into the development, outcomes and implications for elevated cardiovascular disease risk in a manner that was not previously possible at the WVU HSC.  Highlights of this work that will be presented at multiple national/international meetings in Spring and Summer of 2016 are outlined below.

Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting (New Orleans, LA):

From the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Nurkiewicz (Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology), Mr. Alaeddin Abukabda (Doctoral student in Cellular and Integrative Physiology) will present work demonstrating the negative impact of nano-TiO2 exposure on the ability of blood vessels to response to physiological stimuli, while Mr. Cody Nichols (Doctoral student in Exercise Physiology) will describe how maternal inhalation of engineered nanomaterials during gestation has the ability to alter genetic/genomic signaling in the fetus.  Additionally, Dr. Phoebe Stapleton (Assistant Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology) has been invited to present her research on the impact of maternal nano-TiO2 inhalation throughout pregnancy on microvascular function and potential for end-organ damage in offspring. 

Highlighting the CCRS presence at the Toxicology Meeting will be Dr. Nurkiewicz participating in an academic debate on the public health concerns of nanotoxicology.  Dr. Nurkiewicz will be arguing the case in support of nanotoxicological research.

Finally, the CCRS and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology are extremely proud to announce that Dr. Stapleton will receive two prestigious awards for her recent study “Microvascular and mitochondrial dysfunction in the female F1 generation after gestational TiO2 nanoparticle exposure” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736545/).  Dr. Stapleton’s study brought together the efforts of multiple investigators across the institution and is being awarded both the ‘Paper of the Year’ (from the Nanotoxicology Specialty Section) and the ‘Impact Award’ (from the Cardiovascular Toxicology Specialty Section).  Our congratulations to Phoebe and her collaborators on this exceptional effort!

British Microcirculatory and Vascular Biology Society (Newcastle, United Kingdom)

Dr. Stephanie Frisbee (Assistant Professor of Health Policy, Management and Leadership), working in collaboration with Dr. Carl Shrader (Assistant Professor of Family Medicine), has been invited to present their work comparing the Cardiovascular Health Index from the American Heart Association and the Framingham Risk Score.  The goal of this study is to use epidemiological data that may be used to guide and inform health care decision-making in the primary care setting.  A recent example of this work from Dr. Frisbee can be viewed here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4599487/.  Dr. Frisbee will also present multi-investigator/multi-perspective efforts describing the cardiovascular health outcomes of preeclampsia as well as her newest team science effort which develops a predictive model linking mechanistic contributors of cardiovascular/metabolic disease risk and chronic behavioral/depressive symptoms. 

American Heart Association Epidemiology Council (Phoenix, AZ)

Dr. Sarah Singh (Physician Scientist and Doctoral Student in Clinical and Translational Science) will present her work on the peripheral vascular disease risk/health outcomes in the metabolic syndrome, bridging data from the NHANES study and in the Vascular Surgery Clinics of physician scientists Drs. Alexandre d’Audiffret and Kumar Pillai. 

Ms. Kristin Grogg (Doctoral Student in Clinical and Translational Science) will present her work on the impact of bariatric surgical procedures and cardiovascular and behavioral outcomes, respectively.  This works comes from patients recruited in the surgical clinic of Dr. Lawrence Tabone here at the WVU Hospital. 

Dr. Stephanie Frisbee is the lead investigator on both of these studies.

Joint Meeting of Physiological Society and American Physiological Society (Dublin, Ireland)

Dr. Jefferson Frisbee (Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology and the Director of the CCRS) has been invited to present a Symposium Lecture linking metabolic disorders to the clinical manifestation of peripheral vascular disease using chaos and complexity theory.  This work was recently published in a Special Issue of the American Journal of Physiology and represents the combined efforts of a faculty team spanning the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Surgery and Family Medicine, the Divisions of Cardiology, Bariatric Surgery and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the Departments of Health Policy, Management and Leadership and Epidemiology working to address this issue of central important to our Appalachian population. The full manuscript can be viewed here: http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/310/4/H488.long

Experimental Biology (San Diego, CA)

The team science research efforts within the CCRS focusing on metabolic disease and cardiovascular health outcomes has a very strong presence at Experimental Biology, with more than 25 abstracts and 6 Featured Presentations.  This work spans investigations into:

  • pancreatic function
  • the impacts of chronic exercise on cardiovascular health and disease outcomes
  • the health outcomes of chronic stress and depressive symptoms on cardio- and cerebro-vascular health
  • the metabolic, behavioral and cardiovascular outcomes associated with bariatric surgery
  • the effects of pre-existing metabolic and cardiovascular disease on stroke outcome
  • modifications of dietary intake on risk for apoptotic (cell death) outcomes (lead by the FRUVEDomics team – please see below)

These efforts, which link investigators across the basic science, clinical and population science departments of the Health Science Center and broader WVU campus are being led by Drs. Paul Chantler and Stephanie Frisbee, with the critical collaboration of physician scientists Drs. Lawrence Tabone (Bariatric Surgery), Alexandre d’Audiffret (Vascular Surgery), Carl Shrader (Family Medicine), Bradford Warden (Cardiology) and clinical epidemiologist Thomas Hulsey (Epidemiology).  In addition, these projects are vital for the education and training of multiple students spanning both Masters and Doctoral level graduate programs at WVU.

Special highlights from this meeting include:

Dr. Mark Olfert (Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology and FRUVEDomic Team Leader) has been invited to lead a Symposium, for the 3rd Annual Physiologic Genomics Interest Group Research Conference to be held in conjunction with Experimental Biology. 

Dr. Olfert is also an invited speaker and symposium chair for “Omics applications to understanding Metabolic Physiology” which is being sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS) and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) during EB2016 meeting.

Mr. Evan DeVallance (Doctoral Student in Exercise Physiology) being awarded multiple Featured Presentations for his work on perivascular adipose tissue impacting vascular function.

Mr. Steven Brooks (Doctoral Student in Cellular and Integrative Physiology) being awarded  a Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award for his study titled “Pharmacological Inhibition of NAD(P)H Oxidase with the Peptide gp91ds-tat During Ischemic Stroke Reduces Infarct Volume and Improves Vascular Reactivity in Obese Zucker Rats.”

Ms. Alice Mathews (MS Student in Animal & Nutritional Science) has been awarded an oral presentation by the APS Physiologic Genomic Group for abstract titled “Fruit and Vegetable Intervention Lowers Circulating Ceramide Levels and Improves Estimated Insulin Sensitivity in Young Adults at Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome: FRUVEDomic pilot study.”

Ms. Oluremi Famodu, RD (Doctoral Student in Animal & Nutritional Science) has been awarded the FASEB MARC Mentored Travel Award and selected for an oral presentation for her work titled “Impact of Free-Living Nutrition Intervention on Microbiome in College Students at Risk for Disease: FRUVEDomic pilot study.”

Translational Research Highlighted as a PodCasts

Working as a collaborative effort between the CCRS and the Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research, a study by Dr. Paul Chantler (Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology) received an Editorial Highlight and PodCast from the Editors of the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Chantler’s work highlighted the important of early, and aggressive, intervention under conditions of metabolic disease to blunt the development of cerebrovascular impairments to potentially lessen the risk for occlusive stroke and the severity of the outcomes following an incident once it has occurred.  The full manuscript can be found here (http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/309/11/H1846.long) and the PodCast can be heard in its entirety at: http://ajpheart.podbean.com/e/metabolic-syndrome-and-cerebral-vascular-function/

A recent team effort in the CCRS investigating the progressive loss of capillaries and microvessels in tissues with the development of metabolic disease was made possible only because of the strong links and efforts between basic science investigators, clinicians and population scientists.  This work highlighted advanced biostatistical analyses as a discovery tool for identifying putative mechanisms that link metabolic disease with chronic microvessel death.  The full manuscript can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269700/ and the PodCast can be heard in its entirety at: http://ajpheart.podbean.com/e/metabolic-syndrome-and-microvessel-density/.

FRUVEDomics

A novel team science effort being led by Drs. Melissa Olfert (Assistant Professor of Nutritional Science) and Mark Olfert which is targeted at improving consumer decision making for dietary choices has demonstrated the significant benefit that nutritional interventions can lead to significant positive outcomes for microbiome, metabolomic and cardiovascular health in young adults in Appalachia.  This work has been extremely well received and has been presented at the Mayo Clinic and the Southeast Regional IDeA conference, both of which resulted in awards for Ms. Oluremi Famodu, RD.   This multi-investigator project has also been highlighted for multiple awards and featured presentations at Experimental Biology (please see above).

CCRS Invitations to Join National Study Section

Two members of the CCRS have received invitations from the American Diabetes Association to become permanent members of their grant review study sections.  Dr. Paul Chantler (Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology) has been invited to join the “Clinical Science” Study Section of the ADA, while Dr. Stephanie Frisbee (Assistant Professor of Health Policy, Management and Leadership) has been invited to join the “Translational Science” Study Section.  Dr. Chantler has had extensive prior experience with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) basic and clinical science grant review committees.   Dr. Frisbee has had extensive prior experience with the American Heart Association study sections on clinical epidemiology, outcomes and policy as well as on their Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) Programs.  Congratulations to Paul and Stephanie for this peer-recognition of your professional accomplishments!

 Impact of Fruit & Vegetables on the Metabolic, MIcrobiotic and Cardiovascular Health

    

The FRUVEDomic project, funded by the NIH-supported WVCTSI and WVU Mountains of Excellence Award, is a multi-disciplinary team of scientists that is comprehensively analyzing how diet and macronutrients alter the microbiome (microbes in the gut) and metabolome (metabolites circulating in the blood) in the context of cardiovascular health and obesity.

 The FRUVEDomic team includes diverse group of 18 faculty/students, spanning 2 schools and 5 departments at WVU, under the leadership of a 5-member core team of basic, clinical, community and nutrition scientists; which include,

  • Mark Olfert, PhD, RRT, FAHA (School of Medicine, Division of Exercise Physiology) a cardiopulmonary physiologist with expertise in molecular biology and clinical research, and PI of the WVCTSI award;
  • Melissa Olfert, DrPH, MS, RD (Davis College, Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences)an expert in human nutrition and behavioral research, and PI for the on-going WVU-based “Get FRUVED” campaign (i.e. $4.9 million USDA award) involving WVU and 7 other universities that brings together a national team of nutrition and public health scientists studying ways to promote positive nutrition behavior and health choices to prevent chronic diesase.
  • Chris Cuff, PhD (School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Cell Biology) an expert in microbiome analyses and interpretation;
  • Joseph McFadden, PhD (Davis College, Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences) an expert in metabolomic analyses and interpretation; and
  • Pamela Murray, MD, MPH (School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics) an expert in adolescent health and pediatric research.

The FRUVEDomic project is working synergistically with a subgroup of “Get FRUVED” participants to perform comprehensive analyses using state-of-the-art genomic and metabolomic analyses in concert with clinical and behavior science to the examine changes on the microbiome and metabolome in association with healthy dietary changes.

 Recent student awards and presentations from this projects include:

Ms. Oluremi Famodu, MS, RD (PhD Student in Animal & Nutritional Science; Mentor Dr. Melissa Olfert) has received two awards for her worked present at the Mayo Clinic Metabolomic Symposium (October 2015) and the Southeast Regional IDeA Conference (November 2015). Most recently, she has been awarded the FASEB MARC Mentored Travel Award and selected by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) for an oral presentation for her work titled “Impact of Free-Living Nutrition Invtervention on Microbiome in College Students at Risk for Disease: FRUVEDomic pilot study” to be presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting, April 1-6, in San Diego, CA.

Ms. Alice Mathews (MS Student in Animal & Nutritional Science; Mentor Dr. Joseph McFadden) has been selected for an oral presentation in the Clinical & Translational Symposium at the E.J. Van Liere Research Day at WVU Health Sciences Center for her work titled “Fruit and Vegetable Intervention Lowers Circulating Ceramide Levels and Improves Estimated Insulin Sensitivity in Young Adults at Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome: A FRUVEDomic pilot study“ to be held March 3-4, 2016. Ms. Mathews has also has been selected for an oral presentation and entered into an award competition sponsored by American Physiological Society (APS) Physiologic Genomic Group for her abstract titled “Fruit and Vegetable Intervention Lowers Circulating Ceramide Levels and Improves Estimated Insulin Sensitivity in Young Adults at Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome: FRUVEDomic pilot study” to be presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting, April 1-6, in San Diego, CA.

Mr. Zachary Phipps (MS Student in Animal & Nutritional Science; Mentor Dr. Joseph McFadden) will present a poster on “The relationship between circulating amino acid availability and metabolic health status during a fruit and vegetable intervention in young adults at risk of developing metabolic syndrome: FRUVEDomic pilot studyat the E.J. Van Liere Research Day at WVU Health Sciences Center to be held March 3-4, 2016.