Associate Professor Rennolds Ostrom of UTHSC Receives $165,000 Grant for Cell Function Research

A $165,000 grant from the American Heart Association will allow Dr. Rennolds Ostrom and his research team to understand basic biochemical and cell biological processes that govern how cells respond to hormones in the blood and signals from the brain.

A $165,000 grant from the American Heart Association will allow Dr. Rennolds Ostrom and his research team to understand basic biochemical and cell biological processes that govern how cells respond to hormones in the blood and signals from the brain.

Rennolds Ostrom, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $165,000 from the American Heart Association for research focused on understanding basic biochemical and cell biological processes that govern how cells respond to hormones in the blood and signals from the brain.

The award, which will be distributed over a two-year period, supports a project titled, “Defining cAMP Signaling Compartmentation.”

Dr. Ostrom’s research team will study how one chemical signal inside cells, cAMP, can carry different information based on where in the cell the chemical is generated.

They have found that cAMP can be produced in different locations inside cells. They also have shown that different hormones can stimulate cAMP signals in some of these locations but not others. In addition, the researchers want to know what elements are present inside cells to create these cAMP “compartments” and how these different locations regulate different cell functions. They hope to be able to manipulate these elements to better control how the cell responds to a given signal.

The chemical signal known as cAMP regulates contraction, metabolism, survival, growth, division and many other functions of all cells in the body. This signal is utilized by a vast array of hormones, neurotransmitters and other signals to alter cell function. If many different hormones use cAMP to alter a cell’s function, how does a cell interpret these signals differently?  Studies will begin to define the basic cell biology of this type of intracellular information flow so that we can better understand cardiovascular disease and design more specific drug therapies.

“We are grateful to the American Heart Association for funding our important work,” said Dr. Ostrom.  “Our studies address very basic biological questions that remain poorly understood, so it is sometimes difficult to appreciate how they can impact human disease.  We do believe that our efforts will pay dividends in treating cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart failure and stroke in years to come.  We thank all those in the community who support the AHA in its important fund-raising efforts because without their generosity, our work would not be possible.”

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, the organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working tirelessly to eliminate these diseases. The organization funds innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies and provides lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives. For more information, visit www.heart.org.