Research being performed by Julio Cordero-Morales, PhD, focuses on understanding the function of proteins involved in pain perception and blood pressure regulation. With new grant funding, Dr. Cordero-Morales and his research team can further explore the importance of the specific roles of these proteins and their regulatory mechanisms in normal and diseased conditions.
Dr. Cordero-Morales, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $231,000 from the American Heart Association. The award will be used to support a project titled, “Elucidating the Mechanism of TRPV4 Activation and its Role in Vascular Function.” The funds will be distributed over three years.
The proteins, called transient receptor potential ion channels, respond to a broad range of stimuli including physical — heat and pressure — and chemical — acid, irritants, and inflammatory agents. These stimuli excite cells to elicit body perception and to regulate blood pressure. Dysfunction of these proteins can lead to conditions such as heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, arthritis and chronic pain.
“We combine multidisciplinary approaches, such as biochemistry, genetics and behavioral analysis,” said Dr. Cordero-Morales. “Our studies on vascular proteins will provide fundamental insights into their function and guide the development of new therapeutic strategies that target these proteins.”
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and 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 to eliminate these diseases. The organization funds innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies and provides tools and information to save and improve lives. For more information, visit www.heart.org.