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Sanford-Burnham Faculty Members Win $3.5M in NIH Funding for Heart Failure, Obesity Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Two faculty members at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have won a total $3.5 million in NIH funding toward separate studies into heart failure and the behavior of fat cells.

Daniel Kelly, scientific director of Sanford-Burnham's Lake Nona campus in Orlando, Fla., will share with Deborah Muoio, associate professor at Duke University's Sarah W. Steadman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, a four-year, $2,984,043 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute toward investigating the metabolic basis of heart failure.

Kelly and Muoio have assembled a research team that will apply genomic and metabolomic strategies to better identify and characterize the process of new drug targets, Sanford-Burnham said in a statement. The team includes Kapil Kapoor, director of Sanford-Burnham's Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Core facility; and Alan Attie, professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sheila Collins, a member of the Metabolic Signaling and Disease program, has won a two-year, $525,250 NIH R21 grant to study the role played by beta-adrenergic receptors on fat cells in regulating growth not typically associated with adrenaline. The project is designed to improve understanding of the biology of the fat cell, as well as help identify new targets for drugs.

Collins — who joined Sanford-Burnham in February as the first female full professor at the Lake Nona campus — heads a lab that specializes in studying how fat cells control the storage and release of energy by examining the signaling machinery that relays the adrenaline signal. Collins' principal research area is fat metabolism as related to diabetes and obesity.