Chiadi Ndumele, assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology, and Rexford Ahima, professor and director of the Division of Endocrinology, will be the center co-directors of a recently awarded American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) Grant studying Cardiometabolic Health and Type 2 Diabetes.

One of four such grants awarded across the country, the grant at Johns Hopkins involves synergistic basic science and population/clinical projects, examining whether molecules secreted by fat cells called adipokines play a key role in determining why some individuals with obesity develop metabolic risk factors (high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol) and type 2 diabetes, while others do not. The grant will also examine processes by which metabolic risk factors and diabetes lead to heart failure and will assess the impact of weight loss on these pathways.

The SFRN includes a basic science project led by Dr. Ahima and a population/clinical project co-led by Drs. Ndumele and Elizabeth Selvin (Epidemiology). The SFRN also includes a significant training program for three post-doctoral fellows, led by award-winning mentor Dr. Erin Michos. An important component is a collaboration with the historically black institution of higher learning Morgan State University (MSU) that will provide research experiences at Johns Hopkins for MSU students and faculty. A truly collaborative project, the Hopkins SFRN Center is a partnership among Cardiology (Drs. Ndumele, Michos, Wendy Post, Gary Gerstenblith, Bob Weiss, Roberta Florido), Endocrinology (Drs. Ahima, Sangwon Kim, Justin Echouffo Tcheugui), Epidemiology (Drs. Elizabeth Selvin and Josef Coresh) and Genetics (Dr. Dan Arking).

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