Aab Cardiovascular Institute Researcher Wins Prestigious Award at American Heart Association Annual Meeting

November 08, 2007

Jinjiang Pang, Ph.D., a post-doctorate fellow within the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) of the University of Rochester Medical Center, has won the Cournand and Comroe Young Investigator Prize in Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care for her work on the genetic mechanisms that control how blood vessels form in the lungs of a developing fetus. Her efforts could lead to a better understanding of syndromes like bronchopulmonary displasia, a problem seen in premature infants treated with ventilators who do not develop enough blood vessels to supply their lungs. The award was presented as part of activities surrounding the annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA) this week in Orlando.

Pang won the award for her study, titled "GIT1 Is Required for Pulmonary Vascular Development," which was presented as an oral abstract at the meeting and published in a supplement to the most recent edition of the AHA publication, Circulation. Specifically, her study results argue that a protein, G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-kinase interacting protein-1 (GIT1), is an important part of signaling pathways that drive the development of blood vessels in the lungs by employing growth factors. Pang's experiments eliminating the action of GIT1 resulted in reduced blood vessel development in a mouse model.

“This study exemplifies the power of mouse genetics to provide insights into basic human development and disease,” said Joseph M. Miano, Ph.D., acting director of the CVRI. “The award confirms what we already know, that Dr. Pang is an exemplary young researcher with a bright future and that our approach to genetics is on track to create value for medicine.”

The prize is sponsored by the AHA's Council on Cardiopulmonary, Perioperative and Critical Care, and acknowledges the accomplishments of young investigators. The council was formed to further the AHA's strategic goal of reduce coronary heart disease, stroke and risk by 25 percent by the year 2010. The council's bench-to-bedside and community approach ranges from integrated cardiopulmonary physiology to issues of critical care, emergency cardiovascular care and CPR. Pulmonary hypertension and regulation of the pulmonary circulation have historically been areas of investigation for many council members. As the first place winner, Pang will receive $1,000.

Medical Center researchers who joined Pang as authors of the honored abstract are Ryan Hoefen, Guoyong Yin, R. James White, Chen Yan, Michael Massett and Bradford C Berk.

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