– Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome & Human Health and his team has been awarded a $12M NIH grant to study the link between gut microbes, heart disease.
– The new research program will consist of three specialized projects and four supporting cores focused on the gut microbiome.
TheNational Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $12 million to Cleveland Clinic researchers to study the critical link between gut microbial pathways and the development of cardiometabolic diseases. The team is led by Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Microbiome & Human Health. The award is from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the NIH.
Defining Cardiometabolic Diseases
Cardiometabolic diseases encompass cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, stroke, hypertension, and heart failure and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Hazen and his collaborators on the projects – J. Mark Brown, Ph.D.; Zeneng Wang, Ph.D.; Lynn Hajjar, Ph.D.; and Joe DiDonato, Ph.D. – will explore the concept that gut microbes act as a key endocrine “organ” that converts digested nutrients into chemical signals that function like hormones, creating physiological changes in the person. The researchers will focus on specific novel pathways linked to atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and obesity, as well as the participation of specific gut microbe-driven pathways in increased susceptibility to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
3 Research Programs Focused on Gut Microbiome
The new research program is one of the first Program Project grants funded by NIH focused on the gut microbiome, a rapidly growing field that shows numerous links to human health and disease. The Program will consist of three specialized Projects and four supporting cores to:
1. Explore how newly identified gut microbial pathways affect thrombosis and atherosclerosis
2. Investigate how microbial metabolites act like hormones to drive disease in a high-fat environment
3. Identify specific microbial genes and metabolites that are responsible for enhancing cardiovascular disease
The three Projects will be led by Drs. Hazen and Brown, both of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, and Dr. Michael Fischbach, of Stanford University. The four supporting cores will be led by Drs. Hazen, Brown, Wang and Hajjar, all from the Lerner Research Institute.
“Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States and we are only now beginning to understand this critical area of research,” said Dr. Hazen. “We are grateful to the NIH for this funding and excited about the potential this research has to open up new avenues for improving health and combating cardiovascular disease.”