American Heart Association awards postdoctoral fellowship to SBP scientist

Written by 
Monica May
Chiara Nicoletti, Ph.D., Sanford Burnham Prebys

It’s no surprise that muscles are important to our metabolism: it’s why building muscle at the gym can accelerate weight loss. 

Scientists are particularly interested in how muscle metabolism affects the heart, arguably the most important muscle in the body. With heart disease remaining the number-one killer of men and women in the U.S., the hunt is on to better understand the molecular mechanisms of the heart so we can develop better treatments. (Learn more about heart disease at our upcoming SBP Insights event.) 

Research is revealing that altered communications between skeletal and heart muscle increases the risk of heart disease. But the molecular mechanisms behind this link are currently unknown. 

Now, the American Heart Association has awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship to SBP’s Chiara Nicoletti, Ph.D., to study the genetic basis of metabolic changes in skeletal muscle that ultimately lead to heart disease. Nicoletti works in the lab of Pier Lorenzo Puri, M.D., professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at SBP. 

Findings from Nicoletti’s work could uncover therapeutic targets for heart disease and/or lead to a prognostic tool that could predict heart disease risk. Both developments would be much-needed advances in the battle against heart disease. 

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