Cardiovascular Disease: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality accounting for 1 in 3 deaths in the United States (1-3). An estimated 83 million adults have 1 or more types of cardiovascular disease and the total costs of cardiovascular disease in 2030 is projected at $1 trillion (1-3). Citizens of the State of Louisiana rank 47 among the 51 states for death rates for cardiovascular disease due to the high rates of cardiovascular risk factors of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in our state (1-3). Based on the tragic state of cardiovascular disease not only in the United States, but in particular in our home state of Louisiana, it is necessary that our Cardiovascular Center addresses these important health issues by fostering research in thematic areas related to the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease progression using a whole animal, vertically integrated experimental approach. Central to the success of these integrative research endeavors, is for our investigators to continue to have access to key resources, equipment, and scientific Core Facility services.

COBRE Program Goals: A major goal of our COBRE program is to increase the number of investigators with NIH-R01 or equivalent grants in the area of cardiovascular biology. Through our COBRE program this is achieved by transitioning young talented faculty (junior investigators) from COBRE support to R01-funded status and launching these individuals on a successful research career path. This effort has been one major step in a broad institutional initiative to develop and expand our Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research at LSUHSC. The funding of this COBRE program has been successful in providing a platform for the completion of a broad based Cardiovascular Center, which will ultimately translate bench side discoveries into the clinic, ranging from understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular disease to the development of novel therapeutics.

To achieve these aims, funds provided by our COBRE program have provided investigators with exceptional laboratory space and state-of-art scientific core facilities in which to conduct their research investigations. Importantly, we have implemented a strong mentoring plan that is tailored for each junior investigator with the goal of assisting each to attain NIH RO1 or other national funding. The COBRE mentoring plan also assists early career developing investigators (e.g., postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. students) attain exceptional training in cardiovascular biology and offer them the highest opportunity for success in a research career path.

Through our collaborative efforts our COBRE cardiovascular biology program has continued to expand and improve cardiovascular research in Louisiana by:

  • Enhancing the infrastructure and support of new scientific core facilities
  • Providing strong mentoring and enhanced research support to junior investigators
  • Assisting junior investigators to become independent research scientists
  • Expanding the critical mass of NIH funded investigators at LSUHSC and institutions in the New Orleans area.
  • Building effective scientific collaborations between basic and clinician scientists
  • Enhancing translational research in cardiovascular biology and hypertension.

Together, our COBRE program and the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at LSUHSC have made a significant impact in improving the quality of health in the State of Louisiana.

LITERATURE CITED

1. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, Bravata DM, Dai S, Ford ES, Fox CS, Fullerton HJ, Gillespie C, Hailpern SM, Heit JA, Howard VJ, Kissela BM, Kittner SJ, Lackland DT, Lichtman JH, Lisabeth LD, Makuc DM, Marcus GM, Marelli A, Matchar DB, Moy CS, Mozaffarian D, Mussolino ME, Nichol G, Paynter NP, Soliman EZ, Sorlie PD, Sotoodehnia N, Turan TN, Virani SS, Wong ND, Woo D, Turner MB. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circ 2012 January 3;125(1):e2-e220.

2. AHA Statistical Update. Circulation. 2011; 123: e18-e209

3. National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.

(www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_07.pdf)