UofL gets $11.6 million for diabetes and obesity research


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology will receive $11.6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a center of excellence in diabetes and obesity research.

    The Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant will provide five years of support, giving talented young scientists an opportunity to produce initial data in new fields of study so that they may quickly seek individual federal research grants.

    “This is UofL’s third multi-million dollar COBRE grant since July 1 in a highly-competitive NIH funding environment,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

    “Diabetes and obesity are epidemic in Kentucky and closely related to our high level of cardiovascular disease. With this grant, we will ask the Board of Trustees to authorize us to establish a center of excellence to help us fight this deadly trio of health problems,” Ramsey said.

    “This grant will allow us to do groundbreaking science to discover how inflammation plays a role in all three of these disorders and contributes to diabetic heart disease. I am extremely proud of this team,” said Institute of Molecular Cardiology Director, Roberto Bolli, who serves as co-principal investigator and scientific mentor on the grant.

    According to principal investigator Aruni Bhatnagar, the grant will help build and develop a multidisciplinary research center focused on diabetes and obesity to better understand how diabetes and obesity contribute to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease. The center will build upon existing research capabilities and core facilities to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure support for diabetes and obesity research.

    “Scientists are becoming more aware that diabetes and obesity result in chronic low-grade inflammation. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in diabetics, yet we do not know exactly why and how diabetes leads to heart disease and how this could be prevented or treated,” Bhatnagar said.

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.