Yale Scientist Receives $500,000 Heart Association Award

Anthony Koleske, associate professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, has been awarded the $500,000 Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA states that the intent of the award is to support mid-term investigators that have unusual promise, a record of accomplishments, a demonstrated commitment to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular science, and a career that is in a rapid phase of growth.

The award will help fund Koleske’s research into how cells sense differences in their adhesive environment and respond by redirecting their migration. In order to move, cells must push their front forward and stick down, while simultaneously detaching adhesions at the back. Koleske’s lab is measuring these processes by filming cells containing fluorescent adhesion marker proteins to quantify their rate of movement.

The goal of this research is to understand how cell front protrusion is coupled to the formation and turnover of new adhesions, especially when cells have a choice of different adhesive surfaces.

“Adhesive cues direct blood cells to arterial walls to initiate atherosclerotic plaque development,” Koleske said. “Our studies should lead to a better basic understanding of how cells sense and respond to these cues and could lead to new treatments to block plaque development.”

The Established Investigator Award includes all basic disciplines as well as epidemiological, community and clinical investigations, and bioengineering/ biotechnology investigations that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems.

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